Metropolitan Cricket League
By Dervon Wallace
On the back of some masterful batting by Steve Massiah and Rashard Marshall Villagers Pacesetters for the third year in a row finished the preliminary of the Metropolitan Cricket League Clement “Busta” Lawrence Premier League as the number one seed. This when they scored half-centuries in Villagers seven-wicket win over Progressive CC  in the final preliminary game at the Gateway Cricket Field in Brooklyn on August 2, 2014.

Steve Massiah struck a defiant 81. Photo by Shiek Mohamed

On a day when the start of play was delayed for over an hour due to overnight and early morning rain that left the bowlers run-up at both end under water and with overs reduced to 30, Villagers won the toss and opted to bowl first. It was a decision seems justifiable as Progressive was in trouble from as early as the first over when opener Cuthbert Mendonca was sent back for a first ball duck caught at second slip by Richard Staple off the bowling of Talisman Gordon who let loose a rising delivery which was too quick for the dread locks opener who was late in attempting the hook-shot.

The disappointment could being seen on Mendonca’s face  as he must have had intention of sending a message to the Villagers management after representing Villagers last year but left for his new team after finding regular playing time hard to come by.  Dervin Morand and former Windward Island first-class player John Sylvester shared in a run a ball seventy-five runs second-wicket partnership before Morand 31 (44 balls 1×4 3×6) hit a full toss down the throat of Marshall at long-on who made no mistake to make it 75 for 2 in over number thirteenth. Sylvester found another useful partner in Lloyd Rattary and they added forty-seven before Rattary went.

Just when Sylvester began teeing off he was magnificently caught on the deep mid-wicket boundary off the bowling Melroy Kingston by Gordon who did brilliant to get there evading a teammate before sticking a hand out to pluck the ball out the air. The right-handed Grenadian made 77 from 70 balls with four fours and seven sixes; the highlight of his knock was hitting Staple for three consecutive sixes. From here on wickets fell regularly as the inning folded at 182 for 8 from the allotted 30 overs, Rattary 17 (19 balls 1×6) and captain Kelvin George 15 (14 balls 1×6) got into double figures along with Kwaysi Rougier 13 (6 balls 2×6) who hit the penultimate ball of the inning for a six that gave Progressive a bonus point that would ultimately carried them into the play-offs. Delroy Morgon with his off-spin finished with 3 for 15 from 4 overs, Kingston 2 for 23 from 4 overs and there was a wicket apiece for Gordon 1 for 35 from 6 overs and Massiah 1 for 30 from 5 overs.

In reply Villagers lost Kingston 2 (7 balls) caught at extra-cover by Leron Celestine off the bowling of a fired up Mendonca at 13 for 1 in the fourth over. Staple who survived a drop catch went on to make 31 (26 balls 5×4 1×6) before he was caught behind by Rougier off the bowling of Sylvester to make it 45 for 2 in the seventh over. Any hopes Progressive have of putting a dent in the Villagers batting was short lived as Massiah and Marshall Blast an ordinary looking attack to all parts of the ground. The two USA national players shared in a seventy-one third wicket partnership from forty-eight balls with Massiah playing the anchor role as he watch his friend go on a rampant.

Rashard Marshall was also among the runs for Villagers hitting a half century. Photo by Shem Rodney

Brukki as he is called took a liking to young off-spinner Rodwell Busgith who got one to bounce then stand mid pitch and steer at Marshall as to say I got you, Marshall then savagely hit the next ball off the back foot an estimated 95 meters over wide long-on much to the delight of the crowd most of whom started shouting at the bowling in a jovial manner “don’t steer at Brukki”. Marshall 50 (32 balls 1×4 6×6) was eventually caught off the bowling of Celestine by Maurice Cole who positioned himself at first slip to make it 116 for 3.

Massiah was joined by former Jamaica opening batsman Morgon and the pair saw Villagers home with an unbroken fourth wicket partnership of 67. Massiah who for the most part watch as Marshall took on the bowlers earlier decided it was his time to clear the boundaries. The recently re-elected captain of the New York Region Cricket team selected to tour Florida later this month seems on a mission as he went boisterous with his hitting, clearing the boundaries at will. He brought up his third consecutive half-century in Villagers colors with a ferocious lofted drive over extra-cover that went the distance. When the total was reached he was unbeaten on 81 (47 balls 7×4 5×6) and Morgan 11 (17 balls). Sylvester finished with 1 for 20 from 4 overs, Mendonca 1 for 35 from 4 overs and Celestine 1 for 49 from 5 overs.

Final scores Progressive 182 for 8 from 30 overs and Villagers 183 for 3 from 21.1 overs.