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PSAL Varsity Cricket
Aviation Flying High

By Sam Sooppersaud
June 8th, 2009
It appears as if Aviation High School is taking its name literally and is "flying high" at this time. Aviation has been creating upset after upset in the playoffs of PSAL Varsity High School Cricket Competition. PSAL inaugurated its program in 2008 with thirteen high schools taking part. Newcomers High School was the 2008 champions; they defeated John Adams to attain that coveted distinction.

Aviation High School

In the 2009 season twenty-three high school participated, divided into five divisions: The Bronx, two divisions in Brooklyn, and two divisions in Queens. The season commenced on April 18th and concluded its regular preliminary matches on May 30th. Newcomers High School came out on top as the # 1 seed while John Adams and William C Bryant were seeded second and third respectively. Playoffs are presently in progress.

The teams in the playoffs are the five division winners and the eight next best seeded schools. Teams were seeded as follows: Newcomers #1, John Adams #2, William C. Bryant#3, Hillcrest #4, Martin Van Buren #5, Richmond Hill #6, FDR #7, Lehman #8, Abraham Lincoln #9, DeWitt Clinton #10, Midwood #11, Prospect Heights #12, and Aviation #13. Inhe first round of the playoffs the three top teams got a bye. The other ten teams were matched as follows: #8 vs #9, #5 vs #11, #4 vs #13, #6 vs #10, and #7 vs #12.

Aviation High School (#13) started their 'high flying' by upsetting Hillcrest H.S. (#4) in a low scoring game played at Baisely Park , Queens. Throughout the regular season games Hillcrest were know for their relatively high scoring, whereas Aviation's scores were on the much lower side. It was thoughts by the pundits that Aviation would be "eaten alive' by the much superior Hillcrest. Were the pundits wrong! Aviation created its first upset by downing Hillcrest on June 2nd. Highcrest took first knock and scored a paltry 38 runs which were easily knocked off by Aviation, losing four wickets in that effort.

On Saturday, June 6th, Aviation clashed with Martin Van Buren High School in their Quarter Final match. It was a game that saw fortunes seasawing from one team to the next. The more than average size crowd was put on the edge of their seats as the excitement in the game was sometimes too much to bear. One time your team is ahead, the very next moment you are the underdog. It was like watching an IPL game from South Africa. For those of you readers who watched the IPL know what I am referring to.

The crowd was screaming encouragement to their team. In the end, Aviation, coached by the ever-active Wesley Henry, came out the victorious team. But regardless of which team you backed, all present witnessed an exciting game of cricket. Van Buren batted first and at the end of the third over they were 27 without loss. However, within the next four overs 7 wickets fell for the addition of only 9 runs. Aviation was surely on top at this stage of the game. Van Buren never seemed to recover their innings and were eventually all out for 63 runs.

Disaster struck immediately when Aviation started their innings. In the very first over 2 wickets fell for 3 runs. The batsmen then made a consorted effort to salvage the inning, and by the time 10 overs were bowled Aviation were 24 runs for the loss of 4 wickets. The game was at a balance at this stage. Aviation then again took the initiative by scoring 28 more runs before the fifth wicket fell in the sixteenth over. With eight wickets down and Aviation batting one man short, they still had 10 runs to win and with the last wicket pair occupying the crease. But the two batsmen held their cool. It was nail-biting time for the respective team supporters. By the time the dimunitive Mannan hit the winning run, I am sure the spectators' nerves were tested. Pandemonium broke out as the Aviation team and their supporters ran out to the field and carried the two batsmen bodily on their shoulders to the stands.

Aviation will now meet in the Semi Finals with the winner of the Newcomers-Abe Lincoln clash which will be staged on Monday, June 8th, at Baisely Park Cage. In another Quarter Finals game played at Baisely Park South William C. Bryant High School defeated Richmond Hill H.S. The result of the other Round 1 contest, FDR vs Clinton was not known at the time of this writing. This winner will meet John Adams H.S. in the other Quarter Finals. Semi Finals are set for June 10th.

The race to the championship is heating up by the moment, climaxing with the finals on Sunday, June 14th, at Gateway Stadium, Broklyn.

Good luck to all the teams!!

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