By James Persaud
It was exactly one year ago when the youths in the bright red shirts celebrated in all glory after winning the Champions Cup in its inaugural year. And for the second year finals the youths in the white shirts traveling from Schenectady was enjoying an even bigger victory, after destroying the Queens Youths in the finals in front of a large crowd at Baisley Park on Saturday afternoon.

Captains of the two team, Vyas Prasad (left) and Steven Hirdhari.

The NYSCL, organizers of the Champions Cup had everything in place for a final. The tents, food, beverages, ball by ball announcers and the television crew from ITV were on hand.  As the announcer called out the names of players in the game, it was nice to see young cricketers, the future of our game, acknowledged by cheers from the crowd.

The youths were ready and they were shining as bright as the trophies, they would be receiving later.  The Queens Youths were in red shirts and white pants and the Schenectady Youths were in white tops and blue pants. The two teams were introduced to each other and as the young men shook hands, one could see the comradeship in their faces as they built for a new epoch.

The Queens Youths captain Steven Girdhari won the toss and immediately decided to take the crease first in a 20 over game. Shane Lall and Anil Singh took the crease to face Steven Mangal, Mangal was on target bowling good line and length and the batsmen took three singles of the first over. It was then Andy Nanlall, a well built all rounder who bowled quite fast and swung the ball exceptionally well, and was almost unplayable. He took the wicket of Anil Singh (1) with his third delivery and only 7 runs on the board.

The new batsman was Steven Girdhari who joined with his Vice Captain Shane Lall to repair the damage, the bowling was on top both Mangal and Nanlall was well supported by the fielders on a very fast outfield. The score board was moving very slow, only advancing by singles, after four over a double bowling change was made with Dassram Raghunandan and Randy Punwasi.

Punwasi a very good bowler who gets plenty of spin, immediately silenced the Queens crowd, his first delivery had Girdhari (1) caught at mid wicket and the new batsman Ajay Vincent received a first ball duck. Sanjay Panday came to the crease and gave the crowd something to roar about; he struck the first boundary of the game. Raghunandan was bowling well without any luck, while Punwasi was enjoying his first tour, he struck twice again in his second over. He had Lall (5) caught at mid on and Ian Persaud was bowled for one.

The victorious Schenectady team.

Panday stayed around for a while, he was not scoring but at least he was getting the bat on the ball, his patience wore thin and he moved down the track made a big heave and loss his stump in the process. With two new batsmen at the crease Ryan Strikisson and Ryan Takechand, this pair stayed together for the next five overs and brought some life to the Queens innings.

The two Ryan boys added a very valuable 24 run partnership, and the large crowd on hand enjoyed every bit of the action. Just when the crowd was getting comfortable Raghunandan struck, he had Strikisson (16) caught by the wicketkeeper. The new batsman was Justin Deopaul and Raghunandan struck again with his last ball of the over, Takechand was gone for 11.

Amit Garbarran join Deopaul (3) was bowled by Mangal, Rakesh Budram came to the crease and he received the biggest ovation from the crowd. Rakesh Budram was the youngest kid on the Queens team; he is only ten years old. Rakesh comes to the coaching sessions every week and he is always willing to get involved in any aspect of the game, he is not afraid of getting his cloths  dirty.

The Queens innings came to an end with five balls to spare and a score of only 76 runs, Dassram Raghunandan finish with 4 wickets for 15 runs.

The Queens youths knew that they did not put enough runs on the board and for them to stay in the game they would have to get wickets early. It was a subpar performance by the batsmen; this team is capable of scoring more runs. It was evident that they lacked patience, after playing good cricket stroke and unable to get runs they would then goes for big swings and lose their wicket.

Maybe it was the pressure of playing in front of a large crowd, trying to make adjustments and in the end making mistakes. Not to take anything away from the Schenectady Youths, they played a good game, good bowling and supported by very great fielding and catching.

Schenectady began their reply with Vyas Prasad and Shane Singh; Amit Garbarran took the ball for Queens. Garbarran bowled a very good first over only given up one run. Sanjay Panday bowling the second over was getting plenty of spin and beat the batsman a few times and only gave up one run.

Garbarran in his second over removed Shane Singh off stump and he was on his way for a duck, the new batsman was Steve Mangal, Mangal played the ball to extra cover point and Prasad charged down the track, with both batsmen at the batting crease. Juliano field the ball and return it to the keeper, the wicketkeeper with his gloves on was unable to get it in time to the bowler end for the run out.

Prasad survived, he was on three runs, he made no other mistake and put on a super batting display staying at the crease for the next ten over and seeing his team to victory. The Queens skipper used seven bowlers in an effort to stop Schenectady, but in the end it didn’t work as the runs was too small to defend.

Steve Mangal batted very smart and was very supportive of his skipper, knowing that his skipper could score a half century. He gave him as much strike as possible and at times not running his own run. When Prasad was on 48, he wanted to reach 50 in fine style and heave one to the deep mid wicket region.

The fielder miss judging the catch ran in and the ball dropped behind him, the batsmen cross for two and Prasad got his fifty not out, Mangal 13 not out and the game was over. Amit Garbarran took the only wicket for Queens, one for 8.

The Schenectady Youths took home the Champions trophy along with all the other individual awards, batting, bowling and man of the match trophies. Every player on both team’s Youth Program received a metal for their participation.

The organizers (NYSCL) would like to thank all the volunteers, coaches, umpires Gillian Gomes and Sahadeo and all the other people who have helped to make this event a success. Thanks to the NYSCL support group Boodram Deopaul, Sase Radhay, Joseph Mahabir, Kirk Williams, Ramjeet Singh, Sunil Panday, Bram Persaud and Surein Sawh. NYSCL President Mr. Eric Ferrier in his closing remarks thanked the President of Schenectady Softball Cricket Mr. Onkar Singh for his league support and said that he was looking forward to working together in developing the game of softball cricket.

Special thanks to the wonderful ladies Mala Valladares, Sena Girdhari, Joyce Panday and Debe Boodram for preparing the food, thanks to Rudy of United Tent and Party services for his support.