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Victorious Richmond Hills Sports Club. Standing L-R: Wazim Asrula, Navin Wilfred, Kenny Balkarran, Vish Persaud, Dharshan Chickery, Imran Wahab, Krishna Chickery, Wesly, Kumar Chickery (RHSC). Rabin Sharma, WISA President, Mr. Mohabir-Umpire, Brian Heeralall, Paul Persaud, Umpire. Stooping, Anil, Gibran Wahab, R. Ramcharran, J. Hemraj, Bridgelall Heralall, A. Shazaman and Dinesh Somwaru.

Richmond Hill – Division I Champions!

By Darshan Chickery
June 3, 2008
Richmond Hill Sports Club beat United Cricket Club by three wickets and five deliveries to spare in the West Indian Softball Association (WISA) Division I final, last Sunday at Charles Drew Park.

Typically, the results of a sample of games (usually more than five) will give you an indication of what the outcome of future game(s) will be, providing that the variables remain the same. Last Sunday United ignored that fact, and hedged its bets based on the previous result between itself and Richmond Hill and paid the ultimate price. They lost!

The last time these two teams played, United comfortably beat Richmond Hill. It happened to be the only encounter between the teams ever. That game was well documented, in the local media: Cricket International, newyorkcricket.com and wisany.org.

On that day, United won the toss and decided to bat first when they realized that Richmond Hill had only eight players to start the game. A combination of good cricket and strict implementation of cricket laws won them the game. This time around, the scenario was similar but this game was taken by Richmond Hill.

On a very beautiful day for cricket, Sen. Clinton was doing battle with Sen. Obama in Puerto Rico, cable news channels were pre-occupied with Sen. Edward Kennedy’s scheduled Monday morning surgery and Charles Drew Park was busy with baseball before cricket actually started. Oh, and Dynasty was in a do-over with Wild Bunch for a slot opposite Warriors in the Premier Elite division final. United! They were beaming with confidence.

United won the toss and after a very lengthy deliberation, decided to bat first. Could that decision had anything to do with Richmond Hill notifying them that their eleventh player was not at the park? Did they had too many (15 to 17) players to choose from? That information was not available for this story so, I will conclude, that they decided to bat first to take advantage of Richmond Hill’s missing eleventh man. That individual happened to be, ‘Wesley’ the mystery man.

Amar Singh and S. Deodat opened United’s batting. Amar scored freely. Deodat did not look very comfortable and was out, caught off the bolwing of Brian Heeralall for no score in the fourth over.

Anand Singh joined Amar and the two took on the Richmond Hill’s bowling. Anand was very aggressive against every bowler he faced and the score indicated just that. At the end of the eight over, United was 68 for one. They were pace to duplicate or get very close to their 304 they scored against Young Guns three weeks ago in their group of quarterfinals.

In the games ninth over, Richmond Hill introduced their most successful bowler to date this year, Bridgelall Heralall (Max). That move looked like it was not going to work because Anand sandwiched a double between a four and a six from Max’s first three deliveries. Not content with twelve off the first three deliveries, Anand tried to pull Max (probably intending to stop traffic on the Van Wyck Service Rd) and was caught for 44 in the process. United was 80 for two at the end of the ninth over and on pace to score over 220 runs.

A. Mangar joined Amar Singh and they took the score to 99 for two at the break (13 over). Even though Richmond Hill did not get as many wickets as they would have liked, they were satisfied with containing United’s batting somewhat.

Singh and Mangar scored fourteen runs off the first over after the break. Richmond Hill was in trouble and in desperate need for a wicket. A wicket they will not see for another three overs. Mangar was run out for 20 in the 17th over but United was cruising at 131 for three.

With Amar Singh still at the wicket and having seven wickets in and, United was poised to step up the tempo and post a huge total. They tried to do just that but lost the wicket of Amar for a well-played 57 to Brian Heeralall’s last ball of his fifth over. Richmond Hill was ‘pumped’ and it showed, as they would bowl out United for 159 in 24.3 overs.

Krishna Chickery was Richmond Hill chief wicket taker with outstanding figures of four wickets for nine runs off 3.3 overs. Brian Heeralall supported him with 2 for 30. A. Shazaman and Bridgelall Heralall took one wicket apiece.

Set a target of 160, Richmond Hill had their work cut out for them. They were one wicket down without taking the crease. ‘Wesley’ the mystery man who showed up literally one minute after the United’s inning officially completed was not allowed to bat. Richmond Hill’s most successful batsman in the playoffs was not going to help Richmond Hill on this day.

If Richmond Hill was going to win this game, they had to get a great start and battle the huge crowd of supporters United had assembled in picnic style. The crowd had a feel of a fun day atmosphere. Men, Women and Children of all ages were there to support United. Richmond Hill was thankful for their friends and a few foes that came to see them lose but supported them anyway.

Richmond Hill’s captain, Kumar Chickery and Ahmad Shazaman (Zaman) opened the batting and took the score to 21 before Zaman was caught at deep mid-wicket off the bowling of Troy Singh for 7. Imran Wahab joined Kumar and the two batted cautiously before Kumar caught off the bowling of Anand Singh for 10.

Imran and Bridgelall Heralall (Max) added 21 for the third wicket in two overs. Imran was severe on Tulsie Singh’s second over. He made 16 of 17 runs scored in that over. The Richmond Hill’s ‘camp’ was excited. Max looked solid, but he did not get the opportunity to bat more than two overs, as he was run out in a terrible mix-up between him and Imran.

Krishna Chickery and Imran batted sensibly until Imran was caught off the last ball before the break. It was an ill-advised pull shot given Richmond Hill’s need to conserve its wickets. He was gone for a well-played 25.

After the break, Richmond Hill’s fortune did not look good, as they would lose their fifth wicket in the sixteenth over and was in dire need of a miracle. They were 89 for 5 when J. Hemraj joined Krishna and that pair batted with the plan Richmond Hill needed. They played almost every ball on its merit until the end of the eighteenth over. The score was 99 for five.

Needing 60 off the last seven overs, Krishna took on United’s bowling attack almost single handedly. With the support of Hemraj at the other end they took to score to 132 before Hemraj was bowled by Anand Singh for a defiant 13. Richmond could now see the light at the end of the tunnel.

At the end of the 23rd over Richmond Hill needed 14 runs to win - not a, ‘cake walk’ by any means. The plan between Krishna and Dinesh Somwaru was simple – get singles and hope that Krishna get a bad ball or two. It worked out just fine. They took 13 runs off Anand’s over and this one was over.

Krishna Chickery was unbeaten on 60 in Richmond Hill’s reply of 163 for 7. His chanceless knock contained 5 fours and 2 sixes. With his splendid figures of 4 for 9, he was unofficially the man of the match.

Following the game, WISA President, Rabin Sharma and Committee member Raj Mathura were on hand to present trophies and medals to the teams and umpires. Mr. Mathura commended the teams for a hard fought cleanly played game. Mr. Sharma presented the winning trophy and in the process made note that the game was incident free. Thanks to the umpires: Paul Persaud and Mr. Mohabir who were in control at all times.

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