By Dervon Wallace
It was the match up of two giants of the Metropolitan Cricket League as action continued in the Clement Busta Lawrence Premier League when 2 times defending champion Villagers Cricket Club went up against arch rivals in many times champion Westbury Cricket Club at Gateway Cricket Field in Brooklyn on Sunday July 5, 2015.

Steve Massiah struck  140 from 78 balls that include 13x4 10x6.

Steve Massiah struck 140 from 78 balls that included 13×4 and 10×6.

On the day after Americans commemorate the adoption of the declaration of Independence and many still in the party mood, in bright sunshine Westbury won the toss and the visitors elected to take first strike on a pitch that would put a smile on batsmen’s face.

Opening the innings for Westbury were Javien Thomas and Tristan Coleman who last year represented Villagers and his intent to do well against his former mates were evident as he went about his task in a brisk manner. The pair added 85 before Coleman 46 (34 balls 5×4 2×6) fell to a Sharpe catch taken by Cliff Roye at backward- point off the bowling of Rashard Marshall. Thomas 32 (30 balls 3×4) was next to go and it was soon 93 for 3 when Daren Ferguson went without scoring.

Barrington Bartley and Jamie Merchant added 49 runs from 44 balls before Merchant 29 (24 balls 5×4) was caught on the mid-wicket boundary. Bartley was joined by veteran former Windward Island First-Class player Dennison Thomas; both batsmen frustrate the champions in a solid 107 runs partnership. Bartley 70 (53 balls 4×4 3×6) looking set for a century  lost his concentration and hit one down the throat of Richard Staple who hold on after having a day to forget in the field.

Thomas was dismiss for 64 (45 balls 8×4) and Horace Porter made a quick fire 32 (14 balls 6×4 1×6) as Westbury piled up 313 for 7 from allotted 40 overs.

 Barrington Bartley 70 came off 53 balls with 4x4 3x6. Photo by Shem Rodney

Barrington Bartley 70 came off 53 balls with 4×4 3×6. Photo by Shem Rodney

R. Marshall was the pick of the bowlers finishing with 4 for 62 from 8 overs, there was a wicket apiece for Melroy Kingston and Talisman Gordon 1 for 32 and 1 for 49 respectively as Jermaine Lawson, George Adams and Ewart Gayle went wicket less.

The large crowd on hand waited patiently for the chase as the sentiment around the ground was that 313 might not be enough for a Villagers line up that comprises four top USA national batsmen, a test opener along with one of the league’s most prolific run scorer and one of the most devastating hitter around.

To start the battle for Villagers was discarded West Indies opener Xavier Marshall and the prolific Kingston, the latter didn’t last long as in the first over he edged a Linden St Louis out-swinger to gully where it found the waiting arms of Merchant.

X. Marshall 12 (1×4 1×6) became St Louis second victim in the third over at 21 for 2. It was at this time two former USA captain Steve Massiah and Richard Staple met at the crease, and went about rebuilding the inning. The pair shared in a 58 balls 83 runs partnership, when Staple 28 (27 balls 2×4 2×6) edged to first slip, after the dismissal of R. Marshall 9 and Orlando Baker for 6. Massiah decided to take the fight to the Westbury attack.

Massiah, the effervescent classy right handed  stroke player showed why he is still regarded as one of if not the best batsman in the country delighting the crowd with a ray of stroke plays on both side of the wicket and down the ground. The former USA captain was particular severe on Balister McLeish hitting three consecutive 4’s and one 6 taking 20 runs out of one of his overs.

With wickets continuing to fall around Massiah, he decided his only hope would be to attack and in doing so he held out to McLeish off the bowling of St Louis for a master class 140 (78 balls 13×4 10×6) when Massiah was dismissed a few of the Westbury players including McLeish ran over to congratulate him as he walked off the field to thunderous applaud from all cricket loving fan in the park realizing they have just witness a special knock.

When the dust was all set the powerful the Villagers inning folded for a mere 220 in 31.5 overs giving Westbury victory by 93 runs with season campaigner St Louis the chief destroyer finishing with 5 for 34 from 7.5 overs, McLeish, Merchant, Bartley and J. Thomas all finish with one wicket.