By John L. Aaron
The New York City-based Rockaway Group of Companies brought cricket excitement to Idlewild Park this past Fourth of July American Independence Day with a double dose of cricket fan excitement, with lots of fireworks from the bats of many.

Teaming up with Queens United Sports Club’s annual BBQ event, the Rockaway Group of Companies sponsored a Double Wicket Tournament at the Mecca of New York Cricket – Idlewild Cricket Ground in Rosedale, Queens.

Hafeez Ali and Alex Amsterdam
Rockaway CEO Hafeez Ali (At left) presents the Championship trophy to Alex Amsterdam, Captain of the Atlantis Cricket Club – NY Double Wicket pair. Photo: Javed Ali

It has been over twenty years since the first Double Wicket competition was held in the tri-state area. Hafeez Ali, CEO of the Rockaway Group of Companies, and his brother Hazrat “Ginger” Ali’s company, Ali & Sons Home Improvements, “recruited” some familiar New York cricket faces to organize and conduct the one-day tournament. Indo-Caribbean Federation President Ralph Tamesh led the group, which included former USA national cricket captain Zamin Amin, Charlton Senior, Deryck Kallicharran, and John Aaron. Hosted by “Mr. Rockaway” himself, Hafeez Ali, the tournament launched on short notice delivered a flawless product that saw eight two-man paired teams take to the middle to create exciting cricket.

The eight participating representatives teams were –
Zone A: Oraine Williams & Romaine Morris (Queens United Sports Club 1), Akeem Dewar & Gavan Brown (American Cricket Society), Brandon English & Joseph Brown (Westbury Cricket Club 2), and Akshaya Persaud & Navin Stewart (Phoenix Cricket Club).

Zone B: Marinaro Dixon & Aldaine Thomas (Queens Unite Sports Club) 2, Alex Amsterdam, Anthony Bramble (Atlantis Cricket Club – NY), Richard Allen & Horace Porter (Westbury Sports Club 1), and Wasim Haslim & Chris Patandin (Spartans Cricket Club).

Rain was looming with the intent to ruin the day; however, the organizers were very efficient in moving the tournament along at a pace that saw little or no time gaps as the teams rotated in and out, with the next match’s toss taken while another game was in progress. The loser was eliminated after completing the two innings of four overs each. The winning team then moved on to the next slated match against the winning pair from the opposing block of the same Zone, with the Zones A and B winners meeting in the final.

Hafeez Ali and Anthony Bramble
Rockaway CEO Hafeez Ali (At left) presents the Championship trophy to Anthony Bramble, one half of the Atlantis Cricket Club – NY Double Wicket pair. Photo: Javed Ali

The Double-Wicket format is relatively unknown to some players, and spectators may have needed help keeping up with the pairs of batters and bowlers quickly exchanging places on the idyllic Idlewild pitch. Following along was made easier with a chart on the progress of the teams in each group posted outside the commentator’s tent, highlighting the teams eliminated and those advancing.

The Zone A first elimination round saw QUSC 1 posting 25 runs off two of the allotted four overs, outscoring ACS by ten runs to advance against Phoenix Cricket Club. Romaine Morris, 14 (2x6s), and Oraine Williams, 4, were both out within the first two overs. However, they had already scored 25 runs, which would prove too much for ACS. In search of 26 runs for the win, ACS could only put together 15, losing both of their wickets. Akeem Dewar, 1, was out LBW to Oraine Williams, and his partner Gavan Brown, 9, was caught off the bowling of Romaine Morris. Like ACS, QUSC 1 captured both wickets inside two overs and advanced in the Zone standings.

This was an exciting match-up with Phoenix sporting youth and experience in Akshaya Persaud and Navin Stewart. Phoenix scored 68 runs against the WSC 2 bowling of Brandon English and Joseph Brown. It was the highest team score of the tournament at the time, with Akshaya Persaud, 31 (2x6s, 3x4s) and Navin Stewart, 36 (5x6s, 1×4). WSC 2 could only muster 27 off of its four overs. WSC 2’s Joseph Brown was caught off the bowling of Akshaya Persaud for 12, while his partner Brandon English, 15, was also caught off the bowling of Akshaya Persaud. Phoenix moved on to face QUSC 1 in the Zone A qualifier.

Phoenix posted 53 off the willows of Navin Stewart, 35 (2x6s, 3x4s) and Akshaya Persaud, 11. Phoenix was eliminated, however, by QUSC 1, who posted 54, with contributions of 27 from Oraine Williams (3x6s, 1×4) and Romaine Morris, 23 (2x6s, 1×4). QUSC 1 won its Zone A qualifier.

The opening round of Zone B saw ACC-NY, 79, posting the tournament’s highest total, behind the bats of Alex Amsterdam, 42 not out (3x6s, 3x4s), and Anthony Bramble, 30 (4x6s) caught off the bowling of Aldaine Thomas. QUSC 2 fell by 24 runs, posting only 55 with both batters dismissed in the inning. Aldaine Thomas, 24 (1×6, 3x4s), caught off the bowling of Anthony Bramble and Marinaro Dixon, 23 (3x6s), bowled by Bramble. ACC-NY advanced to face WSC 1.

