By Sam Sooppersaud

Cricket fans, there has been a change in the schools contesting the Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL) final this coming Saturday, June 17th, starting at 2:00 PM at the Baisley Pond Park field in Jamaica, Queens. NY.

In my article appearing on this site on June 12th, captioned 2023 EDITION OF PSAL FINAL SLATED FOR BAISLEY POND PARK, I reported that the two High Schools in 2023 final were Lehman and Jamaica. Since then, there have been some unpleasant developments. The PSAL has disqualified Lehman High School. They will no longer be in the final. I have spoken to PSAL Cricket Commissioner Bassett Thompson on the issue, and he explained the reason for the disqualification. We are dealing with school kids here, so I will not get into the details of the PSAL’s action.

Pictured, Richmond Hill High School will now face Jamaica High School in the PSAL finals. File photo by Shiek Mohamed

Which school has replaced Lehman? Let’s backtrack a few moments. In the Quarter-Finals playoffs stage, Lehman defeated John Adams, ending their season. On Saturday, June 10th, in the Semi-Finals, Lehman defeated Richmond Hill ending their championship quest. Two of the top teams in the tournament were out, supposedly. But here is the twist! PSAL received information that all was not well in Lehman’s camp. Lehman had violated a specific PSAL regulation which contributed to them defeating both John Adams and Richmond Hill. As mentioned above, I will not give any more details on this matter. If you, the fans, need to know more, I suggest you contact the PSAL directly.

To determine who will face Jamaica in the finals, PSAL, and rightly so, scheduled John Adams to play Richmond Hill in an eliminator. This game was played on Tuesday, June 13th, at Baisley Pond Park, and Richmond Hill sent John Adams packing. 

Richmond Hill won the coin toss and elected to take the first strike. The opening pair of FNU Rafi and Justin Mingo prodded along, getting only 27 runs in the first eight overs. In the 11th over, they accelerated, scoring 16 runs but then fell back in a slow scoring mood. However, in the last six overs, 36 balls, the batters turned up the temperature, especially Rafi. In the 15th over, he hoisted the bowler for four successive sixes and a boundary. Thirty runs came in that over, and 16 more runs in the 19th over. The pair scored 100 runs from the last 36 balls. Richmond Hill ended their inning at 176 without losing a wicket. Rafi had an exciting 110 and Mingo 46.

John Adams fought back bravely in their turn at bat. But the scoreboard pressure was too much. In addition, I think they were emotionally affected when one of their players was seriously injured when he was hit in the face by the ball and had to be taken by ambulance for medical treatment. They lost wickets frequently and were eventually all out for 119 runs. Richmond Hill advanced to the Final, which would be on Saturday, June 17th, at the Baisley Pond Park, Jamaica, Queens. New York.  

So cricket fans come out and witness the two top-seeded schools in this 2023 Edition of PSAL cricket doing battle. It would be exciting T20 cricket!