Metropolitan Cricket League
By Dervon Wallace

Villagers CC secure bragging rights over their rival Westbury CC and top seed going into the playoffs by annihilating them by 8 wickets with 32. 1 overs to spare in the final preliminary game in the New York Metropolitan Cricket League (NYMCL) Clement “Busta” Lawrence round robin on Sunday July 21, 2013 at the Gateway Cricket Field in Brooklyn NY. With the win Villagers head into the playoffs a perfect 10 from 10 with one game abandon earlier in the year.

Steve Massiah led Villagers batting with an beaten 53. Photo by Shiek Mohamed

With top spot up for grab Westbury’s captain USA Cricket Hall of Famer Balista McLeish called right at the coin flip and decided to bat on a hot sunny day and with both sets of vibrant supporters filling up the park former first-class players Dennison Thomas and Carlito Lopez stroll to the crease to do battle but was separated in the second over when Lopez drove at a Talisman Gordon out swinger and was magnificently caught by veteran wicket keeper 60 years old Charles “Give Thanks” Walker who had the presence of mind to realized the ball was dropping short of first slip and dived full stretch to globule inches from the ground with the score on 3.

In came the ever dangerous Barrington Bartley but on this occasion lasted only 7 balls scoring 2 before he miscue a George Adams short ball down the throat of Gordon at long-leg and the joy on Villagers face got brighter when Walker in action replay style took another brilliant catch in front of first slip pouncing on a chance offer by the prolific D. Thomas 9 (17 balls 1×4) to make it 17 for 3 in the sixth over and it quickly became 24 for 4 courtesy of some fine work from Steve Massiah with a direct hit running in from short mid-wicket to find Javien Thomas (0) short of his ground.

The reliable Devon Campbell and the attacking Kevin Baugh who never seems to change his game regardless of the situation briefly tried to repair the early damage sharing in a 22 runs partnership before Campbell 10 (14 balls 2×4) flick a Rashard Marshall Delivery in the hands of Gordon stationed at a short square-leg at 46 for 5 with the second ball of the twelfth over and a much need drinks break was taken. After the break Baugh was joined by former West Indies test player Jermaine Lawson, the former went soon after for 19 (24 balls 1×4 1×6) on-driving hard but straight to Cliff Roye at short mid-on who took a sharp catch. With wicket tumbling Lawson decided to fight fire with fire after haven been put down at deep extra-cover took a liking to his former Jamaica youth team mate Marshal hitting him for a 6 and 4 consecutively then walking down the pitch topping with his bat as both were engaged in a friendly jibe at each other.  Lawson was dismiss for a top score of 28 (31 balls 2×4 2×6) going for another big one off the bowling of Richard Staple which held up and Marvin Simpson  at extra-cover took a well judged catch on the second attempt as he fell to the ground, captain McLeish 10 (6 balls 1×6)in his usual style played a cameo before he was run out and the inning  folded at a disappointed 88 thanks to some discipline bowling and good field setting as Marshall in particular seems to have did his home work knowing exactly the areas the batters would be looking to score and could be seen busy with his captain getting the angles right and the right fielder in the right position.

Bowling for Villagers: Adams 2 for 18 from 5.3 overs, Gordon 2 for 16 from 5 overs, Staple 3 for 29 from 5 overs and Marshall 1 for 23 from 4 overs.

The host in their reply got off to a disastrous start in the first over when “Master” Staple tuck one down towards fine-leg and promoted opener Cuthbert Mendonca   called for a single and half way down seemingly lost his head, turned back and made sure he outran Staple back to the none striker end a sight like a Yohan Blake trying to catch up with Usain Bolt much to the disappointment of the many who come out weeks after weeks to see the Master in action. It was more joy for the visitors with the second ball of the second over when Mendonca attempted a sweep shot off medium face Linden St. Louis and was out caught for a third ball duck to make it 2 for 9.

Mendonca must have been dreading heading back to the “music” of his teammates and supporters alike many of whom were irate of his indecision. It was back out in the middle where Marshall joined his friend and national captain Massiah and the two quickly settled any Villagers nerves as they took on the Westbury bowlers which consist of the league’s leading wicket taker St. Louis along with Lawson and Lopez both of whom bowls with express pace in the high 80’s, Massiah in the process continued his fine form since joining the Villagers line up delighting the crowd slam mashing the trio to all parts of the ground on his way to an unbeaten 53 from a mare 27 balls laced with 5×4 and 4×6 in 47 minutes of explosive, disruptive and decisive stroke play with the two sharing in an unbroken 81 runs partnership from 39 balls Marshall unbeaten on 19 (18 balls 1×4 2×6)  as Villagers ramp to their target in 7.5 overs, the inning wasn’t without a bit controversy as some in the ground amongst them self accused speedster Lopez  of deliberately bowling a beamer at Massiah after been hit by the latter with disdain power for a huge six.

It was a beamer estimated in the high 90’s that sent Massiah on his back side in taking evasive action and flew over a ducking wicket keeper and racket into the boundary to bring up the winning runs. Lopez apologized for his brushes and categorically denied it been a deliberate attempt and Massiah to his credit accept and had no complain.

Bowling for Westbury: Lawson 0 for 38 from 3 overs, St. Louis 1 for 15 from 2 overs, Lopez 0 for 22 from 1.5 overs and McLeish 0 for 10 from 1 overs.

Final scores in the match Westbury CC 88 all out in 19.3 overs and Villagers CC 90 for 2 in 7.5 overs,

Villagers’ opponent in the semifinal
Progressive CC advance to the semi final beating River Valley in Dutchess County, Poughkeepsie by 8 wickets to clinch fourth spot and the right to face the top seed. Progressive went in the game knowing that in order to qualify they would need some help with either a Mid Island lost or a Cosmos lost with them been able to get a full 7 points up in the hills of the Valley. As it stand Mid Island lost and Progressive completed the task on hand demolishing their opponent by 8 wickets with 22.2 overs to spare to gain a spot in the playoffs.

Progressive won the toss and inserted the home team and rattled them for a partly 64 in 23.4 overs as Maurice Powell finish with 3 for 23 from 7 overs, Rodwell Busgith 3 for 24 from 7 overs, Kadeem Rowe 2 for 12 from 5.4 overs and veteran Maurice Cole 1 for 4 from 4 overs. It took Progressive 12.4 overs to get to their target with Dervin Morand along with Powell unbeaten on 27 and 15 respectively while David Hart made 15; Abdul Shakur was the lone wicket taker finishing with 2 for 15.

Final score River Valley CC 64 all out in 23.4 overs and Progressive CC 65 for 2 in 12.4 overs.