By Sam Sooppersaud
How many times we have heard it said that “cricket is a young man’s game”! You visit a cricket park and you hear a youngster telling a senior player, “hey pops, why don’t you hang it up, your days are gone”, and other such like comments.
On Sunday, April 24, 2011, at the cricket park referred to fondly as The Cage, Baisley Park, Queens, there was ample proof that indeed cricket is a young man’s game, but one in which an “old man” can dominate also, at times. The youths set the stage at the start but then the “old folks” took up the mantle of providing the excitement to the end of the game.
It was the 2011 season opener for the Eastern American Cricket Association (EACA) dubbed The All Star Classic. The 2010 Champions, Everest/ACS clashed with an All Star Xl selected from among the other teams in the league. The All Stars were a youthful group while the opposing team fielded a team with several players in their forties, fifties and one player in his mid sixties; with a few youths among them. But the age disparity did not amount to much difference in the standard of play, or of the contest being a one sided affair or lacking in excitement. Both sides entertained the large crowd that came out to watch some cricket after being in house arrest by the long, cold and snowy winter. Not that it was ideal cricket weather, with a cold wind still blowing, but the fans came prepared wearing a light winter coat or a thick sweater.
The day’s proceedings commenced with the introduction of both teams by the president of the EACA, Rudy Persaud. He welcomed all to the game, and “back to the park after a long winter”. He acknowledged the Everest/ACS boys for the 2010 triumph and wished them well for the new season. He noted that the All Star squad was quite a youthful one and sportingly warned the “old timers” to take it easy and not exert themselves too much.
Skipper Andy Mohamed won the toss and decided to take first strike. He strode out to the middle with the veteran opening batsman Debo Sankar, some 20 years his senior. Andy set the tone of the innings blasting the first ball he faced from Shaun Mehta over the cover boundary for a maximum. The second ball met the same fate this time over the long off boundary. Andy was in a belligerent mood while his partner, Debo played a more of a sedate, supporting role. At the end of five (5) overs the score was 44 runs without loss. Mehta came in for some heavy duty treatment while the medium pacer at the other end, the veteran swing bowler, Trevor Walke, commanded more respect from both batsmen. Mehta was rocked for 40 runs in his 6 overs of bowling while taking 2 wickets. Walke gave up 29 runs in his 6 overs.
Debo Sankar went on to score 27 runs while Andy Mohamed scored a hard hitting 52, consisting of five-6’s. Other useful scores were made by L. Shoy (40), N. Stanford (34), C. Williams (31), and M. Noble (29). The All stars innings closed at 255 for 8 wickets. Veteran left arm spinner Zamin Amin claiming 4 for 61.
In reply Everest/ACS got into trouble immediately. losing two (2) wickets in the first over both openers sent to the showers by the pace of Telston Johnson. Wickets tumbled steadily until Skipper Karan Ganesh and Zamin Amin came together and resorted to some damage control. Ganesh, after some aggressive batting was unfortunate to get out 4 runs short of his century. He hit eight 4’s and three 6’s in his exciting innings. Zamin was not out at the end with 55 runs. At the end of their allotted 30 over of batting Everest/ACS had scored 210 runs for the loss of 8 wickets. T. Johnson 2 for 22 and Z. Majeed 2 for 37.
On the whole it was an enjoyable day of cricket, after which there was a short presentation ceremony. The championship trophy was presented to Everest/ACS for their 2010 triumph. Karan Ganesh graciously accepted the trophy, thanking his boys for their contributions in 2010 and for the just completed game, and expressed the hope that they will once again be in the winning circle at the end of the 2011 season.