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By John L. Aaron
New York Police Department last Saturday launched its third season of
its NYPD United Cricket Youth League. Flushing’s Kissena Park in
Queens, New York was the scene of many colorful uniformed teams and
several of New York’s bravest in blue, as New York City Police
Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly launched the program which he cherishes
and keeps close tabs on, through his Community Affairs Bureau headed by
Chief Douglas Zeigler.
Pic (Right): Opening day action [Courtesy: NYPD]
The cricket program has gained worldwide recognition, with Commissioner
Kelly featured on a recently released International Cricket Council’s
(ICC) documentary titled “Cricket in America.” The documentary
distributed throughout the 104-member countries by the world governing
cricket organization and on the organization’s web site
www.icc-cricket.com highlights the NYPD’s community outreach program
aimed at creating an atmosphere of mutual trust. In the documentary
Commissioner Kelly talks about his department’s outreach effort and his
new found admiration for the sport.
This year’s NYPD cricket league features ten teams of players between
the ages of 15 and 19 years old, and although the same number of teams
as last year, there has been a 40 percent influx of new players due to
the maximum age restriction of the league. The NYPD cricket league with
some 200 players, is managed by a core group of some twelve community
affairs police officers headed by Deputy Inspector Amin Kosseim and
includes some very dedicated officers. Funded by the Police Foundation,
the co-ed program spares no pains in outfitting the young men and a few
young women with colored uniforms, protective gear, and other playing
equipment, as well as ample refreshments.
A physically fit Police Commissioner Kelly usually dressed very
dapper in a suit, was sporting casual attire, while interacting with
the cricket players while taking some time out to answer questions from
the press. He later displayed some of his strokeplay with the cricket
bat, before retreating to play catch football with some of his
officers, and showing off some fine athleticism and form.
Sunday’s season opener saw all ten teams participating in two
double-headers at the Kissena Park in Queens, NY with a supporting
police presence from the neighboring precincts and community affairs
personnel. One of the opening matches saw 2009 champions Lycans up
against Superstars in a rematch of last season’s final. Superstars
would however prevail on this occasion of the round-robin tournament.
Results of the rematch were - Superstars 153-9 (20 overs) beat Lycans
135-6 (20 overs). Superstars 17 points, Lycans nine points.
To make the matches even more exciting the NYPD has established
a system of awarding bonus points for milestones reached in each match.
The system has sparked added interest and keener competition amongst
the teams, as they seek to add to their bonus tally by the milestones.
program continues to grow, as much as the trophy sizes. Last year the
championship trophy measured 48 inches in height, this year it towers
at 56 inches. The program is a collaborative effort between the NYPD
and the cricketing community. As the involvement of the players and
other local cricket enthusiasts are sought in designing the format,
rules and other playing conditions, so that it’s a total team effort.
Pic (Left): NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly tries a shot [Courtesy: NYPD]
in the NYPD ranks has now attracted an NYPD team of its own, as several
officers who have previously played the sport have formed a city-wide
NYPD Cricket Team and are seeking friendly matches against “Friendly
teams,” according to an informed source. One such match is tentatively
scheduled for Saturday, July 18 at Kissena Park in Flushing, NY. The
NYPD XI will come up against an Australian Community XI. The match is
being sponsored by the Eight Mile Creek and The Australian restaurants,
both located in New York City.
For more information on the NYPD cricket team e-mail NYPDcricketclub@gmail.com
Results of the NYPD United Cricket Youth program’s opening day matches can be found at http://twitter.com/nypdunited
Bonus points - Batting: 20, 40, 60, 80, 100, 120 runs. At each
marker, one point for each amount reached for a possible total of five
Bowling: 3, 5, 7, 9, all out and a total of five (5) possible points.
The top six teams will make playoffs. The 1 and 2 seeds draw first round byes, while 3 vs. 6 and 4 vs. 5.
The full schedule can be seen at the website.