By Sam Sooppersaud | Photo Gallery
The Bronx Crusaders of the New York Masters League are the undisputed champions for the 2010 cricket season. They wrestled away the title from the Everest Masters (2009 champions) when the teams clashed in the finals at the beautiful Idlewild Cricket Complex, in Rosedale, Queens, New York, on Saturday, October 9th, 2010.

Michael Pusey during his knock of 103. Photos by Shiek Mohamed

It was a gorgeous day for cricket, more so, the finals in the “Oldsters” league. The outfield at Idlewild was meticulously manicured. A slight breeze was oozing through the ground, with the sun shining brightly in a 74 degree temperature. A huge crowd turned up to cheer for their favorite team. They were entertained!

Everest won the toss and put in Crusaders to bat. As suggested by the commentating team of Lenny Archaibar and Melroy Kingston, this was a tactical error on the part of Zamin Amin. They voiced that the wicket showed signs that it will be slow at the beginning of the game, and that Everest should have taken first knock.

The rationale for Amin was that looking back at last week’s semi-finals against Bleachers, Everest had sent them in to bat first, and was able to successfully chase down over 200 runs required for victory. It was Amin’s mindset that the same strategy could be applied again. He lived to regret that decision!

Everest, however, drew first blood. They sent two batsmen to the showers with the score on 23 runs. Their delight was short-lived as the third wicket pair of Michael Pusey and Terry Wells delighted the crowd with a record partnership 193 runs. They were severe on all bowlers pitted against them. They drove the Everest players to a point of frustration. Additionally, Everest created more problems for themselves when they grassed two crucial chances offered.  They mishandled numerous balls on the ground and handed out overthrows freely.

Terry Wells contributed an unbeaten 87 for Crusaders.

Michael Pusey went on to score a well deserved 103 runs while Terry Wells was not out on 87. Wells was put down when on 43 and again when he was on 75. For Pusey, it was a chanceless ton. At 160 for 2 and with 6 overs to bowl, Everest resorted to containing the flow of runs. But, Pusey and Wells would have no part of this plan. They totally annihilated the bowlers hitting them for 4’s and 6’s to all parts of the field. In the last 6 overs Crusaders amassed 68 runs, a rate of over 11 runs per over.

For Everest, H. Sheriff (2 for 27) and Imran Ali (1 for 45) were the only bowlers among the seven bowlers used, to get at least a wicket. T. Walke 0 for 32, S. Ali 0 for 20, L. Deonarine 0 for 23, and S. Das 0 for 40.

Needing 229 runs for victory, Everest fell short by 34 runs but not before putting some scare on the Crusaders team.  They started out slowly, scoring 24 runs in the first 6 overs. The batsmen gradually picked up the scoring rate. Openers Ganesh Ramsingh and Royo Sankar began scoring more freely pushing the score up with each passing over. But with the score on 93, Ramsingh played back to a full length ball and the ball came off the inside edge unto the stumps. The 100 came up in the 19th over and another wicket fell immediately.

E. James had 4 for 36 against Everest.

From 100 for 2, Everest began a downward slalom. Wickets fell with every passing over. They slid to 105 for 5. Three wickets fell for an addition of 5 runs. This was the beginning of the end for Everest and their hopes of once again capturing the Masters crown. They were eventually all out for 195 runs, falling short of the required total by 34 runs.

Helping the Crusaders cause with the ball were E. James 4 for 36, J. Allen 1 for 19, L. Skeene 2 for 52, D. Parnell 1 for 44, and C. Garrison 1 for 27.

It was an exciting match. Everest took the upper hand at the beginning of the contest getting 2 quick wickets. Then Crusaders was on top with that large third wicket partnership. Then Everest again went on top with a 93 run opening partnership. Crusaders finally wrestled away the advantage, for good this time, and won the game and became the New York Masters Champions for the 2010 cricket season.

See you next year!