New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly have a bat on opening day. (Photos Courtesy of NYPD)

By John L. Aaron
The New York Police Department last Saturday launched its third season of its NYPD United Cricket Youth League.  Flushing’s Kissena Park in Queens, New York was the scene of many colorful uniformed teams and several of New York’s bravest in blue, as New York City Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly launched the program which he cherishes and keeps close tabs on, through his Community Affairs Bureau headed by Chief Douglas Zeigler.

The cricket program has gained worldwide recognition, with Commissioner Kelly featured on a recently released International Cricket Council’s (ICC) documentary titled “Cricket in America.”  The

documentary distributed throughout the 104-member countries by the world governing cricket organization and on the organization’s web site www.icc-cricket.com highlights the NYPD’s community outreach program  aimed at creating an atmosphere of mutual trust. In the documentary Commissioner Kelly talks about his department’s outreach effort and his new found admiration for the sport.

This year’s NYPD cricket league features ten teams of players between the ages of 15 and 19 years old, and although the same number of teams as last year, there has been a 40 percent influx of new players due to the maximum age restriction of the league. The NYPD cricket league with some 200 players, is managed by a core group of some twelve community affairs police officers headed by Deputy Inspector Amin Kosseim and includes some very dedicated officers. Funded by the Police Foundation, the co-ed program spares no pains in outfitting the young men and a few young women with colored uniforms, protective gear, and other playing equipment, as well as ample refreshments.

A physically fit Police Commissioner Kelly usually dressed very dapper in a suit, was sporting casual attire, while interacting with the cricket players while taking some time out to answer questions from the press. He later displayed some of his strokeplay with the cricket bat, before retreating to play catch football with some of his officers, and showing off some fine athleticism and form.

A bowler send down one on opening day.

Sunday’s season opener saw all ten teams participating in two double-headers at the Kissena Park in Queens, NY with a supporting police presence from the neighboring precincts and community affairs personnel. One of the opening matches saw 2009 champions Lycans up against Superstars in a rematch of last season’s final. Superstars would however prevail on this occasion of the round-robin tournament. Results of the rematch were – Superstars 153-9 (20 overs) beat Lycans 135-6 (20 overs). Superstars 17 points, Lycans nine points.

To make the matches even more exciting the NYPD has established a system of awarding bonus points for milestones reached in each match. The system has sparked added interest and keener competition amongst the teams, as they seek to add to their bonus tally by the milestones.

The program continues to grow, as much as the trophy sizes. Last year the championship trophy measured 48 inches in height, this year it towers at 56 inches. The program is a collaborative effort between the NYPD and the cricketing community. As the involvement of the players and other local cricket enthusiasts are sought in designing the format, rules and other playing conditions, so that it’s a total team effort.

Cricket in the NYPD ranks has now attracted an NYPD team of its own, as several officers who have previously played the sport have formed a city-wide NYPD Cricket Team and are seeking friendly matches against “Friendly teams,” according to an informed source. One such match is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, July 18 at Kissena Park in Flushing, NY. The NYPD XI will come up against an Australian Community XI. The match is being sponsored by the Eight Mile Creek and The Australian restaurants, both located in New York City.

Players pose for a camera shot.

For more information on the NYPD cricket team e-mail NYPDcricketclub@gmail.com

Results of the NYPD United Cricket Youth program’s opening day matches can be found at http://twitter.com/nypdunited

Bonus points – Batting: 20, 40, 60, 80, 100, 120 runs. At each marker, one point for each amount reached for a possible total of five points.
Bowling: 3, 5, 7, 9, all out and a total of five (5) possible points.

The top six teams will make playoffs. The 1 and 2 seeds draw first round byes, while 3 vs. 6 and 4 vs. 5.

The full schedule can be seen at: http://nypdunitedcricket.blogspot.com/2009/06/2010-cricket-schedule-results.html