Garden State Cricket League
By Dervon Wallace
Wanderers CC retain the Garden State Cricket League (GSCL) trophy with victory over bitter rivals Montego Bay CC in the championships match on Sunday September 1, 2013 at the Weequahic Park in Newark.
In a repeat of the 2012 finals Montego Bay Captain Siddarth Mehta won the toss and asked his opposite number Damion Morgan to have a bat. Wanderers openers Owen Earl and Ashon Bukhani went to do battle but Earle was soon back in the pavilion after he was caught by former Jamaican First-class wicket keeper Keith Hibbert off the bowling of Savan Patil with the first ball of the second over without scoring with 3 runs on the board. The dread locks Lancelot Warren came in and found runs hard to come before he was run out for 5 (19 balls) to make it 14 for 2 from 7.3 overs. Bukhani was joined by Jason Nelson and the pair briefly tried to steady the ship and managed to add 28 be it from 9 overs before Bukhani 16 (42 balls 1×4) was caught by former West Indies test and ODI player Neil McGarrell from the bowling of Kiran Patel at 42 for 3.
It was soon 47 for 5, 2 overs later as Nelson 15 (31 balls 1×4) and Chris Vassel 2 (3 balls) back in the hut. It was grave concern for New York Metropolitan Cricket League supporters including myself who travelled from Brooklyn to lend support as it looked like it was going to be an early day in the park. Thanks to Mital Patel and Domain Sangster who read the situation perfectly and combat a Montego Bay combo of spinners led by McGarrell who used his experience rotating himself as his 8 overs was bowled in no fewer than 4 spells. Patel and Sangster added 70 runs in 12 overs before the latter was adjudged LBW off the impressive McGarrell for 30 (47 balls 2×6) and McGarell returned to up root the middle stump of Patel for a top score of 41 (42 balls 2×4 2×6) to make it 128 for 7 with 8 overs remaining. The Wanderers tail which included former Montego Bay captain Trevor Wittick wag on to finish with an under par yet challenging 163 for 9 in 40 overs, considering the heavy outfield 163 could easily seems like 200.
Kiran Patel finished with 3 for 40 from 8 overs, McGarell 2 for 18 from 8 overs and Savan Patel 2 for 22 from 8 overs with 2 batsmen going via the run out route.
Needing to score at a moderate 4.1 runs an over for victory with a very strong batting lined up Montego Bay camp seems a buzzing. They started their innings with the dangerous discarded USA representative Glen Hall and Savan Patel who posted 34 for the first wicket in 8 overs before Patel was caught by Bukhari from Sangster bowling for 14 (29 balls 1×4). The prolific Hibbert walked at 3 but soon have to retire with what seems like a hamstring tare. Hall was joined by his captain Mehta who was next to go for 7 (22 balls) at 50 for 2 in 13.4 overs caught and bowled by veteran medium pacer Wittick who wreak havoc using his vast experience bowling a close to perfect line and length and constantly reducing the pace off his already moderate pace. After been strapped up by Basil Butcher Jr Hibbert tried to give it ago but after facing 1 ball had to again retire not out. Kiran Patel joined Hall and the pair added 45 for the 3rd wicket before Patel was caught behind off Wittick bowling for 14 (32 balls 1×4) at 95 for 3.
In came McGarell who 10 runs later was brilliantly stumped down the leg side by wicket keeper Jason Nelson off the very impressive Wittick for 4 (11 balls). AJ Salom was dismissed for a duck to make it 106 for 5 in 28.4 overs with Hall looking for someone to stay with him. A Visible shaken Hibbert gingerly make his 3rd stroll to the crease to give it another try before he and Hall last their head and attempted a quick single taking on Warren who is arguable the best fielder in the GSCL who made a direct hit at the non-striker end from some 25 yards at cover to find a hobbling Hibbert 4 (6 balls) short to make it 111 for 6 from 30 overs and the game on a knife edge. After Damien Reid was bowled by Rish Patel at 116 for 7 with the 5th ball of the 32nd over the balance was tilting towards the defending champion. When Hall who by now brought up a fighting half-century tried to pull a short ball and top edged to Bukhari at mid-wicket off Warren bowling the writing was on the card at 116 for 8. Hall who was watched and cheered on by his family which included his cousin national representative Rashard Marshall who kept giving his advice batted for 182 minutes and face 82 balls for his top score of 60 which was laced with four 4’s. Last man out Jason Barnes 15 (18 balls 1×4) was next best as Montego Bay were dismiss for 138 in 36.2 overs.
Wittick was chief destroyer with 3 for 24 from8 overs with 1 maiden, Warren 2 for 10 from 3 overs, there was a wicket apiece for Sangster, Vassel and Rishi Patel.
Final scores Wanderers CC 163 for 9 from 40 overs and Montego Bay CC 138 all out in 36.2 overs
After the game there was a brief ceremony where umpires and players presented with medals and the winning trophy handed over to Wanderers captain Damion Morgan as his team mates and supporters joined him in the celebration.