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PSAL Cricket Final
Newcomers Are PSAL 2009 Champs

June 15th, 2009
It was the second Field in Brooklyn dedicated only to cricket, the second match played on this field, the second 20/20 game Sunday to end in a close and thrilling finish (after India lost to England) and it was the second Finals of the New York City Public Schools Athletic League PSAL Cricket. Yes New york City is setting the tone for USA Cricket with the first High school League finishing its second season at a brand new cricket ground opened just the day before at Canarsie Park in Brooklyn. (Scorecard) | Gallery

2009 champions Newcomers poses with their awards.

Mahbubul Chowdury of Newcomers (top) and Troy Mars (bottom) of John Adams during their entertaining inning. (Photos by Shiek Mohamed)

For the second year the 2 Finalists were Newcomers High School and John Adams High School. The names of the schools by themselves telling a story of American Cricket - Newcomers HS is a school focusing on recent immigrants,many of whom are bringing their love for cricket to the US, whilst John Adams HS carries the name of one of our Founding Fathers, and 2nd President, who like many early Americans played cricket.

The weather was beautiful, rain was predicted but never threatened. A cool breeze and 70 F degree temperature made it ideal to play cricket. The outfield was slow as rain had made the outfield grass a bit thick. The newness of the turf meant it could not be cut, so the batsmen knew runs would be hard to come by along the ground.

It was good tactics then for the John Adams' HS Captain Thakur Singh to send in Newcomers to bat when he won the toss. However Newcomers HS, as their Captain Robin Das said, "won every time we batted first".

To the surprise of many, Newcomers HS was soon in trouble, a mixup between the openers, Nurus Salam and Rayhan Ahmed left Ahmed without a home, and he was run out. Nicholas Ramrattan (3 overs,4 runs,1 W), Troy Mars (3 overs, 9 runs, 1 W ) and Sharma Sukdeo (3 overs, 11 runs, 1 W) then bowled tight and effective spells, to leave Newcomers HS teetering. Mars took the all important wicket of Robin Das, the 2009 highest aggregate run getter, including 126 in a match against Thomas Edison High School. In 2008 Das had also scored a century. Nurus Salaam (22) and Grazi Rahman (14) couldn't stop what appeared to be a debacle as Newcomers HS struggled to get to 50 whilst losing 7 wickets. However the fall of the 7th wicket brought Mahbubul Chowdury to the wicket to join Mohamad Swappan.

Choudury strode to the wicket with the air of a man who knew what to do, and immediately took charge. A huge off drive for 6 brought the Newcomers HS bench to their feet, then Chowdury, supremely confident, ignored the man deep on the long-off boundary and went for the same shot, getting 6 more. A 4 followed. Swappan now saw he had a partner and laid into the bowling as well, pulling 2 sixes over midwicket. The two took the Newcomers HS total to a defendale 111 off their 20 overs. It wasn't that John Adams HS let them off the hook, it was the onslaught of Mahbubul Chowdury that saved Newcomers HS.

John Adams HS had seen the chance of getting Newcomers out for a low score slip away but 111 was still well within their reach. However the Newcomers HS opening attack of Robin Das (4 overs,6 runs,2 W) and Azmain Hussain (4 overs, 15 runs) pinned the opening batsmen, Kristoff Narine and Craig Hugh down. Hussain's energetic runup and athletic delivery helped him generate some pace, whilst Das kep kept line and length. Both, together with Grazi Rahman (4 overs, 11 runs, 1 W) kept it tight, and the ruun rate required crept up to 9 runs per over .John Adams HS could feel the game slipping away. To make matters worse Rayhan Ahmed took the game into his own hands, taking a catch and getting 2 wickets with his bowling (3 overs,19 runs, 2 W).

Captain Thakur Singh was still at the crease but the John Adams High School batsmen couldn't find the boundary and the team was reeling. The new batsman Troy Mars then gave his team hope, driving over midwicket for 6. Another 6 and a 4 followed. The slow outfield was not giving up boundaries along the ground but Mars brought his team back into the game, whilst his Captain held down the other end. It began to look as though Newcomers HS, after dropping Mars, would pay dearly. But the Das repaid Mars for taking his wicket, by clean bowling the ebullient Mars.

Thakur Singh then tried to take over the big-hitting role, went down the wicket and was stumped. The remaining batsmen, struggling to find the boundary, played intelligent cricket by taking the singles, and hurried 2's. Excellent fielding by Newcomers High School made this dangerous though, and 2 runouts made it a really close game. Captain Das, shrewdly had left himself to bowl the final over, and with John ADams High School needing 11 to win Das bowled well and ensured Newcomers High School won by 5 runs.

After the match Awards were presented to Robin Das (Best Bowler ), Troy Mars (Best Batsman ) and Match MVP Mahbubul Chowdury. John Adams HS Coach Alex Navarrette and a clearly dissappointed Captain Thakur Singh accepted the Runners Up Trophy and for the second year in a row Newcomers High School took home the Winners' Trophy, accepting graciously was Coach Sam Sooppersaud and Captain Robin Das.

Presenting the Awards were key figures in the PSAL, Donald Douglas (Director), Lorna Austin (Coordinator) and Bassett Thompson (Commissioner), all of whom are helping NYC pioneer school cricket in the US. Also present were Assistant Commissioner Ricky Kissoon, John Aaron, Secretary of the United States Cricket Association (USACA) and Lloyd Jodah, President of American College Cricket. Secretary Aaron was his usual sartorially elegant self and ecstatic at the work being done by the PSAL for High School cricket, American College Cricket's Lloyd Jodah was so moved by the PSAL's cricket efforts and hard work that he offered to the Match MVP Mahbubul Chowdury,a Student Membership to New York Sports Club (the Northeast's top Healthclub).

Newcomers High School won by 5 runs and are the PSAL 2009 Champions.

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