By Sam Sooppersaud
Demerara retain the Guyana Tri-County Championship (NY Edition) when they comfortably defeated Berbice in the Finals at Baisley Pond Park, (The Cage) on Foch Boulevard, Queens, New York, on Saturday, September 28, 2013. It was a game that saw fortunes switched from one team to the next. In the end, the Demerarians, players and fans alike, had much to celebrate.
Earlier in the day, Berbice comfortably overtook an appreciable total put on by Essequibo. Skipper Andy Mohamed, after a belligerent knock fell short of a deserved ton by one run. He opened the Essequibo batting with Prasad Mahadeo who lost his wicket to Sudesh Dhaniram in the 3rd over of the innings and with the score on 18 runs. D. Chow Wee Nam joined his captain and together took the score to 105 when Chow Wee Nam was run out for 26 backing up too far.
Andy was a one-man wrecking machine. He blasted the bowlers all over the cricket field hitting 10-4’s and 3-6’s. When on the threshold of a century he gave his wicket away attempting to take Mahendra Nagamootoo once more over the fence. Many felt that Andy could have simply placed the ball for a single to mid-off, which was vacant. I suppose he wanted to bring up his ton in style. He fell on 99. In the 7 wickets that fell only Andy Mohamed and Cho Wee Nam were the only two batsmen to have reached double figures. The Essequibo innings ended at 157 for 7 wickets.
Taking the wickets for Berbice: Sudesh Dhaniram 2 for 32 in 4 overs, Vijai Seenarine 2 for 16 in 4 overs, Mahendra Nagamootoo and Kaleen Bux 1 wicket apiece for 25 and 11 runs respectively.
Berbice overcame the Essequibo total in the 18th over but not after losing a wicket in the second over. The second wicket stand of 94 runs between Sudesh Dhaniram and former West Indies Under-19 player, Gajanand Singh, poised Berbice on the road to victory. Both batsmen showed aggression, wanting to “get it over with”. Dhaniram, noted for punishing bowlers continued his trait of doing just that. He hit 9-4’s in his even 50 runs. Singh fell with his individual score on 45 attempting to hit the ball “to Mars”. Skipper Karan Ganesh (18 Not Out) and Alex Amsterdam (15 Not Out) saw their team safely home. Berbice won the match and the right to meet reigning champions, Demerara.
Bowling for Essequibo T. Hassan, S. Wazid, and T. Madramootoo, claimed one wicket each for 33, 33, and 30 runs, respectively.
The finals commenced in front of a large crowd with Demerara winning the toss and inserting their opponents, Berbice, in to bat. This was a game that saw the pendulum of advantage swung from one team then to the next and back again.
In their knock Berbice lost a wicket in the second over with the score on 14; opener Shiv Kumarlall lost his middle stump to Andre Kirton, hitting across the line. Gajanand Singh and Dhaniram went 21 runs added. The score now 3 wickets for 35 runs. With the fall of Skipper Karan Ganesh’ wicket, now four down, it was left to Alex Amsterdam and Vijai Seenarine to do some repairs. They accepted the challenge. Amsterdam scored 34 while Seenarine got 24 runs. With these two out the end was near. Berbice lost their last three wickets for 15 runs, the innings closed at 137runs all out.
The wreckers of the Berbice wickets were Troy Doodnauth 3 for 24, Andre Kirton 2 for 23, Kumar Nandalall 2 for 22, and S. Sadloo 2 for 28.
Needing 138 runs for victory, Demerara felt very confident, knowing that they were a “batting machine” of a side. However, Berbice gave them a shock when Sudesh Dhaniram, opening the bowling sent both openers, Z. Saffie and B. Sattaur, to the showers in the first over. Demerara 2 wickets down, 1 run on the board. This became 4 for 17 by the end of the 4th over. The Berbice players and their supporters at this stage were very animated in the elation. However, this did not last too long as USA National Batsman, Akeem Dodson and all-rounder, Troy Doodnauth, resorted to damage control. They played cautiously at first, but once settled in, they dissected the Berbice bowling attack.
The fifth wicket stand of Dodson and Doodnauth put on a batting clinic. They milked the singles and punished the bad balls severely. The 101-run, fifth wicket partner was broken in the 17th over with Dodson run out. Doodnauth drove the ball back to bowler Kaleen Bux. The ball ricocheted off his hand and hit the non-striker’s wicket with Dodson out of his ground. Doodnauth scored 53 and Dodson 58 runs. It was left to Andre Kirton to put on the finishing touch to the Demerara triumph. He did so with some timely hitting: 4, 6,and 4.
Demerara, 140 for 6, had successfully defended their title.
Bowling for Berbice, S. Dhaniram 4 for 23 in 4 overs, and M. Nagamootoo 1 for 24 in 3 overs.
At the presentation ceremony following the game Demerara were awarded the Tri-County Trophy and the winner’s purse of $1,500. For their losing effort Berbice received the runner-up prize of $1,000. Troy Doodnauth was awarded the MVP accolade for his match performance: 3 wickets for 24 runs, and a personal score of 53 runs.
The weather for the day was excellent for cricket. The sun shone brightly with a cool breeze blowing across the field. The fans were treated to some entertaining 20/20 cricket.