WSC 1 batting first scored 21 off their four overs, with Richard Allen carrying the pair on his shoulders after his partner Horace Porter was dismissed without scoring, c&b by Chris Patandin. Allen’s unbeaten 19 was enough to secure the win, as the Spartans came up short in their four overs, scoring only 17. Waslim Haslim, 1, and Chris Patandin were both dismissed caught, off the bowling of Horace Porter for 1 and 12, respectively. Extras chipped in four for a total of 17. It was not enough, as WSC 1 advanced to the Double Wicket Championship Final after a brief rain interruption. The quick downpour did not dampen the spirits of those in attendance and the revelry at the well-manicured Idlewild Cricket Ground.

The organizers provided a cadre of unbiased fielders who were each compensated for their day’s work in the field, including catches and run-outs.

Hazrat Ali and Oraine Williams
Ali & Sons Home Improvement CEO Hazrat “Ginger” Ali (At left) presents the 2nd Place prize to Oraine Williams, Captain of the Queens United Sports Club 1 Double Wicket team. Photo: Javed Ali

A highly anticipated match-up between Atlantis Cricket Club-NY and Westbury Sports Club 1 was on the table.

The Atlantis pair Alex Amsterdam and Anthony Bramble won the toss and opted to bat. The duo posted their second-highest total of the day with 67. Bramble, not out on 46 (4x6s, 2x4s), appeared to take a liking to the Westbury bowlers hitting two of his four massive maximums over long-on and off the bowling of Richard Allen. Bramble was ably supported by Amsterdam, 24 (3x6s), as the latter also got into the power-hitting state of mind. The 67 ticks would prove too much for Westbury, who could only post a meager seven runs as Amsterdam dismissed Richard Allen for three and Horace Porter for a single boundary bracer. It was a 60-run victory, with the spectators enjoying every moment of the unique event between bites of the delicious Queens United Sports Club’s BBQ effort and the appropriate refreshments to wash it all down.

With Atlantis and Queens United 1 advancing to the final, the momentum and interest surrounding the power-hitting of Richard Allen and Horace Porter now shifted to the Alex Amsterdam – Anthony Bramble duo versus Oraine Williams and Romaine Morris in the championship showdown for the hardware and $oftware.


Atlantis’ Anthony Bramble continued his in-form appearance at Idlewild, scoring an unbeaten 35 (4x6s), with his partner Alex Amsterdam contributing 14 (2x4s) before being caught off the bowling of Oraine Williams. With Extras, 7, Atlantis posted 56. QUSC 1 would fold for 37 inside three overs, with only 14 deliveries of the allocated 24 legal balls bowled. Oraine Williams, 3, was run out. He left his partner Romaine Morris to fetch the weight. Morris, with a well-made 31, included a clobbering of Amsterdam and Bramble for five sixes in the Queens United at-bat, was eventually caught off the bowling of Amsterdam at the 2.2 overs mark, and the inaugural Rockaway Group of Companies Double Wicket Championship title going to Atlantis Cricket Club-NY pair.

The Double Wicket Tournament was the Rockaway Group of Companies’ second foray into bringing exciting and unique cricketing events to the New York metropolitan area. The company and a few Double Wicket organizing committee members were also responsible for the Rockaway T20 Tournament featuring representative teams from the Caribbean and South Asia. That tournament featured three T20 matches in a single day. It was the first time such a T20 cricket fixture was attempted by anyone in the New York area.

The Rockaway Group of Companies’ Double Wicket tournament saw 44x6s and 28x4s in the tournament total of 581 runs scored and 15 wickets taken.

One could not have asked for more excitement in a one-day cricket tournament as the 2023 edition of the Rockaway Group of Companies Double Wicket Tournament.

Zamin Amin, Hazrat Ali, Anthony Bramble, Hafeez Ali, Alex Amsterdam, Ralph Tamesh, John Aaron
L-R: Zamin Amin, Hazrat Ali, Anthony Bramble, Hafeez Ali, Alex Amsterdam, Ralph Tamesh, and John Aaron. Photo: Javed Ali

The Atlantis Cricket Club-NY pair of Tournament Champions Alex Amsterdam and Anthony Bramble posted the highest team total of 202 runs from their three innings, averaging 67.33 runs per inning. It was an awe-inspiring performance from the pair for four-over innings at-bat. The duo captured a total of five wickets in the three outings.

Phoenix Cricket Club, with Akshaya Persaud and Navin Stewart, had an equally impressive outing posting the second-highest team total of 121 runs from their two at-bats, at an average of 60.5 per inning, with Akshaya Persaud capturing two wickets in the tournament.

Queens United Sports Club 1 had the third-highest team total of 116 runs and three wickets from their three innings.

With live cricket commentary, a live DJ, the delicious smell of barbeque sauce wafting across Idlewild, friends catching up, and the young ones frolicking in the background, the BBQ and Double Wicket tournament event was, by all accounts, a value-added event to the American Independence holiday weekend’s activities.

Hopefully, the Rockaway Group of Companies’ Double Wicket Tournament will become an annual New York cricket calendar event.