NY Mayor's Cup
Cosmos Waltz With Lions
By S. Ali
July 19th, 200
(Celebrating 28th Anniversary) - Last week, fortune favored a determined Cosmos as the light shone on a team pure at heart to help them deliver a gritty effort coupled with some calculated risks against a brave-hearted Lions team last Sunday at Floyd Bennett in the final round of the MCL round robin competition. That victory ultimately tilted the points table once again.
With the points table precariously balanced on a razor’s a week ago, a never-say-die Cosmos took a risky option against a youthful Lions team intent on either gaining full points and a chance in the playoffs or endure a loss that would see them excluded for the first time in a long time. After winning the toss and electing to bat, Lions had an immediate setback as Cosmos’ Donald. Bennett struck in the first over when young Atiq Baksh ran back from square leg to take an excellent well-judged catch to dismiss Kinsley Pryce without scoring. Lions’ batsmen then applied themselves to post a challenging 199 for 9 off their allotted 30 overs with good knocks coming from J. Sewell (43), R. Busigth (40) and D. Hart (29 not out). Next, captain Dixieth Palmer held the fort, taking 3 for 34 in the absence of his key strike bowlers Kevin Darlington, George Adams and Dennis Evans all of whom were on duty with the NY Region team in Washington. Bennett, Clive Samuels and Shadi Khan each took one wicket a piece in substitution.
With Cosmos’ sights fixed on obtaining full points from the match and their proverbial hands in the lion’s mouth, Cosmos patted the beast on its head when they fielded and then moved in for the jugular when Keddy Lesporis and Sham Ali strolled out to open the batting for the defending champions. Captain Palmer took a gamble with this opening pair to at least take the shine off the ball. A gamble?
Well the pair relished the opportunity to entertain, batting for fourteen overs and sharing an opening partnership worth 120 runs before Ali was adjudged leg-before-wicket for a composed 37 runs. The in-form Lesporis would end up with a breezy 69, which not only signaled that the match was all but over, but also that a batting lineup had emerged with endless possibilities. Cosmos batsmen knocked off the required runs in the 26th over with Melroy Kingston getting 14 no and Bennett, now finding his touches, stroking an exquisite half century off just 31 balls to give Cosmos and their captain Palmer an adrenaline boost.
It was undoubtedly one of the best weekends of cricket ever in the MCL. Division Two teams battled in the round-robin semis showdown for a spot in the Finals while the Division One teams were fighting to the end as playoff aspirant Liberty put on a fireworks show of 310 for 2 against Lucas. Westbury as usual made a meal of Villagers to the tune of 348 for 3 on their plate; front-runners Progressive dominated Mid-Island; Spice Island handed a potent dose of spoils to River Valley leaving some lock-jawed; while a brave Cosmos danced along with the Lions.
When the bails were finally drawn at the end of an intriguing day’s play, it signaled the end to a Metropolitan League competition that had more twists and turns than perhaps a tumbling floor gymnast. A regular season competition that began under drenching conditions in early May and concluded under brilliant sunlit skies in late July may never repeat the sort of battle to the finish as was on display in the last eleven matches.
It is anyone's game now that the playoffs has been carded. Lucas would fancy their chances of a championship for the first time in their history while Westbury, Progressive and defending champions Cosmos will have high expectations of settling for nothing less. In a post-game team meeting, Cosmos President Sham Ali stated, “this is another tremendous accomplishment for our club. To have endured some very trying times in the last several weeks, to have three of our premier players out of our lineup on USACA duty and to still be able to pull off a relatively comfortable victory speaks volumes about the heart and character of the championship spirit this organization has embodied throughout our storied past.” The applause that followed from an energized Cosmos team was even louder when manager Shadi Khan stated, “we are Cosmos and we don’t quit, we will become even bigger and stronger in the years ahead.” It was quite a day and another chapter in the legendary club’s decorated history, which positioned Cosmos squarely in the MCL 2009 Round-Robin Semi-Final as they continue to play an entertaining brand of cricket that has become a hallmark of their excellence.
Next Sunday, Cosmos will play either Progressive at Floyd Bennett or Westbury in Long Island pending the results of Lucas vs. Suburbia, scheduled for Saturday, July 25th.
In celebration of the club’s 28th anniversary, Cosmos has dedicated the 2009 season as its inaugural benefit year for a prominent contributor to its illustrious past. This year’s honoree will be team manager Shadi Khan. The inaugural celebration is scheduled for Saturday, Aug.8, 2009 at Floyd Bennett Field. All are invited.
C. Bennett also contributed to this article.
Innings of Lions: 199 for 9 off 30 overs
Bowling for Cosmos:
Innings of Cosmos: 200 for 3 off 26.5 overs
Bowling for Lions:
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