Metropolitan Cricket League
In the City of “brotherly love”, none was shown by USA national U/19 player, 17 year old Randall Wilson, as he destroyed the bowling of New Hope Cricket Club in a manner rarely displayed by a batsman so young.
The pitch at Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park, Belmont Avenue side was well prepared for the encounter although the grass was high and the outfield was slow. The game was reduced to 35 overs and Pioneer/Tristate won the toss and decided to take first strike.
Wendell Coppin was appointed captain in the absence of the captain and Vice captain. USA women player, Triholder Marshall also filled in to give the team 10 players.
The opening batsmen were Randall Wilson and fellow, USA national U/19 player, Omar Afridi. Both started cautiously and took the score to 34 before the usually prolific scorer, Afridi, made a rash stroke to former USA national fast bowler, Durell Forest and was bowled for 8.
14 year old, Chetram “Mario” Persaud went in and batted well, but was hampered by the slow outfield. They took the score to 75 before he was caught off Fritz for 7.
Enter the veteran, Auldie Brown, who stroked the ball like a teenager, taking the singles and punishing the loose balls. Along with Wilson, he added 82 runs for the third wicket, until he was bowled by Brooks for a well played 29. In the meantime, Wilson celebrated his hundred with a straight 6 off Brooks.
Coppin was bowled by Dewars for 6 and Kalishmar Bridgepaul was run out for 3. The inning ended after 35 overs with the score at 184 for 6. In a rare occurrence, Wilson was out LBW off the last ball of the inning for a magnificent 105.
M. Brooks took 2 for 34 in 7 overs, K. Fritz 1 for 15 in 4 overs, and Forest, 1 for 47 in 7 overs.
There were loud cheers in the New Hope camp as Holness and Campbell started the quest to reach 185. The bowling was opened by the experienced Clinton Blackstock and Omar Afridi. Holness hit 2 fours until Afridi trapped him for 13 with the score at 25
In the meantime, Campbell had started in belligerent form hitting a 6 and 3 fours until Blackstock had him LBW for 19 with the score at 56. Two more wickets fell in short time as former USA national player, Quasen Alfred mistimed a stroke to a ball from Blackstock and was caught by Wilson for 11 and Pinky Dewars was caught by Coppin off Blackstock for 3.
The score was now 57 for 4. Captain Forest was in full mode, stroking the ball to all parts of the field. He became the backbone of the batting and added 44 for the fifth wicket with Gibson, before the latter was out to Wilson. He added another 59 with Brooks who made 23. When Brooks was out to Coppin, the score was 160 for 6, 25 runs to go with 4 wickets in hand and 6 overs to go.
However, General Coppin, in the manner of the great Sir Winston Churchill rallied the troops one more time. The next 4 wickets fell for 16 runs as Triholder Marshall and Kalishwar Bridgepaul handcuffed the batsmen, enticing them into false strokes and one run out. Marshall got the prize wicket of Forest who was caught by Coppin for a well played 60.
They were aided by veteran wicketkeeper, Charles “lightening” Mason who made two brilliant stumping that had everyone on their feet.
When it was all over with 4 balls to spare, New Hope were bowled out for 176. Captain Coppin, a shrewd tactician, lead the team with great efficiency and a graceful and professional quality that inspired the players to do the improbable.
Blackstock was the pick of the bowlers with 3 for 29 in 7 overs, Marshall 2 for 27 in 5 overs, Bridgepaul 1 for 10, Wilson 1 for 13 and Afridi 1 for 25 in 6 overs.
Cricket pundits in the USA are scouting the record books to find out if any player has ever been on the field for every ball bowled in a match. Until such verification, this honor goes to Randall Wilson who showed great maturity and temperament. He was on the pitch for every ball bowled to his team and for every ball his team bowled.
The next hurdle for Pioneer/Tristate is Villagers Cricket Club. The “Thriller At Gateway” will take place next Sunday and a large crowd is expected.