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Harry Sundar Memorial Game

By Sam Sooppersaud

Oct. 9th, 2008
A small, but appreciable and thoroughly entertained crowd was on hand to watch the 16th playing of the Harry Sundar Memorial Trophy Cricket Match at Baisley Park, Queens, New York, on Saturday, October 4, 2008. The annual event is put together by the Sundar family to honor the memory of the family patriarch, Harry Sundar.

In the past, numerous big-name players have taken part in this event; former West Indies Test batsman Alvin Kallicharran, being the most well-known from the Sundar's family hometown of Port Mourant in Guyana. Others who have graced this event are fellow former Test player Sew Shivnarain along with Derek Kallicharran, Zamin Amin, Debo Sankar, and other excellent cricketers too numerous to mention here.

Previous matches were staged at the Whitestone-Ferry Park field in the Bronx; however principal organizer Ray Sundar and the rest of the Sundar family decided to make a few changes. A new venue, Baisley Park was acquired to play the game on account of its accessible location. The family also elected to showcase the upcoming and very talented young cricketers of tomorrow, from the New York and Connecticut metropolitan areas.

The day's cricket featured a New York Under-17 squad taking on an Under-17 team from Connecticut in the first of the double-header Twenty/20 matches. The second contest saw a Public School Athletic League (PSAL) All-Stars XI battling it out with a select New York All-Star Youth squad. This second game featured many players who represented the NY Region in winning the Under-19 championship recently in Florida: Akeem Dodson, Andre Kirton, Gregory Sewdial, Rasheem James, Azurdeen Mohamed, and more. It was a rare occasion to have the opportunity to witness the stars of tomorrow in action.

The New York Cricket Coaching School (CCS) is a cricket program run by Glynn Hurley, Joe Siewharack and a few others who work untiringly with the kids to further the growth and development of cricket. A pilot program was begun this summer initiated by the Public School Athletic League (PSAL) and the NY C.C.S. It featured 15 New York City high schools from the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens, in a Twenty/20 tournament. This competition commenced in April and had its final game on June 1st. It was a satisfactory and successful inaugural season for the administrators, the youngsters and cricket fans alike. Accolades must go out to Messrs. Hurley and Siewharack, along with PSAL Cricket Commissioner Bassett Thompson, his Assistant Commissioner Ricky Kissoon, Executive Director Donald Douglas, and Assistant Administrator Lorna Austin, and many others whose vision and hard work were brought to fruition.

Now back to the cricket at Baisley Park. A well-known DJ was on hand to rock the crowd with his latest chutney, hip hop, reggae, and spicy mix. Everyone had a grand time watching cricket, and at the same time gyrating to the sounds of some tantalizing music. This mini-carnival atmosphere was non-stop throughout the day.

As if all that was not enough, during the halfway break of the second game spectators were treated to a live dance performance by the upcoming chutney and modern dancer Alicia. I won't describe the performance, let me just say that she wooed the admirers dancing to the beat of Joe, Joe, Nah..... and other favorites. To top this all off, a Tassa group took over from where Alicia left off, entertaining the crowd with the beat of Chutney, Nagara, Tan, and other foot-shuffling sounds. Two young ladies couldn't resist the temptation to shake their hips. They joined in with their gyrating movements to the beat of the tassa skins.

The legends of Port Maurant sponsored the Under-17 game, the rest of the day's activities were sponsored by the Sundar family. With the cricket and the rare chance to watch so many stars of tomorrow in one game, the live dance performance by Alicia, the tassa music, the food and drinks, the opportunity to meet old friends and make new ones; everyone couldn’t help but have a great time!

I know that the very modest Ray Sundar feels uncomfortable being singled out for praise. However, he should be praised for his efforts in keeping the name and memory of Harry Sundar alive. Ray does what he does because of the joy he derives from so doing. Ray, forgive me for doing this, but I must say that you deserve all the accolades for staging such an entertaining day for us. Here’s wishing you and your other family members, the very best of everything.

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