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Lions Sends Villagers Packing Out Of MCL Challenge Cup

Sept. 13th, 2008
A brilliant innings from Lions’ captain David Hart secured a coveted spot for his team in the final of the Metropolitan Cricket League’s Challenge Cup final as they inflicted a crushing defeat of Villagers last Sunday’s semi-final played at Gateway Park.

It was a dogged effort by Hart after Villagers had posted 201 in their allotment of 35 overs, due largely to a fighting 78 runs from former Jamaica national opener Ordelmo Peters. With his Lions team on 145 for 7 after struggling mightily at the top of their batting order and seemingly facing imminent defeat, Lions were able to turn the tables on their highly fancied opponents. Villagers succeeded in snatching defeat from the jaws of victory as the seemingly condescending smiles of victory that were evident on the field soon turned to disbelief as Hart and promising young player, Willy Charles, put on a match-winning 56-run partnership to stun Villagers. Charles proved to be a more than worthy partner for his captain as he provided desperate support in what had appeared to have been a dire, if not futile, run-chase orchestrated by the Lions captain. In the end, the pair provided an improbable outcome, stunning the opposition and turning the Challenge Cup final on its head.

In perhaps a cruel twist of poetic justice, Lions raised their hands in victory at the same venue where only a few weeks earlier Villagers had been given the benefit of the doubt after concocting what was described by one spectator as “a hollow rain-dance win” to eke into the Challenge Cup playoffs ahead of eventual MCL champions and undefeated Challenge Cup aspirants Cosmos, whose rain affected match on the same weekend resulted in no points being awarded and left Cosmos on the outside looking in. While the ensuing controversy clouded the playoff match-ups and threatened to darken the image of the MCL, the otherwise fun-filled and colorful Challenge Cup was cast into a lightening rod for criticism of injustice and administrative inaction.

Despite the highly controversial maneuverings to advance to the playoffs, the outcome for Villagers may have been attributable to their underestimating the resolve of a very determined Lions team, thereby failing to capitalize versus the up-and-comers as both teams sought to gain a berth in the championship game. Lions, which finished in ninth place in the MCL Round Robin regular season competition, and had been on the rise all season may have not picked a better time to come good sending the Villagers packing empty boxes in August for an early Christmas. The rain on the assured Villager parade was perhaps symbolic as not only will Santa not show up in the village this season but neither will Jamexpol – certainly not this time – the team that had been deemed to have conceded the crucial claimed points needed to advance to the playoffs.

Lions’ perseverance and consistent fair play seemed to have been justly rewarded as they earned a chance to play for their first Challenge Cup championship. The brave heart Lions will fight their battle in the final, whatever the outcome, as their players and fans reveled in their well-deserved three wicket victory.

The Lions roar into this week’s final to take on defending champions Westbury.

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