Metropolitan Cricket League
By Dervon Wallace
Richard Staple and Steve Massiah centuries carried Villagers CC to an impressive 107 runs win over a young and talented Pioneer Tri State CC in the Metropolitan Cricket League 2013 Round Robin Tournament played at Gateway Cricket Field in Brooklyn NY on Sunday June 16.

Richard Staples hammered an unbeaten 153 against Pioneer Tri State CC. Photo by Shiek Mohamed

Pioneer Tri State won the toss and made the shock decision of inserting Villagers whose captain Cliff Roye said after the toss he would’ve batted had he won the coin flip. Villagers started their innings with Roye and Talismanic former USA senior team captain Richard Staple who it was evident to be carrying a knock of some sort.  The innings started off with a maiden over as Staple seems wanting to feel the ball on his bat to see how well he could go about the toss on hand. It was Roye who got the ball rolling driving the lethargic Dillon Bourne though extra cover for a sweetly timed boundary on his way to making 21 (30 balls 3×4) as he shared in a 41 runs from 58 balls opening partnership before  he fell to his opposite number David Forbes in his first over.

Staple was joined by current USA captain Steve Massiah who looks like a man inform and made his intentions clear with his three first scoring shots been boundaries all of which had the appreciative crowd applauding a man whose class was evident. Staple who started out slowly had by now gather the pace of the wicket and wasn’t to be left out as the two who represented USA in the 2004 ICC Champions Trophy in England matched each other shot for shot and stroke for stroke sharing in a massive second wicket stand of 232 from 132 balls in 2 hours and 6 minutes of power hitting mixed with classic stroke play. No Pioneer Tri State bowler was spared as 6’s and 4’s rained all over the park one of which Staple hit an estimated 90 meters over square leg off Bourne bowling which landed flush into the rear windscreen of Pioneer Tri State Bobby Hameed’s car, to add insult to injury Hameed had earlier spilled a chance offered to him at 1st slip when Staple was on 18. Massiah kept on delighting the spectators with his array of strokes one which was a crispy straight drive off Chetan Persaud presenting the full face of his bat and held the pose for a few seconds where the manufactures name was visible to the bowler.  Staple who survived 2 other chances was first to bring up his century off 82 balls with a single to mid-off facing a mare 30 balls for his second 50, he was soon follow by Massiah who brought up his century off 63 balls with a single to point before he fell 8 balls later for a brilliant 120 (71 balls 9×4 and 10×6) to end a partnership that made the Pioneer Tri State youngsters realized that cricket can be a harsh game.

With 3 overs remaining and Villagers seams feeling comfortable with the runs on the board decided to tweet their order and lost 2 quick wickets Raldo Mowatt and Cuthbert Mendonca for 1 and 6 respectively as Staple continue his majestic inning to be unbeaten on 153 from 101 balls in 2 hours and 41 minutes stroking four 4’s and 17 towering 6’s to take Villagers CC to a whopping 319 for 4 from allotted 35 overs. Omar Afridi finished with 2 for 37, Forbes 1 for 58 and Himlaya Darji 1 for 61 from 4 expensive overs as Staple was severe on one of his over powering 3 consecutive 6’s and a 4 in taking 24 from the over.

Steve Massiah smashed 120 against Pioneer Tri State CC. Photo by Shiek Mohamed

Needing 320 at a run rate of 9.14 to pull off an upset Pioneer Tri State started off brightly with Horith Paul and an attacking looking Avinash Ramnarain who in his brief cameo took a liking to new ball bowlers Mendonca and Andre Hooper striking the latter for 3 consecutive boundaries before he was caught by Mowatt off Mendonca’s bowling for 20 (10balls 5×4) trying to take on the bowling with the score on 25 with the second ball of the 3rd over. In came USA under 19 selectee the elegant and talented Omar Afridi and he immediately showed that he’s one for the future by expertly punching a Mendonca long hop on the up though cover and extra cover much to the admiration of all cricket pundits in the ground most notable Staple and Massiah. At the other end Paul was having a field day against Hooper hissing him for consecutive 6’s as the 50 came up in only the 4th over and with the treat of rain it was concerned time for Villagers and their management with team manger Venella Wallace seen starching her head and heard yelling to her captain “skipper they are above the run rate we need to hold them back”.

Roye adhere to his manager and immediately turn to Marshall who surprising continuing to be Villagers first change bowler and Ewart Gayle to try and stem the flow of runs, Marshall first over went for 8 and Gayle’s   first over cost him 12 after been hit for 2 towering 6’s by the impressive Paul. After 10 overs it was 89 for 1 and neither batsman seems worried by what Villagers had offered so Roye turned to Massiah and Staple who both bowled good control off spin; however the breakthrough came via the run out route when attempting a single to Marshall who combined with 60 years old wicket keeper Charles Walker to find Paul short of his ground for a well played 43 (36 balls 5×6) sharing in a 94 runs 2nd wicket partnership which was setting up for a good run chase. Hameed entered blocking his first 14 balls faced before hitting staple for 6 and was out next ball caught and bowled by Staple, captain Forbes lasted  5 balls before he was bowled by Massiah for a duck while at the other end O. Afridi continued to impress with his technique defending the good balls but was quick to lashed onto anything lose mostly playing along the ground on his way to a brilliant half century of 53 (48balls 6×4 1×6) before he presented Staple with a return catch to be 5th man out with the score on 137 in the 20th over, he left the field to tremendous applaud from all in the ground and received an ovation from the Villagers USA representatives  who knew they had just witness a future USA  player.

At this point Pioneer youngsters decided they weren’t going to get to such total and decided to use the remaining overs as batting practice a ploy to which Roye seems to oblige and turn to his part time bowlers as only Walker didn’t bowl. Wallace had to be brought in for Staple whose injury became unbearable and had to leave the field to become the second female in the game as the ever present Triholder Marshall gave a good account of her donning the colors of Pioneer Tri State.   Chetan Persaud and A. Afridi finish 25 and 28 not out respectively sharing in an unbroken 47 runs 7 wicket partnership, to take their team to 212 for 6 from 35 overs. Staple was the pick of the bowlers finishing with 2 for 22 from 5 overs, Massiah 1 for 14 from 5 overs and there was a wicket a piece for Mendonca 1 for 25 from 3 and Roye 1 for 21 from 4.

Final score in the match Villagers CC 319 for 4 from 35 overs, Pioneer Tri State CC 212 for 6 from 35 overs

There were echoes of praise for the Pioneer Tri State players from all cricket loving fans in the ground who felt with the right guidance these kids could go a far way.