By Saif Yassin
On a picturesque day at Jacob Riis Park, Big Apple CC opened up their 2012 EACA campaign against newcomers Falcon CC.  With rainy conditions across the tri state area for the majority of the week, it seemed as though no play would have been available to the eager cricketers of the EACA. However, it seemed as though Mother Nature was more eager to see some cricket as a beautiful day unfolded from behind rather ominous clouds. Decked in their respective colors both teams set out to wage war against each other and start the season on a positive note.

Kumar Nandalall started the season with a bang claiming 7 wickets for 8 runs. Photo by Shiek Mohamed

Winning the toss, Falcons decided to send Big Apple in to take first strike. In would walk the dynamic duo of Rhett Ramotar and Mark Gomes, who lead Big Apple to the T20 championship last year by putting on an unbeaten 120 run opening partnership. Ramotar immediately picked up from where he left of last year by getting off the mark with a massive six off the bowling of M. Samsundar.  Samsundar would get his revenge soon after as he had Gomes caught behind for 5, followed by Clain Williams for 8.

Under pressure Big Apple’s MVP for the 2011 season, Zaheer Saffie, walked to the crease. With the aggressive hitting of Ramotar, and the intelligent stroke play of Saffie, two lead the rebuilding process for Big Apple. With the score ticking, Falcons needed to respond quickly before things got out of control, so in to the attack came M. Harripersaud and M. Hussain. The change in bowling proved to be the right move for Falcons as Hussain removed Ramotar for a well played 60 and Harripersaud removing Saffie for 21.  Hussain and Harripersaud lead the rout of Big Apple with Harripersaud being the more dangerous of the two bowlers claiming a devastating 4 for 12 in his 8 overs. A last wicket partnership of 40 between Charlton Senior and Theron Rodney restored some order as Big Apple was able to reach a competitive total of 180 all out.

Innings Summary:
BACC: 180 all out in 38.3 overs. (Rhett Ramotar 60 2x4s &4x6s, Charlton Senior 30 3x4s, Zaheer Saffie 21  1×4& 1×6)
Bowling for Falcons: M. Harripersaud 8-12-4, M. Hussain 8-1-39-2, M. Samsundar 7-0-51-2

Needing 181 to secure victory, Falcons started with the pair of R. Khan and M. Hussain, while Big Apple gave the two new balls to fiery pacers Telston Johnson and Charlton Senior. Both bowlers started out very well restricting the run rate, belting delivery after delivery at the Falcon batsmen. Their opening spells lasted 6 and 5 overs respectively, but due to a couple of drop catches they were unable to get the early breakthrough that Big Apple needed. The breakthrough came soon though as R. Khan was run out for 4.

Big Apple cricket club sporting their new color uniform.

The bowling change saw spinners Theron Rodney and Kumar Nandalall coming into the attack. Rightfully adjudged as the clubs best bowler the previous season for claiming 24 wicket, Nandalall wasted no time in his pursuit of surpassing that record. He picked up a remarkable 7 wickets for 8 runs as he single handedly lead the rout of the Falcon batting line up. He had 4 batsmen caught, 3 trapped in front for L.B.W and 1 stumped as Falcons were dismissed for 72. Words don’t do justice to what spectators witnessed on Sunday, to accomplish such a feat so early on the season leaves this writer pondering for the right words. Regardless of whom it is against claiming 7 for 8 is a remarkable accomplishment for Nandalall and it should be appreciated by all who call themselves cricket lovers. Extras would top score with 21 as only Falcon batsmen made it into double figures.

Inning Summary:
Falcons 72 all out in 27.4 overs (M. Hussain 16  1×4, C. Persaud 10, K. Samsundar 10 1×4)
Bowling for Big Apple: Kumar Nandalall 8-3-8-7, Shawn Thompson .4-0-0-1, Theron Rodney 4-0-21-1

With an impressive opening round win under their belt, Big Apple shifts their attention to their Mother’s Day clash against defending 40 over champs MMZ. Last year during their Father’s Day Clash, the two teams played to a thrilling tie. I am confident that the match this year will be just as intriguing, best of luck to both teams.

Saif Yasin is a 16 year-old student at Scholars Academy and a member of Big Apple Cricket Club.