By John L. Aaron
The 2023 Metropolitan Cricket League’s (MCL) Clement “Busta” Lawrence 40-Overs Premier League’s semi-final “contracts” have been signed even as the league assesses the way forward from the collateral damage occurring within the cricket Diaspora of New York City and the MCL.
Before getting into the tournament’s semi-final fixtures this weekend and how the teams got there, one cannot help but look at the overall season, the participating teams, and the future sustainability of one of the longest-standing cricket leagues in the USA.
This past Sunday was another perfect weather day for cricket in the New York metropolitan area. A day with gentle breezes, blue skies, bright sunshine with a low-intensity heat index, and enjoyable humidity – if ever there was one. In its cricket weather forecast, one can apply those weather metaphors to the MCL and whether it can withstand a future storm.
Like the inevitable climate change now gripping the world, the cricketing landscape is experiencing unavoidable changes affecting teams, clubs, leagues, and even national governing bodies, all the way up the food chain to the International Cricket Council (ICC). The MCL is no different.
Corporate entities often conduct SWOT analyses to assess their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. The MCL and many affiliate clubs should perform a similar soul-searching exercise to readjust their sails in the prevailing winds; otherwise, they will head straight into a gusty storm.
Tip O’Neill, a former U.S. House of Representatives Speaker, has been closely associated with the phrase – “All politics is local.” Well, all cricket is local because, like politics, that’s where it all begins.
Players at the local levels are pushing their clubs more and more to participate in “big money prize” leagues, and those leagues are seeking sanctioning from national governing bodies to conduct tournaments and one-off events. In return, governing bodies are seeking sanctioning fees to sustain the income streams of their organizations or an attempt to control the commercial mushrooming of the sport.
The aforementioned scenario has severely impacted the cricketing community in New York and, I suspect, other parts of the country. The MCL has seen its roster of clubs/teams depleted from a high of sixteen teams just a few years ago to less than eight this season. The MCL has been among the New York leagues impacted by such collateral damage. Others include the Eastern American Cricket Association and the American Cricket League.
Metropolitan Cricket League’s Semi-Finals are set.
WESTBURY CRICKET CLUB vs. VILLAGERS SPORTS CLUB
Villagers won by eight wickets
Winning the toss and electing to take the first strike at Roy Sweeney Cricket Oval, Westbury, sans Richard Allen who opted to fulfill a Minor League Cricket commitment, experienced one of their lowest totals of the season, posting a paltry 69 all out against arch-rivals Villagers.
With an unreachable leaderboard total of 49 points, the match was less important to Westbury and, to a lesser extent, to Villagers. The latter, once again, flipped the 2 and 3 standings with Atlantis by the win. However, cricketers have pride and a fervor for bragging rights, so the outcome may have mattered more to the individual players than to the two organizations.
Westbury was off to a less than remarkable start, losing Marion Gardner for a single in the third over. Fellow opener Jose Northover, 21, followed twenty runs later. Not much change in the next six overs as Westbury lost four more wickets while adding only twenty-seven runs to the tins. Except for an aggressive short stay at the muddle by Carlos Green, 19 (3x4s), and later a dogged knock from Ryan Bennett caught and bowl Andre McCarty, 11, all the other batters had Bingo single-digit knocks totaling eleven runs for a Westbury total of 69 all out in 21.1 overs.
Andre McCarty 5.1-1-8-4, Gregory Robinson 5-0-26-3, and skipper George Adams 6-1-16-2 were responsible for the Westbury routing. Ryan Burnett grabbed the remaining wicket for 16 runs off his five-over spell.
The Westbury wickets fell at 9, 21, 35, 38, 39, 48, 65, 66, 69, and 69.
Villagers took to the middle and the opportunity to regain some league pride with a W over Westbury. Despite losing the hard-hitting franchise player Tristan Coleman without scoring in the first over, Villagers never doubted its ability to overtake a 69-run challenge.
The hosts would lose its second wicket with the score at 65 and well on their way to a win and five points. All-rounder Andre McCarty missed a half-century when Ryan Bennett bowled him for 49 off 32 balls (5x6s, 3x4s). From there on, there was no doubt about the outcome in front of a partisan group of supporters at the home of New York cricket iconic organizer Roy Sweeney.
McCarty’s knock was the catalyst for the Villagers’ victory, and he was supported by opener Lorenzo McDonald’s 14 and six Extras, as Villagers quickly reached 70 for 2 in just 9.3 overs. The wickets fell at 1 and 65, with Ryan Bennett and Juanoy Drysdfale each enjoying one wicket apiece for 7 and 26 runs, respectively.
The Villagers’ win pushed its tally to 47 points and a second-place spot ahead of Atlantis in third-place and also on 47, but with a better net run rate than the boys in green and yellow. The two teams will meet in one of the two semi-final match-ups this weekend.
ISLAND WIDE CRICKET CLUB vs. LUCAS CRICKET CLUB
Lucas won by 10 wickets
Island Wide won the toss and elected to bat first, posting 55 for 6 in 11.1 overs, failing to field a full squad on a beautiful day for cricket at Marine Park.
Garvey Mitchel led the batters with 17 off 24 (1×6, 1×4), followed by Aloysious Fontenelle, 16. They were the only two batters to post double-digit contributions. Extras contributed eleven.
Rodwell Busgith enjoyed remarkable figures of 2.1-1-4-4, while Nalburn Whittiker, 2 for 19 off six overs, was responsible for the other two scalps.
Lucas was off to a flying start, and the victory behind the bat of Orval Crawford, 51 not out off 24 deliveries with seven boundaries. It was all Lucas needed, with Crawford outscoring his opening partner, Vishaul Singh, not out three off seven balls. The duo wrapped up the victory in exactly five overs at 56 without loss, and the ten-wicket win. The victory ensured Lucas’ fourth place spot on the points table with 32 points, and they will meet Westbury in the second semi-final match-up this Sunday, August 13.
This Sunday’s semi-final match-ups will see Villagers Sports Club versus Atlantis Cricket Club-NY at the Roy Sweeney Cricket Oval in Brooklyn, NY, and Westbury Sports Club versus Lucas Sports Club at Westbury High School, Long Island.
All matches begin at 12:00 PM