PSAL 2010 High School Cricket champion William C. Bryant. (Photos courtesy of PSAL)

By Lloyd Jodah
Disappointment etched on his face, the coach of the runners up barely spoke to anyone, and didn’t seem interested in eating the delicious food…..This was not the T20 World Cup Finals in the West Indies which England won. Nor was it the NBA Finals where Kobe Bryant and the Lakers are leading the Boston Celtics.

It was the Finals of the NYC PSAL (Public Schools Athletic League) Cricket or in simple English, the NY City High Schools Cricket league. Favorites Richmond Hill High School was playing William C Bryant High School, which had come on strong, but was ranked # 7.

It was a beautiful summer’s day, with wind gusts coming off the water, at Gateway or Spring Creek Park, a beautiful cricket ground in a landscaped area just off Jamaica Bay. William C Bryant High school Owls batted first against the pace attack of Kavishwar Bridgepaul and Rocky Kowchai. Kavishwar opened the proceedings with a fast bouncer that unnerved the batsman. Rocky Kowchai at the other end also employed the bouncer. A few edges for runs, then a cut by Bryant’s captain Tasheen Khan off Kavishwar, over point for six.

After seeing the Bridgepaul brothers combine to dismiss his opening partner, Kalishwar taking a running & rolling catch off Kavishwar, Tasheen Khan straight drove Kowchai for 4, then on drove twice to 2 more 4s. After 4 overs William C Bryant HS was 42 for 1.

Kavishwar Bridgepaul collects the MVP award from PSAL officials

Kalishwar Bridgepaul then came in the attack, and first ball bowled Tasheen for 28 and Bryant HS was 50 for 2. A spinner Wasim Shah came on and immediately struck and suddenly Bryant was reeling at 84 for 5. Kavishwar Bridgepaul, who was now wicketkeeping took a catch and effected a stumping. 2 more quick wickets, and Richmond Hill HS Lions was in charge, Bryant 97 fro 7 was now struggling to bat out their 20 overs.

However no one asked Mohammed Siddiqui what he thought, but he proceeded to demonstrate by taking 29 runs off Inzaman Ul Khan, including 3 sixes and 2 fours. Siddiqui smashed 44 runs before going, bowled, Iqbal Javed hit a quick 29 so William Bryant finished on the improbable total of 169 for the loss of 8 wickets. Richmond Hill High School was going to have the tough task of making 170 to win, but they had Kaveshwar Bridgepaul, perhaps the best batsman in the PSAL cricket league.

Remarkable was the absence of any of the local TV stations, apparently TW’s NY 1, NBC Channel 4, CBS Channel 2, Fox 5, ABC Channel 7, Channels 9 and 11 were busy covering the latest Amy Fisher or other silly “news”. No doubt if these kids were doing something negative, or something negative was happening in the neighborhoods these kids come from, these TV stations would be there….but the PSAL cricket Finals they don’t have time for. Why do we watch these channels? Cricket fans should email these TV stations for answers. Was a Press Release sent?

Was Mayor Bloomberg invited ?

The area of Richmond Hill in Queens is an economic powerhouse. Known as “little Guyana”  the area is a marvel of what a working-class community can do to revitalize a neighborhood. Indians immigrants from Guyana have made an area of well-maintained houses and fences from a depressed neighborhood of the 1980’s. The commercial district stretches more than 30 blocks of small businesses.

Their reward from NYC has so far been greater fines & assessments for violations than practically any other area in the city. Now 10 years late, the area has a cricket team representing it on a city-wide stage, Richmond Hill High School.

Nankishore Ganesh and Cheeming Chookang opened the batting for Richmond Hill High School and used the appropriate strategy of building a solid start, whilst keeping the scoring rate at 6, within range of the required 8.5. Ganesh played some delightful shots before orthodox left-arm spinner Javed beat and bowled him for 24. Javed then bowled ChooKang, and the game had tilted towards William C Bryant HS.

But Kavishwar Bridgepaul had come in at # 3. A 6 and a 4, then Kaveshwar charged Siddiqui and put him over midwicket into the street, followed by 2 more 6’s,and 1 off Javed who had returned for his 2nd spell. Kavishwar was now on 39 ( 5 sixes and 1 four). A miscued 6 brought up Kavishwar’s 50 and Javed gave up spin to bowl medium pace to the rampant Kavishwar! Ricky Kowchai, who had also looked dangerous, in the meantime had been given out caught behind.

Kavishwar was then given out caught behind in one of the decisions Richmond Hill was not happy about. Dhanraj Hansraj took up the onslaught by straight driving 2 sixes. Despite the loss of Kavishwar, Richmond Hill was now on the cusp of victory, needing only 6 runs an over in the final 4 overs.

The wind was gusting strongly, blowing the tents and bails around. The loss of a couple of wickets, including Hansraj, then the 17th and 19th overs, which had too many balls not scored off  of, left Richmond hill needing 13 in the final over to win. Off the last 2 balls 10 were needed but when Richmond Hill lost a wicket on the penultimate ball William C Bryant HS knew the 2010 PSAL Championship was theirs !

William C Bryant HS’ victory was even more notable because they had lost the first 3 games of the season. Afterwards Tasheenullah Khan, Captain of the new PSAL Champions William C Bryant, and the best High school cricket Team in the USA, said: “I had no doubt we would  win…..even when (Kavishwar) Bridgepaul was batting. I knew we would come back. Khan, a junior, also said ” I’ll be back next year to help my team. We want to repeat as Champions”.

The Coach of the Owls is Ralph Montalvo, and the Coach of the Lions is Lomarshan Persaud. PSAL Cricket Commissioner is Bassett Thompson, Assistant commissioner is Ricky Kissoon.
Member of the Advisory Board of American College Cricket and USACA Director Krish Prasad attended the match.

Finals Best Batsman – Mohammed Siddiqui (Bryant)  44 runs.
Finals Best Bowler – Wasim Shaw  (Richmond Hill) 4 overs, 3 wickets for 16 runs
Finals MVP – Kavishwar Bridgepaul 62 runs, 1 wicket, 1 catch and 1 Stumping