Last year Long Island City (LIC) High School made it to the Finals of the NYC PSAL Cricket League, only to lose to the juggernaut FDR High School team.
This year LIC High made it back to the Finals undefeated, to face John Adams High, finalists in 2008 & 2009 ! On the John Adams team was season top scorer Troy Mars, who made 739 runs in the regular season with a top score of 194, and other centuries of 177 & 117 !
John Adams captain Mars won the toss and sent LIC High into bat. Randall Wilson took the first wicket at 16, but this brought in Salam Sajib who had racked up 455 runs at 58 average during the regular season.
Sajib and Redwanur Khan both made 25, and set the stage for some late scoring by Atta Khan, 33 (3 sixes & 1 four). LIC finished with the good score of 158 for 5. Gurprit Singh, 2 for 11, had the best bowling figures for John Adams.
Gurprit Singh and Troy Mars got John Adams HS off to a flying start,with Singh even outscoring Mars before Singh was bowled by a full toss for 21 by Mustafa. The partnership had put up 35 in 4 overs.
When Randall Wilson came to the wicket to join Mars, it meant spectators were getting a chance to see 2 of the best under 19 batsmen in the USA. They put on 22 runs before Mars, off the backfoot, drove over one from fast bowler Rehanul Khan that bowled him ! and LIC had gotten the prize !
John Adams Spartans then collapsed like the French Army, and became 90 for the loss of 7 wickets ! Zafar Yusuf held on for 26 but never threatened to meet the scoring rate, whilst a late flurry of 3 fours by Sadhoo in his 18 gave the Spartans a bit of cheer.
Salim Sajib took 2 for 22, Mustafa 2 for 25 & Mohamed Islam 2 for 20 as Long Island City won the Championship that eluded them last year !
LIC Coach Dharmvir Gehlaut was ecstatic, " Yes, last year you saw us in the Finals, this year we did it ! It's all due to the players, and the efffort they put in ! I'm so happy for them !"
Salam Sajib was declared the Finals MVP and Awards were given out for accomplishments during the season by Commissioner Bassett Thompson, Sports Coordinator Lorna Austin & Assistant Commissioner Ricky Kissoon.
It was great to see PSAL Cricket alumni like Kavishwar Bridgepaul and Thakur Singh among the spectators.
Missing were parents of the players - couldn't some of them come out on a beautiful day to their sons strive to be Champions ? Whether its Pee Wee Football, Little League baseball,pick any American sport and parents show up to support their kids.
Missing also were players from other schools - what would it have taken for the other teams to show up, to celebrate and support the Finals ? Perhaps it should be mandatory for teams to attend the Finals.
It was good to see the NY Post covering the game, but once again local TV stations were conspicuously absent - even NY 1, and MSG which covers some PSAL sports.
Local cricket leagues should have encouraged their players to show up at the High School Finals.
Nevertheless another great year of NYC Public High School Cricket came to an end.....with the rest of the country nowhere near to NYC in development at the youth level. Over 400 young cricketers compete each year....some, like Gurpreet Singh spent 3 years in high school before joining the team, and showing talent ! The visibility they give the game in the school system is invaluable.
The fact that some of the coaches have no cricket background is NOT a negative - this is an opportunity for the Captain to take more on-field responsibility as traditionally was the case in cricket, whilst the "coaches" revert to the role of a "manager".
Umpire Fitzroy Hayles, President of the USA Umpires Association observed, "Some of these high school teams can beat any high school in the West Indies."
Both PSAL Sports Coordinator Lorna Austin and Commissioner Bassett Thompson expressed "appreciation for the support of American College Cricket President Lloyd Jodah,going back to 2009, and we're pleased our high school players have a pathway to College, and continued playing."
Of note is that Long Island City High School is located in Queensbridge, which has been a hotbed of hip hop and produced artists like Nas, and NBA player Metta World Peace(formerly Ron artest) - now they have a city-wide, and in effect a national Championship team !
by Lloyd Jodah
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