Queens team. Photos by Shiek Mohamed

By Sam Sooppersaud  
2014 NYC Mayor’s Cup | Photo Gallery
Yes, cricket fans, if you did not answer this publicity with your presence in the park, you have missed seeing the potentially best young and upcoming cricketers in New York City in action. The cream of the crop was on display.

Keifer Phil of Queens took the man-of-the-match award for his 4 catches, 2 wickets for 24 runs and 28 runs retired.

This was the first day of Summer 2014. The outdoor folks did not disappoint. They were out, very early, taking advantage of the numerous amenities that the newly furbished Van Cortlandt Park offers. There were joggers, soccer players, tennis players, hikers, sun bathers: a menagerie of fitness buffs and sports enthusiasts taking advantage of the glorious sunshine. Of course, there was a cricket match in the Masters League at the far end of the vast cricket complex. The Masters is comprised of players who are 45 years and older. Most of whom have stopped competing with the younger players, but still want to get out on the cricket field and “do their thing”.

Field #3 was set up and prepared for the contest. Boundary markers-orange colored cones- were in place around the perimeter of the playing area. Lining the field of play, adjacent to the boundary markers were large printed signs publicizing the soon to start Twenty20 cricket match to decide who gets to claim the title “THE BEST IN THE CITY”.

The staff of the Public Schools Athletic League, Commissioner Bassett Thompson, Cricket Coordinator Lorna Austin, Assistant Commissioner Ricky Kissoon, and their helpers was on hand, as usual at PSAL games, to organize and prepare what needs to be done. The cricket pitch- the matting – was prepared. The wickets set and, as mentioned above, the boundaries marked. All that was need now as to, “ring the opening bell”, get the game going.

Doing their thing, also, at the field were Jeffrey Mohl, vice president, Sports Marketing, NYC & Company, and his staff.  NYC & Company is the official marketing, tourism and partnership organization for the City of New York, dedicating to maximizing travel and tourism opportunities throughout the five boroughs, building economic prosperity and spreading the positive image of New York City worldwide.

Jeff and Evan and their other workers had set up canopies adjacent to the playing field. On display, and being handed out were various flyers giving details of the Mayor’s Cup program. Displayed on a table were the “spoils” of the days cricketing efforts, the various plaques and trophies. Enough manpower was on hand to address enquiries from the public.

The stage is now set. Hey, wait, something is missing.. Let’s see… Oh, yea. A cricket match! So folks, let’s get a cricket match started. The two captains, Derrick Narine of the Queens squad and Burhan Saeed of Brooklyn, Bronx, Manhattan, (BBM) walked out to the middle along with the two Umpires, Mohammed Baksh jr, and Mohammed Baksh snr, for the coin toss. Milford Lewis performed a dual task. That of the Third Umpire and scoring.

The toss was won by BBM, who decided to take first knock. Opening batsmen M. Shahzad and A. Khan walked out to start their team’s innings. Opening bowler, Kiefer Phil, took the new ball. 14 runs came off the first over, compliments of the bowler who sent down 8 consecutive wides. During that eventful first over, Shahzad was caught out of his crease and was run out.  Within 2.2 overs BBM lost 3 wickets for only 22 runs. They lost wickets at regular interval. 56 for 6 wickets in 8.4 overs. In the 16th over BBM lost 3 wickets for the addition of 2 runs: crashing from 77 for 6 to 79 for 9 wickets. Their agony ended in the 18th over, they being bowled out for a paltry 91 runs.  Only A. Hack (16) and B. Saeed (10) were able to muster double figures.

Brooklyn, Bronx and Manhattan team.

The wreckers of the BBM batting lineup were: K. Phil, 2 for 24, Jason Rooney, 2 for 20, Abul Juwel, 2 for 9, Rolex Kapali, 2 for 9, and Nicholas Harripersaud, 1 for 3.

With only 92 runs to score for a win, the Queens players were already tasting victory even before they commenced their innings. After all, in their batting lineup they had USACA national batsman, Keifer Phil, former Guyana national batsman, Derrick Narine, and Newcomers batsman, Mohammed Hossin. “A walk in the park” for the Queens boys.

The BBM bowlers had other plans when Queens batted. Within 2.4 overs they sent 3 batsmen back to the showers and with the score on 9 runs. Jason Rooney, run out, the hard-hitting, Narine, caught behind, and Adrian Persaud, bowled. The Queens supporters were in a state of shock and disbelief. Hey, what’s going on! This couldn’t be happening to a powerful batting lineup such as ours!  However, a fourth wicket partnership of 37 runs between J. Hall (12) and K. Phil (28 retired) gave Queens some breathing space. Mohammed Hossin (25 Not Out) and Nick Harripersaud (14) then got together in a fifth wicket partnership of 42 runs,  and knocked off the required runs. Queens, after some anxious moments, won the game.

Bowling for BBM, B. Saeed 1 for 6 and A. Hack 2 for 12 were the wicket takers.

A presentation ceremony was held at the conclusion of the game. Best Bowling award went to A. Hack of BBM (2 for12). Best batting award to Mohammed Hossin of Queens (25 runs). The Man of the Match went to Keifer Phil of Queens for his all-round performance. 4 catches, 2 wickets for 24 runs and a score of 28 runs retired. Quite a feat from our national player.

Each of the players was awarded a medal: Queens, the Winners Medal and BBM, the Runners up Medal. The Runners up trophy was presented to Coach Zaffie Khan of BBM and the Winner’s trophy to Coach Sam Sooppersaud of Queens along with the Winner Coach plaque.

Cricket Commentators, Lennie Achaibar and Carl Bennett did an outstanding job at the mike, as usual. Kirk Higgins, did hid electronic scoring thing. NewYorkCricket.com’s Shiek Mohamed, were snapping away with his camera. President Hayles of the United States of America Cricket Umpires Association was present and gave the umpiring efforts an A grade.

The fans supporting their respective side had a great time. Each group had moments of high and moments of low. But, in the end it was an enjoyable day for cricketers and cricket fans, as well.

The cricket fraternity in New York City extends its congratulations to the PSAL and NYC & Company for their continued support of cricket in our midst. PSAL has contributed significantly to the fact that more and more youth are involved in playing cricket, and that the level of playing has improved. To all those responsible for pulling this program off, my kudos.

We’ll do this all over again next year!