By Dervon Wallace
On the back of another master class batting display from talismanic stroke player Steve Massiah, defending champions Villagers Cricket Club moved into playoff position in the Metropolitan Cricket League (MCL) 2015 Clement “Busta” Lawrence Premier League with a comprehensive victory over  former champions Progressive Cricket Club at Idle Wild Park in Queens NY on Sunday August 9, 2015.

Steve Massiah brought up his second ton of the season Massiah, 102 which came off 75 balls and included16x4 2x6.

Steve Massiah brought up his second ton of the season 102 which came off 75 balls and included 16×4 2×6.

In bright sunshine with temperatures hovering in the mid 80’s, Progressive’s captain John Sylvester called right at the coin flip and decided to take first strike. Opening the inning were the left handed duo of Dave Hart and Dervin Morand, at the top of his mark was former West Indies fast bowler Jermaine Lawson who was playing his first game for Villagers since the July 5th drubbing by Westbury. With 9 runs on the board in the first over Lawson got the breakthrough when he had Hart brilliantly gobbled up by Xavier Marshall low down to his right at third slip. It was soon 30 for 3 in the eighth over with Patrick Dewar caught at short square leg by Massiah off the bowling of Lawson beaten for pace flicking at a fast raising delivery and Morand losing his off stump to a George Adams off-cutter.

Captain Sylvester and former captain Kelvil George steadied the ship adding 70 runs before George was forced to retire hurt with what appeared to be thigh strain. At 163 for 6 in the twenty eighth over George return to rejoin his captain who by now was in full flow punishing a at times lethargic looking Villagers whose field placing and bowling rotations continue to raise eyebrows. They added another 40 runs before a limping George 37 (45 balls 3×4 1×6) was caught on the long-off boundary by Winston Myers off the bowling of Melroy Kingston. Despite a century from Sylvester 108 (90 balls 12×4 4×6) many pundits in the ground thinks he contributed to Progressive unable to build on a platform set by himself soaking up 28 balls between 90 and 100 when at one point Progressive looked set to post a bigger score. Progressive was dismissed for 220 in 37.4 overs with Lawson the pick of the bowlers finishing with 2 for 30 from 8 overs, there were two wickets apiece for Talisman Gordon 2 for 31, X Marshall 2 for 35 and Adams 2 for 32 with Kingston finishing with 1 for 45.

Needing to get to the target in a maximum of thirty five overs to secure a batting bonus points, Villagers started their reply in brisk fashion as opener X. Marshall dispatch the first ball of the inning back over the head of swing bowling sensation Mickey Alexis for a one bounce boundary and three balls later the discarded Jamaica and West Indies opener showed little respect for Alexis shimmying down the track clobbering one with distain power back past Alexis that saw him skipping to protect his ankle as the ball speed to boundary like a chase of bullet that had everyone in the park cheering in appreciation. Fellow opener Richard Staple playing against his former club only lasted four deliveries as he got a beauty of a delivery, one that pitch on middle and leg angling across him squaring him up presenting Sylvester with a low catch at second slip off the bowling of Mikhail Miller. It was 45 for 2 in the sixth over when X. Marshall 21 (14 balls 4×4) brief cameo came to an end driving loosely dragging an out swinger from Miller onto his stumps.

Kingston joined fellow Guyanese Massiah and the two Demerara boys quickly settled any nerves that were in the Villagers camp. Veteran Kingston played the anchor role while the former USA captain Massiah delighted the crowd with his array of stroke play taking a particular liking to the normally economical Alexis. He was quick to pounce on anything slightly loose and at times making a good ball look bad and bowlers could do nothing but nod in approval.   The classy right hander batting for only the third time in this year’s 40 overs competition brought up his second century with a crispy drive down to long-on. The 135 partnership from 115 balls was broken when a visibly shaken Massiah 102 (75 balls 16×4 2×6) lazily flick a Sylvester slower ball to square leg at 176 for 3. Shashane Anderson was next to go driving loosing outside the off-stump and was caught behind. Kingston not to be out done tried to bring up his fifty going for a maximum but was taken on the long-on boundary   for a well-played 48 (51 balls 5×4). It was down to the closer Adams and like on so many occasion showed how good of a power hitter he is finishing off the job with a brisk 20 (8 balls 3×4 1×6) in the process winning a personal battle between himself and bowling union’s counterpart Miller. Villagers ramped to their target in from 28 overs finishing at 223 for 5 collecting full 7 points.

Miller finish with 3 for 33 from 6 overs and there was a wicket apiece for Sylvester and Leron Celestin 1 for 40 and 1 for 32 respectively.