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The Harry Sunder Memorial Cricket Match

By Ray Sundar

Sept. 30th, 2008

The Sunder family started the tournament in 1993 to pay homage to the patriarch of the family, Harry Sunder.

Port Mourant born (date of birth), he passed 8 subjects at one sitting at England’s Cambridge University with all grades being credit. He was employed by Bookers Sugar Estate at Port Mourant and Albion. He died in New York on (date).
Initially the thought process was to have an Albion Vs Port Mourant match. However, some extraneous, asinine rumblings forced us to abort this idea.

Next we locked in on a Berbice Vs Demerara clash. At the time it did not look too appealing to me.

Why not a Guyana Vs Rest of the World? Mmmmmm… that’s a splendid idea! After careful consideration we felt Guyana would be overwhelmed.

Guyana Vs Rest of the Caribbean seemed the logical progression. New York
here we come! This was not my first foray in organized cricket. A few years earlier I played a pivotal and integral role in starting The Indo-Caribbean Federation match. Detailed discussions ensued, trying to come up with a winning formula that would withstand the test of time. At the same time we needed a marquee name to help promote this first match.

Prakash Tilakdharry suggested we explore the possibility of Alvin Kallicharran playing. I called him in England. He agreed to play, contingent upon us providing a return ticket to London and his availability. He did not charge an appearance fee. Actually he seemed offended when I asked him how much he would charge.

1st Match
It was held on August 14, 1993 at Whitestone/Ferry Point Park, in the Bronx. Batting first Rest of the Caribbean made 184. The charismatic and talented Garfield Wildman scored the first half-century – 57 and Dixieth Palmer 36. Nizam Hafeez (God rest his soul) was the pick of the bowlers, taking 4/25. Zamin Amin and Alvin took 2 wickets each.
In response Guyana scored 185/6, with Alvin contributing 47. Ashmool Ali scored 38, Sam Duke 29 and Zamin Amin 23 not out
Alvin was adjudged MVP
Alvin came, he played, he conquered. About 5000 attended. He did not disappoint.
Four former West Indies test players – Alvin, Seu Shivnarine, Everton Matthis and Inshan Ali played.

I guess we were off and running…and still running 16 years later.

Over the years several other West Indian test players participated: Dinanath Ramnarine, David Williams, Daren Ganga, Reon King, Clayton Lambert, Mahendra Nagamootoo, Leon Garrick and current all world – Shiv Chanderpaul. In addition the presence of senior, former West Indian test players such as Mr. Joe Solomon, Mr. Len Baichan, Mr. Basil Butcher adds nostalgia and a sense of history.

Alas, we must not forget the contribution of the local talent pool - Glen Lorick, Garfield Wildman and Derek Kallicharran became permanent fixtures. Garfield once remarked, “as long as blood flows through my veins I will play in the Sunder match”. Glen Lorick said, “I will do anything and everything to ensure the continued success of this event”. And Derek, as Guyana captain, kept on winning.

Austin Hutchinson, Zamin Amin, Debo Sankar and several others made meaningful contributions.

Sudesh Dhaniram, thrust into the captaincy due to several Guyana regulars being summoned to Atlanta for US trials, had the single most domineering performance. Performing as though he were a one man gang, he made a swashbuckling 76, took 3 wickets, caused a run out and out maneuvering the opposing captain.

Another dominating performance was scripted by affable Tim Persaud. Rest of the Caribbean was on the verge of winning when Tim strode to the crease. Two sixes and four fours later, Guyana snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. Tim made an entertaining 35 not out and took 5 wickets. Rightfully he was adjudged MVP

To date Orlando Baker has the highest individual score. Marlon Kallicharran has a score in the high 70’s. Samaroo has a 5 wicket haul.

About five years or so ago we started incorporating youths in the tournament, giving them a chance to display their talents and rub shoulders with the test players. I remember quite vividly the awestruck look on Brian Ajodi’s, Andre Kirton’s and Gregory Sewdial’s faces as they shook hands and took pictures with Daren and The Shiv. I take great pride in the accomplishments of these talented youngsters. Andre has made it to the U-19 World Cup in Sri Lanka, Greg and Brian are among the best young US cricketers. The highlight of the youth involvement came when they defeated a touring California youth team led by Mr. Hemant Buch.

Obviously many have contributed to the continued success of the tournament. All the players, Chubby Bedessee of Bedessee Sports, Kawal Totaram,Esq., Leslie Lowe, Ricky Singh, Laparkan, Rohit Kanhai of Caribbean Daylight, Vish Lekhram of Cricket International, Herman Singh Showtime, Roshan, Sharmela, Haji Zakir, Aap ki Liye, NYC Cricket Coaching School, Al Abzal, Bisram Bhagan and Daren Ganga and Len Baichan for conducting coaching clinics.

Conversely there were some major and some minor bumps on the road - scheduling conflicts, threatening of players with non- selection by so called powers, employing all court press to lure committed players away. In fact one prominent player was offered quite a bit of money to play in a competing tournament. The player, a true gentleman and a man of principles, declined the offer. Another prominent player, in my presence, received a phone call offering him more money to ignore our match and play in another match. He declined, saying “I am committed to the Sunder Match”.

This year, 2008, we have decided to go with the youths, giving them a chance to display and hone their skills. In a U-19 encounter, a Connecticut 11 opposes a New York 11. The feature presentation pits the PSAL All Stars against a U-21 US based international 11 on Saturday October 4, 2008 at Baisley Pond Park (at the intersection of Sutphin Blvd. and Rockaway Jamaica).

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