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Montgomery College Add Flavor To Ramano Memorial Game

By Lloyd Jodah

June 30th, 2009
It wasn't only the Transformers invading New York this pass weekend, American College Champions Montgomery College also came from Maryland, to battle New York's best young cricketers as part of the 2nd Annual Romano Memorial Cricket Event. The second game event was organized by friends of Ramano Rafeek Sahid to honor the young cricketer who died in a car accident in Dec. 2007.

Montgomery College's Adil Bhatti drives for 6.

The first game pitted two teams of mostly under 19 players from the New York and Connecticut Regions against each other. Lakey's XI batted first and could only muster 81 runs. Andre "Rusty" Kirton took 3 wickets for 12 runs off 3.1 overs, whilst Akeem Baksh had 2 for 15 off 3 overs. Rusty's XI was propelled to an easy victory in 13.2 overs by All American Greg Sewdial 23 not out and Frances Mendonca 27 not out

In the second game, Manager Lester Hooper put together a star-studded New York Region Under 23 team to take on the American College Champions Montgomery College. Commissioner of the NYC (PSAL) High School Cricket League Bassett Thompson was on hand, as did former Guyana star Deryck Kallicharran. American College Cricket President Lloyd Jodah was also present. Megan Fox was busy elsewhere but some lovely young women were in attendance.

Though without two of their top batsmen, and not having played together since winning the Chanderpaul Trophy, Montgomery College drove five hours, then began batting within an hour of arriving. Aamir Choudhury looked good, hitting a 6 and a 4 in his 30. The six being a drive off the backfoot. But the fiery fast bowler Casper Davis together with Clarke kept the College to 47 for 4.

Captain Adil Bhatti (60) got off the mark with a delightful flick, and together with Wal Syed (24) put on 84 runs in 9 overs. Bhatti, in Shahid Affridi mode, was imperious, striking the ball to all parts of the field. As is usually the case with American cricket, the outfield was rough and slow, so it was hard to get to the boundary along the ground, so Bhatti took 6 sixes off the New York attack. He hooked over square-leg, drove over midwicket, long-on, long-off and the bowler, in a smorgasbord of shots all around the wicket. Like a Transformer, Bhatt laid into the New York bowling. Bhatti wants to play for the USA in the next T20 World Cup, and if he keeps displaying the form he has been this year well....who knows? He had also batted well in the American College Cricket Spring Break Championship.

Wali Syed had a 4 and a 6 in his 24 before he and Bhatti were caught off Davis. The rest of the batting surrendered like the French Army and Montgomery ended with 147 off their 20 overs. Caspar Davis, who had taken 5 wickets in the only game he played in the recent National Under 19 Tournament, today had 3 for 20 off 4 overs. Rusty Kirton bowled well, taking 3 for 16 off 4 overs. Keon Lake felt the brunt of Bhatti's assault, getting 1 wicket for 29 runs off 4 overs. The College Champions impressed with their running between the wickets.

Bhatti and Choudhury were the most effective Montgomery bowlers against the New York batsmen and the match remained nail-bitingly as the game came to the penultimate over. Nearly all the New York batsmen got into double figures with Francis Mendonca topscoring with 32 (two 6's, one 4).

When rain threatened in the 16th over, it seemed the College Champions would win on run rate but the rain stopped. Then Smith was run out in a mixup and it looked bad for New York in the 18th over. The Montgomery guys made some great catches but in the final over dropped two key catches, including an easy one to let New York off the hook. In the 19th over, Clarke sealed it for the New York Region Under 23 Team with a six over the bowler's head, ending on 148 for 7 off 18.4 overs.
Afterward Lester Hooper was full of praise for the visiting Montgomery College, saying "the College Champions were good, and the game was extremely close. I'd like them to come back to play again in New York soon."

In a touching ceremony the parents and family of the late Ramano thanked the young cricketers for organizing and participating in this tribute to their son, who would have turned 21 on June 20th.

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