By Sam Sooppersaud
The Public School Athletic League Varsity Twenty/20 cricket playoffs are in full swing. At the end of the preliminary rounds of games, sixteen schools qualified for the playoffs. The format of the playoffs consists of the ”first round” (the losers go home). Then there is the “Super Eight”, followed by the semi-final and then the final on June 6th.
The PSAL cricket program has generated an ongoing interest, not only among cricket fans, but with sports fans as a whole. At PSAL games it is common to find spectators who are not familiar with the game of cricket asking numerous questions about the game: the rules, who is the guys throwing the ball (bowler), why are players behind the catcher (wicketkeeper), why are there two batters at a time. A familiar question is why are the umpires waving their hands (signaling a four) or raising their hands above their head (signaling a six). A few smaller, neighborhood, magazines and weekly newspapers are (have carried) stories on this tournament. There are also three websites, Newyorkcricket.com, Libertycricket.com, and shamsamaroo.com, which from time to time carry various articles on the PSAL tournament.
The leading body that represents the United States in the International Cricket Conference (ICC) – USACA (United States of America Cricket Association-has endorsed PSAL as having a unique program. It has recognized that PSAL’s is the first and only high school cricket program in the entire UAS. USACA has stated that it looks forward to the very near future when players groomed in the PSAL cricket program will wear the uniform of the USA. In fact, two high school lads have already done so. In the 2009 ICC Americas Cup in the Under-15 division, Amarnauth Persaud of Van Buren High School opened batting for the United States against Canada and Bermuda. Kaweshwar Bridgepaul, an Under-19 player is “knocking at the doors” of the US selectors. There are numerous exciting prospects and cricket administrators in local leagues have “signed” up these players to play in the various cricket competitions.
Now back to the playoffs: On Wednesday, May 26th, Franklin D. Roosevelt, defeated John Adams, the 2009 runner-up, at Seaview Park, in Brooklyn. Meanwhile on the same day Hillcrest knocked off Sheepshead Bay at Idlewild Park, Rosedale and in The Cage – Baisley Park North, Queens, Richmond Hill made quick work of DeWitt Clinton. Thursday, May 27th, brought doom to another four aspiring champions in their match-up. At Ferry Point, Whitestone, The Bronx, Lehman defeated Lafayette. William Bryant, who played some excellent cricket towards the end of the preliminary rounds, sent Abe Lincoln of Brooklyn packing in their slugfest at the Idlewild cricket park. Aviation HS overcame Brooklyn International at Baisley Park, 150 Street, Queens, while Newcomers, the champions for 2008-2009, got over Midwood on run rate. PSAL is at present reviewing the Van Buren – Franklin Lane to determine who was the winner.
The “Super Eight” contests promise to be wall bangers, as the teams in this part of the competition are known for their brand of entertaining cricket. On 5/28 Van Buren or Lane squares off against Lehman. Newcomers are to have a go at their archrival Aviation. However, it is not yet clear whether these fixtures will be played. Some last minute glitches are being attended to by officials at PSAL. William Bryant, the #7 seed, meets the #2 seed, Franklin D. Roosevelt this coming Saturday, May 29t.Want something exciting to do this Memorial Day weekend, come out and watch this contest. Both teams are nearly evenly matched, at least, on paper. You will not be disappointed. On June 3rd, Richmond Hill will do battle with Hillcrest. In likelihood this game will get underway at The Cage – Baisley Park North, Queen. In their two previous clashes this season, each won one game apiece. The Newcomers – Aviation game and the Van Buren/Lane – Lehman games may be rescheduled for early next week.
So cricket fans and all who are looking for some fun come out and watch some exciting cricket.
PSAL Cricket Is In The Air, Catch It!