By Sam Sooppersaud
With the winding down of the Public Schools Athletic League 2014 cricket season, numerous horses that left the starting gate late are sprinting towards the finishing line. Some who left the post early are losing their steps and are lagging behind.
Cricket fans around New York City are being treated to some of the most entertaining Twenty20 cricket, compliments of our youngsters in the High Schools participating in this year’s PSAL cricket program. Travel to Erskine Park in Brooklyn and see John Adams High School (8-1) in action. Feast your eyes on some exciting batting from Derrick Narine, launching rockets in the skies. At Marine Park in the same borough you can see Brooklyn International High School (9-1) making short work of their opponents. Franklin K. Lane (8-1) is right up there, quietly sneaking up on the leaders.
Over in Queens, you will witness Aviation Technical High School (10-1), with the best win/loss record in the tournament, soaring to great heights. See Taranjeet Singh send red missiles over the boundary ropes. The Manhattan/Bronx Division is having its own fireworks. DeWitt Clinton (9-1) is dominating their division.
At this juncture of the competition numerous other schools are jockeying for positions in the upcoming playoffs: Thomas Edison (6-2), (Manhattan/Bronx Division), Hillcrest (6-3) and Long Island City (6-3), (Queens 1 Division), Martin Van Buren (6-3) (Queens 11), and Newton (6-3), (Queens 111). These schools are sprinting hard in their effort to overtake those leading the field. Its Twenty20 cricket, so anything can happen (is possible).
A big disappointment, so far, are the Newcomers Lions. This club is thought of (by numerous coaches) as having the most balanced team in the league. Yet, after starting off with three straight wins they have lost the next six games in a row that they have played. It seems that their players “just can’t get their act together”. Their batsmen are getting out playing some outrageous shots. The fielders have spilled no fewer than 20 catches. The brightest efforts are put in by their bowlers, but, who are frequently let down by their fielders grassing “sitters” (easy catches).
On Tuesday, May 20, Hillside took on the Newcomers Lions. Needless to say, the ferocious beats were tamed by their opponents. After winning the toss, Hillside inserted Newcomers in to take first knock. They were bundled out for 88 runs in 18 overs. Only Mohammed Hossin (25), a promising All-Rounder, put up any resistance. Once he was out, the other batsmen literally crumbled. Hillside knocked off the required runs in 14.4 overs.
I would venture to say (at the risk of earning the wrath of some of my fellow coaches) that at this stage of the tournament, there are a few schools that are showing definite signs of making it “to the top”. I formulate my opinions after seeing these teams in action several times. On mere quality of play and consistency, three contenders are very visible. They are John Adams, Brooklyn International, and Long Island City. There are schools with a better win/loss record, but it is my judgment (and mine alone) that they would not be able to sustain the “fire” to the end.
But then, you never know. We are playing Twenty20 Cricket where anything is possible. Stay tuned.