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Carl Wright during his knock of 48.
New York Premier League
New York Premier League Launched

By Sam Sooppersaud

Aug. 3rd, 2009
The New York Premier League...Wait a minute! Did we see correctly? New York Premier League...Yes, folks! You read it correctly! The NY Premier League has been launched in the Big Apple. Be prepared to see some exciting cricket in the weeks ahead.

We heard of plans to create the English Premier League, the idea of an Australian Premier League was kicked around, even a venture in South Africa. None of these materialized. However, talks and planning for the NY Premier League came into fruition and the first Twenty/20 game in the new league was played at the newest cricket ground located at 80th Street and Seaview Avenue in Brooklyn, on Saturday, July 25th, 2009.

Cricket lovers have experienced the excitement and pulsating brand of cricket of the Indian Premier League (IPL), and it is the hope and expectation of the organizers that the new NYPL will provide the same excitement as the IPL, and that which was lacking in cricket around the New York metropolitan area; in fact around the country. For a long time now the administrators of the game in these parts have tried "different things" to have the game "catch on." We've had numerous sponsors and have played different forms of the game, yet it seemed that only the immigrant community was attracted to the games. The Native Americans still have not been interested enough to come to local cricket matches.

If my memory serves me right, for the first time in 1978 the "Shell Shield' was played among the league’s in the metropolitan area with representative teams from the islands playing in the Shell Shield tournament in the West Indies, including Guyana. This was a two-day, two-inning affair. Then came the Red Stripe games, sponsored of course by Red Stripe beer. This was a 50-over format. After a few years the Red Stripe tournament gave way to the Ed Ahmad New York Caribbean Cup, sponsored by businessman Ed Ahmad. This competition was the Twenty/20 format, and included representative teams from Pakistan, India, Guyana, Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, and the Windward and Leeward Islands.

The Ed Ahmad Cup seemed to have revived the cricketing public, with the number of spectators turning out to watch the games increasing considerably. At times, depending on who’s playing, up to a thousand or more spectators turned out at the cricket park. More youngsters were playing the game. There was more "cricket talk' at meeting places. Even the standard of play seemed to have been elevated. The atmosphere at the parks was more festive. Spectators would come in groups bringing with them their own “brown bags" and coolers filled with their favorite beverages. Yes, the Ed Ahmad Cup brought out the cricket lovers by the hundreds, luring them to the park to see quality cricket played by the area’s premier players.

Now that the Ed Ahmad Cup has gone into oblivion, the NY Premier league has been born. It is hoped that with franchises showcasing high-powered players, the spectators and interest in the game will improve. I know the six franchises have taken great pains to sign up, not only some of the exciting players around, but players from the various islands in the Caribbean. Among the various stables are present and former national players, former Test players, and current and past USA players. I invite you to come out and watch a few games in the NYPL. You would not be disappointed.

As mentioned before, the first game of the NYPL was played on Saturday, July 25th. United Chargers took on the NY Titans. The Chargers showcased former Jamaica national players Carl Wright and Glen Hall, current Jamaica national player Keith Hibbert, current USA captain Steve Massiah, former WI pacer Reon King, former USA captain Richard Staples, and many local stars. The Titans stars included former Guyana opening batsman Andrew Gonzales, the hard-hitting and exciting batsman Marlon Kallicharan, Guyana and former West Indies all-rounder Narsingh Deonarine, present USA player Dennis Evans, former USA captain Zamin Amin, and a host of other stars.

Because of the inclement weather the game was reduced to a 15-over affair. Although it was a low-scoring game, it did provide the small crowd with moments of excitement. The Titans batted first, and were, I must admit, less than Titanic. They scored 98 runs off their 15 overs. At one stage it appeared that The Titans was in for a big score as Kallicharan and Gonzales pummeled the Chargers' bowlers in reaching 46 without loss. But with the loss of Gonzales, Titans succumbed to some tight bowling from the opponents. They finally ended their inning at 98 for 6.

United Chargers started their inning like a "house on fire." Openers Wright (47) and Hall (38) sprayed 6's and 4's all over the cricket field. By the time20Wright was out in the eight over the Chargers were 72 runs, needing only 27 to win in the remaining seven overs. They eventually knocked off the Titans' total in the eleventh over.

The next series of games will be played on Saturday, August 8th. Log on to Libertycricket.com or newyorkcricket.com for further information. I encourage all cricket lovers to come out and be a part of the excitement. The players have promised to put on quite a show for the spectators.

(I invite readers' comments to this article. You may also send me your comments at Ssamrajs@verizon.net)

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