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Under-21 Competition Launched In NYC

By Lloyd Jodah
July 13, 2009

Despite the potential, cricket in America is like the Polar Ice Cap, it is melting. Sons of cricketers are not playing the game. We are not doing the basic - holding our base, how can we begin to grow the game?

Francis Mnndonca flicks for 4. (Below) Keon Lake (All-American 2nd XI), Joe Sewharack and Shaan Mehta (George Washington University)

That is why it is good to see efforts like the new under 21 Cricket starting at Baisley Pond in Queens,NY on Saturdays in July and August. Ricky Kissoon, Joe Sewharack and Ejaz Asgaralli have begun what they hope will blossom into a Under 21 League in the Tri-State area. Starting with 5 Teams, they expect to attract NY, CT and NJ Teams. Their desire to further youth cricket is demonstrated by the fact that no fees are being charged for entry.

It's time to build on the mainstream national media attention the 2009 American College Cricket Spring Break Championship got,with the 2010 Championship promising to be even bigger. The NYC (PSAL) High Schools Cricket League and the NYPD Youth Cricket League are setting the tone for other American cities. But without more initiatives like these, and institutions such as the Dream Cricket Academy, few American-born boys will come to cricket, and there will be no future for it.

As one disappointed cricketer put it, "the ICC Under 19 Americas Qualifer Tournament in Canada was not even Webcast. Couldn't some money be used for this?"
A frustrated fan added, "Every day thousands of sons, who come from generations of cricketers, are picking up other games. Yet resources are being poured into starting women's cricket whilst the men's game is going nowhere."

Certainly if one counted how few boys born in the US are playing the game one would be very depressed. That notwithstanding Saturday was a beautiful day for cricket at Baisley Pond, and the NYC Coaching School Chargers took the field against the West Indian Kings to launch this new effort. Bright sunshine, temperatures in the 70's and a strong breeze prevailed.

NYCC Chargers captained by former teen USA player Andre Kirton, batted first and with the slow outfield, moved along steadily with singles. Francis Mendonca, who had recently topscored for NY against American College Champions Montgomery College shone again today. Mendonca played shots all around the wicket. He showed his recent Caribbean pedigree by playing mainly along the ground, for 1s and 2s, flicked beautifully for 4, ondrove for 4 and pulled over midwicket for 6. Mendonca made 72 (5 fours, 1 six) out of his teams' 132 for 7 in 20 overs.

Needing 6.6 runs per over WI Kings took strike and moved nicely to 21 without loss off 3 overs when Kirton bowled Rampersaud. Clayton Rose and Keon Lake (All-American 2nd XI) then tore through the WI Kings' batting. Rose took 4 wickets for 4 runs in 4 overs, Lake 3 wickets, 23 runs in 4 overs.The left-handed Latchman stood alone while blasting 49 (4 fours, 2 sixes ) lofting over covers out of the ground for his sixes. No one else got to double figures as Rose and Lake seemed like Calculus to the befuddled WI Kings.

At the end of the game the players learned that the Under 19 US squad (or as I like to say Teen USA) qualified for the Under 19 T20 Qualifier in Sept. The new USACA CEO Don Lockerbie had already hit a six by getting the senior US Team to be in the next T20 World Cup Qualifiers, giving cricketers in the US hope.

For info on this new Youth cricket initiative email Ricky Kissoon at nyyouthcricket@aol.com.

Next week Saturday there will be 2 Games at Baisley Pond starting at 12.00 and we should all go watch, with our sons and nephews,even if its only for an hour.

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