By Dyon Ravello
After a opening days defeat to South East. New York rebounded to win there final two games emphatically to take the East Conference Title and advance to the Finals of the USACA regional championships to be held in Texas, a prelude to USA’s journey to UAE where they will battle for a chance to play at the 20/20 world cup in the Caribbean in 2010.
Speaking with Linden Fraser the coach of the triumphant Big Apple selection, who outlined the journey to the top. The New Yorker left for Maryland at 6 am on Friday 17th July morning, arriving at 11:00 am, due to financial constraints within US cricket, overnight accommodation was not available on Thursday. Fraser states, “Our late arrival is not to blame of our dismal performance against the southerners but it did indeed have an overt effect.” after the 11: 00 am arrival New York won the toss and batted first thirty minutes later. The decision to bat was taken considering the physical and mental state of the players who had just completed a 5 hour trek down the I-95, who thought it would be worse to field first.
New York stumbled along to 119 all out after 31 over, with US and New York Captain, Steve Massiah with the only significant contribution 26. US seamer Tim Allen did most of the damage for south east. “The shot selection was poor when we batted and questionable decisions by the umpire, complemented our tardiness,” stated Fraser on New York’s poultry total. Lennox Cush and Kevin Darlington were both given leg before with bat on ball. and all-rounder Dennison Thomas was bowled and caught off a ball the hit the carpet before Allen held the catch.
In the field New York could not change there direction, even as Darlington ran through the South East top order, to leave the score at 33 for 5. Sloppy fielding and drop catches were no aided to the already dire position. Former American youth player, Andre Kirton effected a run out, with a direct hit leaving Tummala out of his crease. Fraser noted, “Kirton was excellence in the field he is one of the best all-rounder in the New York region, he is a complete cricketer, a batsman who can bat in any situation, outstanding fieldsman, and a very deceptive left arm orthodox bowler.” Nevertheless South East were able to rub the salt deep in the wounds as they took first day honors, defeating the perennial giants.
Day two rendered new hope for the defending champs as they meet the youthful Director’s XI. However it was not all smooth sailing as Azurudeen Mohammed, lead his team scoring the first century of the tournament, a deserved 112 taking advantage of placid conditions. The Director’s XI scored 242 all out with New York again sloppy in the field with a few drop catches. Barrington Bartley was superb with the ball picking up 2 for 23 off his 10, Kevin Darlington was again in the hunt wit three scalps, and Karan Ganesh snared two.
New York’s strategy was to post the win within 32 overs to boost their run rate in quest for standing at the pinnacle on Sunday, but could only achieve victory after 40 over. Hall lead the way with an exquisitely constructed unbeaten ton, 123 he was well supported by the captain Massiah 88, New York winning comprehensively by 9 wickets. Linden Fraser, made special mention about Keon Lake, who he thought contribute to New York’s delay in achieving its first victory of 2009, with an outstanding second spell to slow the run flow. “Lake is an outstanding fieldsman, and very knowledgeable bowler, as well as his knowledge of the game is more suitable for someone more senior. He has to maintain focus, by sticking to the basics and push for the next level,” commended Fraser.
After restoring some normalcy New York took the Saturday evening off, by not holding any team meeting. However both manager, Linden Dodson and Fraser, deliberated in the calculating the run rate to estimate the margin need for victory against the undefeated Atlantic Region, in an effort to grasp the top spot. Atlantic region were set a target of 150 by the big apple strategist. On Sunday morning prior to the final showdown against archrivals, manager Dodson, led the team with and inspiring speech, with include several motivational quotes. Understanding the task at hand, set by the Fraser, L. Dodson and skipper Massiah, the New York were now pumped to show why New York is the best cricket location in the East.
Atlantic won the toss and batted, only to have Darlington, breathe fire, scalping three to tally 10 in the tournament. In the field Glen Hall and Bartley both effected runouts. As George Adams and Bartley had 2 wickets each, restricting the second day leaders to 88 allout, well within the range which was planned by the strategist.
Glen Hall was again rearing to go with the bat as he took 13 of the first over for US seamer Irfan Awan. The umpires contribute to both events on th final day, with Hall playing on off a chest high full toss for clubmate Adrian Gordon. The square leg umpire, signalled no ball, but was over turned by the presiding umpire. The Director’s who eventually lost by two wickets were penalised for the use of profanity by their wicketkeeper, costing them 5 run in a keen contest. Massiah rounded of the tournament of grounded as he started, with and unbeaten 38, support by Dennis Evans 22 as New York again won with 9 wickets in hand in 9.3overs.
Fraser give praise to, “Bedesse Sporting Goods for sponsoring the team uniforms, Jeffery Marshall, the New York Cricket Region President and his league presidents for the financial support giving for the team travels and board, kudos to Linden Dodson the manager for his valuable articulation also.” Fraser hinted at players who he thinks may contribute to USA’s fortunes in UAE in the fall, Massiah, the national captain, Hall, Darlington, Bartley, Akeem Dodson, who can contribute as a wicketkeeper batsman or even just with the bat only, Rashard Marshall. Mention was made of Carl Wright but that is provided that he appears in the Finals.
Gregory Sewdial and Azurudeen Mohammed were also in mind, as they are both currently US youth players who have shown the tenacity to succeed at the next level. Fraser cited, “Sewdial should reassess he game and should push for ton a high profile tournaments as the ICC Under 19 Americas qualifiers recently completed and the Regional Conferences.”
Congratulations on the triumphant New York senior team. All New York cricket enthusiasts, officials, players and fans wish you best of luck in Texas later this year. However from a development prospective, a program can be implemented for this group to grow, by playing with each other on a regular basis. We can utilize the Indoor nets available, to accommodate the working team members as well as the outdoor facilities. This group should included the Currently selection of, Massiah, Evans, Hall, Lennox Cush, Rashard Marshal, Akeem Dodson, Dennison Thomas, Karan Ganesh, Bartley, Adams, Darlington, Kirton, Carl Wright. Another 6-8 players can contribute to maintaining a high level of competitiveness in the team; with names like, Azurudeen Mohammed, Gregory Sewdial, Dominic Audain, Adrian Gordon, Kumar Nandalal, Damien Lewis, Keon Lake, and Fahad Mughal to choose from.