By Sham Ali | Photo Gallery
(Celebrating 44th Anniversary) – Cosmos Cricket Club, in their own simple, unique way, celebrated their 44th Anniversary at their Annual Presentation Awards Dinner last Sunday at the elegant Nanking Restaurant in New Hyde Park. It was grand. It was beautiful, and it was special. Perhaps, extra special when a jaw-dropping forty-four years of existence was mentioned.
It all began with the mere love of cricket and a simple passion to play the game, when a group of teenagers in 1979 at William Howard Taft High School in the Bronx decided to form a cricket team. None of us had ever imagined that the foundational roots that were planted then were so strong that it was able to survive the storms of the twentieth century and march into the twenty-first century with reckless abandon.
The occasion was blessed by the presence of The Honorable Judge Andrea Ogle, the first New York Civil Court Judge of Indo-Afro Guyanese extraction. In her address to the gathering, she reminded this young group of cricketers of the importance to be involved in a cricket club such as Cosmos; one that will have a positive impact on their lives, and for them to remain focused on the things that they want to accomplish, to never give up, and to walk the line.
Judge Andrea Ogle related to the gathering of her humble beginnings and her journey through life to now sit on the bench as a NY Civil Court Judge. A life that was fashioned by hard work and perseverance, and the importance of having role models. She affirmed the importance for this young group to acquire an education as a stepping-stone to achieve their aspirations. Cosmos was extremely delighted and honored to have the honorable judge Andrea Ogle in their presence and to listen and absorbed her kind words of encouragement.
And as we moved into presentation formalities we were, for the first time, without the services of our very own Carl Bennett who was under the weather, however, yours truly returned to regular duties and was ably supported by opening remarks from Devindra Balgobin and the invocation given by Antanio Rooplall. A fitting follow up to Judge Andrea Ogle’s remarks, and a proud moment for the club to start off the awards ceremony was the recognition of young Alvin Gobin. In addition to recognize him for his academic achievements in his state exams this year, he also received the most Promising Young Player award, keep it up young man.
The cheerfulness and hardworking Doneshwar Dayanand was recognized as the most dedicated member. Devindra Balgobin, one of the backbone members in the club, had an outstanding season with the bat and copped the 1st runners-up award, whilst Akash Rahim took the 2nd runners-up award. The veteran Sohan Dass, a former Guyana National player, and Towgeshwar Thakoordeen were tied for the most wickets while yours truly took the runner-up prize. The southpaw Gohan Gourdeen received his award for a fifer that included a hat-trick in his first match for Cosmos.
However, the stand out player for Cosmos in only his first season was the man who embodied patience in his gradual accumulation of runs was Antanio Rooplall. He took the coveted prize for most runs, 533 runs, at an average of 44.32, and a spanking century of 105 not out. It was indeed a proud moment for him especially having his mom, Gita Singh, to present him with his awards.
In the process of enjoying a wide variety of delicacies on the menu, some of the past members, Anil Seebarran, Sunesh Wazid and Andy Mohamed, all of whom were teenagers when they started to play for Cosmos, spoke glowing of their days in the club, and encouraged the current membership to stay focused as they are in good hand in one of the best cricket club in these parts and that 44 years of existence is an unbelievable number, and something to be very very proud of.
The veterans Glen Shangie, Raj Sewanan, and Sohan Dass cautioned this young team to be wary of the distractions, and the need to work together in order to be successful. Dass reminded the boys of their struggles over the last few years and how much improved they were in 2023 as it was their best season so far. Ryan Ganesh played an important role in the success of the team 2023 season both as an all-rounder and as captain, despite suffered a broken finger in the playoffs match. He expressed his thanks for the support, and reminded the boys that they have the potential of being a formidable group in the years ahead.
The presentation ceremony was Cosmos way of drawing the curtains down on another successful cricket season. Amidst all the glamor and pomp that has saturated the cricket scene in recent years; Cosmos absorbed a healthy dose of it, but remained unfazed, and was careful not to be engulfed by it. The club threaded lightly and remained focused on doing the simple things right. Cosmos have had the good fortune over the many years of attracting young cricketers, and as such, never missed the opportunity to encourage, teach the finer points of the game and offer guidance where necessary. It is a blessing that where so many teams falter Cosmos runs deep. They defied the odds and kept marching forward navigating the occasional bumps along the way, kept their heads high, and never waver on discipline. They remained steady in the shadows of the setting sun season after season, and in the finality, they stayed true to their values that Cosmos is more than just playing cricket, much more.
Admirably, the strength and determination over the years grew out of humble beginnings in 1979, and it remained unyielding through the decades. Subsequently, Forty-Four years later with One Thousand, Two Hundred and Forty-Seven (1247) matches on the scorecard and counting must be a case study of how Cosmos survived the test of attrition that yielded much success in the process.
Cosmos is truly indebted to the services of its past members, all of whom have played an important role in the success of the club, namely Carl Bennett and the former captain Ashmul Ali, both of whom are still lending a helping hand. That journey was clearly on display last Sunday at Cosmos 44th Anniversary celebration and presentation awards. It is a testament and a stamp of approval that Cosmos is on the right path and has been on a road well-traveled. Fittingly of course, at this festive time, Santa graced the occasion to ring in the Christmas cheer. On behalf of the Cosmos family; we would like to wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.
See you in 2024.