By John L. Aaron
As the 2010 cricket season in New York winds down, the fever among the Guyanese cricketing community heats up, with the USA’s Guyana Inter-County Twenty20 Championship tomorrow Saturday, September 25 at Idlewild Park in Queens, New York.

The toss ceremony from 2008 game between Demerara and Essequibo. Photos by Shiek Mohamed.

The annual rivalry between USA resident players hailing from the three counties of the South American nation of Guyana is a heated one. Guyana has produced some of the finest and most legendary Test cricketers ever to grace the middle of a cricket pitch anywhere in the world, thus the debate has always been a heated one with regard to which County in Guyana has produced, and continues to produce the finest cricketers, even if the debate is amongst only the weekend combatants in New York.

The counties of Berbice, Demerara and Essequibo are separated by large swaths of land and wide rivers, some embracing large islands, but bonded by the common sporting culture of cricket. In the New York metropolitan area, hundreds of players from Guyana form the nucleus’ of several teams in the New York Cricket Region, thus there is a diverse group of talented players from which to select representative teams each year, more so, when that pool is supplemented by new immigrant arrivals, almost every month.

Veteran Zamin Amin will lead Berbice.

The tournament is by no means a simple undertaking, as it involves the coordinated efforts of several individuals, ground logistics, and of course financial sponsorship and incentives. A lack of sponsorship and the harsh realities of the economy prevented the tournament from being staged last year, however a some sponsors have emerged this year to sponsor the three teams – Demerara by James Manbahal of Bahal Custom Homes, Inc., Berbice by Motie Phanisnaraine of Golden Arrow Restaurant and Sports Bar and Essequibo by Windies Restaurant, Newyorkcricket.com and Benjie’s Cut-Master Barber Shop. In addition, Insaf “Birdman” Ali of 2A’s Mechanical, Inc. will underwrite a significant portion of the tournament. The monetary awards package is expected to be in the neighborhood of $2,500.

Defending 2008 champions Demerara will be accorded a bye as the action gets underway at 10:00 AM tomorrow at Idlewild Park located at 223rd Street and 147th Avenue in Rosedale, Queens. The facility has recently been upgraded as a dedicated cricket ground by the Borough of Queens and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, with funding provided through the Queens Borough President Helen Marshall’s office. Ms. Marshall is of Guyanese heritage and has responded positively to the call from the cricketing community for an improved facility at Idlewild. The refurbished facility now boasts an upgraded pitch, several sturdy bleachers, walkways, bathroom facilities and newly planted trees, which within the next few years will provide much-welcomed shading on any hot summer’s day of cricket in the Big Apple.

The experience Shameer Sadloo could lead the Demerara squad.

Tomorrow’s match schedule will see Berbice taking on Essequibo in the first match at 10:00 AM, with the winner of that contest facing the 2008 defending champions Demerara. The championship match is expected to be staged around 2:00 PM at the same venue tomorrow.

Live commentary will be provided by the dynamic commentary team of Lenny Achibar and Carl Bennett, while the umpiring duties will be handled by veterans Steve Kalloo and Jack Persaud. The organizers are encouraging families to pack their baskets with goodies and come out in support of the tournament and the players.

SQUADS ANNOUNCED

Berbice
The Berbice XI is expected to be drawn from Zamin Amin (Captain), Karan Ganesh, Colin Duke, Marlon Kallicharran, Derrick Kallicharran, Kevin Darlington, Andrew Gonsalves, Michael Felix, Tavendra Pooran, Avinash Hansraj, Vishal Nagamoottoo, Sharaz Baksh and Trevis Ross, with Sew Shivnarain (Coach) and Motie Phanisnaraine as Manager.

The Cinderella County Essequibo will be led by Tamesh Balwant.

Demerara
Demerara, will be represented by Shameer Sadloo, Akeem Dodson, Andre Kirton, Ramphall Bactowar, Qayaam Farrouq, Ryan Gulvari, Syed Mohamed, Imran Ally, Dianan Roopnarine, Dean Romeno, Hugh Craig, Kavishwar Bridgepaul and Asif Ally, with James Manbahal as Manager

Essequibo
The dark-horse County of Essequibo will be represented by Tamesh Balwant (Captain), Telston Johnson, Clain Williams, Shiv Raghubar, Azzurdeen Mohammed, Deonauth Baksh, Mark Gomes, Travis Rodney, Ejaz Asgarally, Rafman Khan, Zaheed Majeed, Ritchie Guyadeen and Theron Rodney, with Derick Raghubar as Manager and Muntaz Mohamed as Coach.