By Sham Ali
A brilliant all-round performance from Richard Staple fused together with an unwavering Progressive team delivered in a clinical performance last Sunday against Westbury at Floyd Bennett field and lifted the coveted Metropolitan Cricket League 2010 Round Robin championship title for the second time in their history punctuating another impressive season and stamping the club’s resilience and determination. It was a sweet victory for a youthful progressive team after they knocked three consecutive times on the ceiling and truly announced that this season they really wanted this championship.
The rights to the ownership of the championship crown balanced on a razors edge when their initial encounter were rained out and now both teams got to the final under similar circumstances after their semi final game was interrupted by rain and their target was reduced to a 25-over match while their displaced opponents were left to wonder in silence. Progressive fancied their chances of winning against Westbury in the final given that their varied bowling attack was more penetrating against the opposition batting lineup in conditions that promised more parity with bat and ball than in the semis.
Kevil George won the toss and sent Westbury in to bat under overcast conditions with scattered showers likely in the day may have factor into the decision, however, the conditions remained unchanged throughout the day as Progressive two left arm pacemen Mikhel Miller and Mikey Alexis capitalize on the prevailing early conditions and made the early incision by removing Donald Bennett and Dennison Thomas. When Alexis picked up danger man Barrington Bartley and the scoreboard read a disappointed 30 for 3, Westbury had appeared wounded. Former US captain Richard Staple then produced the decisive spell when he snared Paul Salmon and Devon Campbell immediately after the break, and in his over he picked up next Dwayne Kerr which ultimately left a gaping hole in the Westbury middle order lineup from which they never recovered.
At 93 for 8, the memories of a classic 1999 MCL Final between Cosmos and Progressive probably played on the mind of a tense looking manager Jeff James with thoughts that it may surfaced again, as it does in conversation in very final thereafter, where cosmos was in a similar situation and pushed to 131, and then came back to snatched victory by two runs, but this is a very different progressive team now and they pounced on this opposition relentlessly as if tomorrow was ever in sight. Shaun George and John Sylvester kept the lower in check and the runs dried up, however, Javien Thomas and Clinton Lewis did offered some resistance with a 50-run 9th wicket partnership and captain Ballister McLeish chimed in with a few lusty blows before Westbury was bowled out for paltry 153 in the 37th over.
Progressive was purposeful and aggressive and they had no intentions of mincing panic into their reply in this final. When Dennison Thomas accounted for the semi final hero D. Morand in his first over it appeared is if this final would breathe some new life for five-time champions Westbury and would possibly go down to the wire. It was perhaps the only highpoint for Westbury in the match as progressive batted determinedly to gain control of the match. Staple thwarted Westbury’s quest for early wickets with an assured half century and was intent on letting the opposition and the crowd knows that he is still a force to be reckoned with and 4 fours 3 sixes that virtually knocked the wind out of the opposition. When staple went via lbw for a match winning 67, Progressive manager Jeff James still appeared to have two mountains on his shoulders and a hidden smile even though his team had little work left to be done,
Progressive captain Kevil George led from the front throughout the season and rose to the fore with a dogged effort in this final before he was out, another three wickets followed carelessly as Westbury was intent on making their opponents them worked hard to the end. John Sylvester (27 n.o.) the former Grenada middle order batsman, and Alexis(18 n.o.) held their nerves in the end and ensure that this championship title will sit on their table as they lead their team to an emphatic five wicket victory. Progressive president Desmond Charles praised his team for their gallant effort in this final while their manager Jeff James recognized Mr. Delroy Reid to one of Progressive stalwart over the years. He then thanked his team for their support and recognized the top notched level of camaraderie and discipline that was displayed by both teams in this final as he referenced to the MCL as the best around. Progressive, one of the MCL premier clubs’ then proudly and deservedly raised the championship cup to signify a season of untold accomplishment.