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New York Region Are Champs

By Lloyd Jodah

Nov. 15th, 2009
It's impossible not to be enraptured by the lovely weather this time of year in Ft Lauderdale. Temperatures in the 70's with gentle breezes make it easy to understand why cricket was invented. So it was no hardship to head to beautiful Lauderhill Cricket Stadium for a 9.30 am start to the Finals of the USACA National Championship, between the New York Region and the Central East Region.The cricketers had breakfast then jumped into the shuttles for the 10 minute ride to the Stadium.
New York Region captain Steve Massiah collects USACA National Championship trophy from Nabeel Ahmed.
Glen Hall (right) and Dennis Thomas (below) collects their award.
All photos courtesy of Nino Diloreto/Lloyd Jodah

It was a good toss to win, and New York Region chose to bat. Denis Evans and Glen Hall gave them a good start by putting on 52 runs before Hall went for 31 (off 34 balls). Only 2 boundaries were scored in the partnership but the duo kept the score moving with well-placed shots for singles, twos and threes. Then Mansab Butt struck by bowling Hall, a wide later he bowled NY Captain Steve Massiah for a duck. A few runs later Butt had Rashard Marshall lbw for 12 and NY was 67 for 3. Denis Evans and Lenox Cush then put on 32 before Evans went for a patient 28 (made off 63 balls).

But the New York batting had more depth than the Sargasso Sea (Akeem Dodson was set to come at # 9) so Dennis Thomas joined Cush in a 66 run partnership before Cush was run out for 65 (5 fours, 1 six). Karan Ganesh joined Thomas to put on 67 runs at 7.68 runs per over to take NY way past 200 and to a respectable total when Thomas was run out for 72, made in 74 balls (4 fours, 1 six).

Upstairs in the Stadium man Pavillion the USACA CEO Don Lockerbie and Board of Directors began a 5 hour meeting and as interested as they no doubt were in the game, they were focused on their discussions pertaining to the present and future of USA cricket. With the possibility of particpating in 2 World Cups in 2010 (the Under 19 World Cup and the T20 World cup) American cricket was at the proverbial crossroads.

Set 251 to win CE Region struggled to 31 for 3 against the NY Region attack of Kevin Darlington,George Adams and Rashard Marshall. Amit Kumar and Babar Fahad put on 48 runs taking singles and two's before Kumar went caught behind by Dodson off Marshall. Dodson took 2 catches and had a run out. Babar Fahad only scored 1 four in his 42 but he put on 32 runs with Ashar Mehdi before a throw from Evans hit the stumps to run him out. They had kept the scoreboard ticking with a series of steers to third man, but the NY Captain Steve Massiah employed good field placement to keep the batsmen restrained.

Mehdi however launched an attack, a sweep over square for 4, a clip for 2 then anoother sweep for 4 and CE was 124 for 5 off 32 overs.

The Central Broward Park was a huge outdoor party with Reggae music filling the air, as Mehdi cut gorgeously fine for 4. Shuja drove a 6 over midon, then spins and hits a 2 down to backwaard square. Mehdi got his 50 with a quick single to cover and when Cush dropped it short pulled over midwicket and was dropped with the ball going for 4. Next ball he made no such mistake and hit it for 6.

The NY total was now looking attainable as Mehdi was taking it to the NY bowlers, Cush in particular. Mehdui drove him for 4 then pulled for 6 and with Cush looking like "Gucci", pulled high and hard again only to have Hall make a great running, juggling catch.. Mehdi's almost match-winning innings had come to an end, and the CE tailenders could not do the rest, and they were all out for 227. The NY Region are the 2009 USACA Champion Region.

Later that evening there was a Presentation Dinneer, at which USACA First VP Nabeel Ahmed made a very generous gift of $ 5,000 to the winning NY Region Team. He also gave $500 to the Finals MVP Dennis Thomas. In a sport that needs money this was a very welcome initiative.

Nasir Mehmood was MVP of the CE vs Se match, and Glen Hall MVP of the NY vs SW match. Kudos were also given to USACA 2nd VP and Director of Cricket Operations Manaf Mohammed for putting together the Team of Nino Diloreto, Danny Khan and Premdath Mangale which worked with him in managing the Tournament "better than any previous USACA Tournament".

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