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By John L. Aaron
Georgetown, Guyana – After being humbled by host Demerara Cricket Club (DCC) in an earlier encounter, the New York based Atlantis Cricket Club bounced back in an exciting finale against their host at the DCC ground located at Lance Gibbs Street in Georgetown Guyana. The Andrew Lyght, Snr., Memorial Trophy Championship between DCC and Atlantis was one of the most exciting and thrilling finishes to a shortened tournament that I have ever witnessed on many levels. However, I will address that a bit later in this report.
Pic Right (Courtesy John Aaron): Atlantis' Ron Andrew clobbers one for a six
Winning the toss in the T20 final that was reduced to 13 overs because of the overnight rain and the soggy condition of the ground, Atlantis offered the strike to DCC. Atlantis opened with pacers Greg Robinson and Casper Davis, Jr., while Christopher Barnwell and Andrew Lyght, Jr. donned helmets for DCC dressed in the black and maroon of the legendary Georgetown club.
Having enjoyed a run-feast against Police Sports Club the previous day scoring 141 off 12 overs, the DCC openers were no doubt looking to once again wet their appetites for runs off the Atlantis bowlers, and for a while it looked that way as the duo took the fight to Atlantis, scoring 37 off the first four overs. However Atlantis’ skipper Prashanth Nair would strike gold in a bowling change, getting the prized wicket of West Indies “A” squad player Christopher Barnwell for 11. Nair would strike again, and again, and again, getting the hard-hitting Lyght, Jr., 29, Paul Wintz, 39, and Carlisle Barton, 10.
Lyght was particularly harsh on the Atlantis bowlers cracking 4x6s in his 29, much to the delight of those seated in the double-decker DCC pavilion. Despite such an attack on the visitors, Atlantis managed to have DCC on the ropes teetering at 53 for 6 in the 13 overs affair with the DCC middle-order 4, 5, and 6 batsmen all recording ducks. It was not until the tall athletically-built all-rounder Paul Wintz stepped to the middle and delighted the somewhat partisan crowd smacking 5x6s in his 39 run stay that DCC was seriously in the hunt to capture the Andrew Lyght, Snr. championship trophy. Wintz dispatched the ball over the DCC walls, hitting off-spinner Nair for three successive sixes in the direction of the home of Roger Harper located just across the street from DCC. The seventh-over partnership between Wintz and Barton produced 33 runs.
DCC would eventually post 114 for the loss of 8 wickets in their allotted 13 overs, with the wickets falling at 11, 49, 52, 52, 53, 86, 99 and 114. Bowling for Atlantis: P. Nair 3-0-26-3, A. Amsterdam 2-0-16-2, C. Davis, Jr. 3-0-15-2 and G. Robinson 3-0-20-1.
In response and an in effort to take the coveted trophy back to New York, Atlantis was off to a very inauspicious start losing Henderson Blades for 01 and Alex Amsterdam, 00, with the score at 10, twenty runs later DCC would strike again dismissing Kavishwar Bridgepaul, 16 (2x6s, 1x4) and the score at 33. However, opener Shawn Mason was still there and it was hoped that he would anchor one end, while the Atlantis middle-order went in pursuit of the runs. Mason would prove to be just that – an anchor, as the opener batted out the allotted 13 overs, but scored only 17 runs.
Ron Andrew would be the spark of hope for Atlantis as the Grenadian-born left-hander delighted the DCC crowd with some glorious cover drives and lofty sixes in scoring 53 (7x6s, 2x4s), causing the legendary Clive Lloyd to later remark, “That young man is IPL (Indian Premier League) material.”
Atlantis needing 16 runs off the final over to win the championship, then had the crowd behind them as the intensity in the ground grew and DCC skipper Christopher Barnwell having bowled the previous over threw the ball to Teralph Scipio. Barnwell in his last over had contained Atlantis with his first three deliveries, before being hit for a four, a single and a six. Scipio in his first over was hit for two sixes and one four. Thus the momentum had shifted in Atlantis’ favor.
After a single from the bat of Shawn Mason, Andrew clobbered Scipio for a boundary and a towering six, reducing the runs needed for victory to 5 off the final delivery. Scipio gave his final delivery some air and Andrew looking for a six and the victory, took it airborne, however the trajectory was still within the walls of the Georgetown centered DCC ground and he was caught on the final delivery of the inning. The DCC players wildly celebrated the victory as though they had won a national championship, however, they must have realized how close they had come to being defeated by Atlantis – a New York club that plays on matting during the summer only.
Atlantis would record 110 runs for the loss of four wickets in the 13 overs. Bowling for DCC, C. Barnwell 4-0-13-2, T. Scipio 2-0-26-1 and T. Sampson 3-0-33-1.
Atlantis presented Paul Wintz with a centenary memento and as the club’s choice of its opposing MVP for the finals, while Christopher Barnwell, DCC’s skipper was adjudged the tournament’s MVP.
Fortune Favors the Brave
Atlantis and DCC both reached the finals having defeated Police Sports Club – the cricketing arm of the Guyana Police Force and a first–division squad. However, DCC was the heavy favorite to win the Andrew Lyght, Snr., Memorial T20 Championship, having defeated Atlantis in a lop-sided first encounter, last Friday.
It is said that fortune favors the brave, and Atlantis showed tremendous courage in their fight against one of the premier first-division squads in Guyana, especially after their 10-wicket defeat at the hands of their host DCC. Atlantis came up a nickel short of the dollar’s worth of bravery required to defeat DCC, a team that plays cricket for extended periods in each calendar year, with their own ground for practice and a very competitive pool of national and West Indies capped players.
Atlantis with a three-month weather permitting season and no designated practice facilities in New York responded to the challenge with a determination possibly never before demonstrated by the club in the Eastern American Cricket Association league in New York. On many levels, despite the loss to the highly favored DCC, Atlantis won on many levels – the hearts of the local cricket patrons in attendance, the respect of greats such as Clive Lloyd, Roger and Mark Harper and those who have seen more than their share of great cricket and cricketers at the “Home of the Legends” – DCC.
The Atlantis players despite being runner-ups, must surely take away comfort in knowing that they can compete with the best, while demonstrating tremendous heart and bravery to give DCC a run for their money and the Andrew Lyght, Snr Memorial trophy. The Atlantis fifth-wicket partnership between Mason and Andrew which produced 77 runs, most of them off the willow of Andrew, was a defiant stand that clearly showcased the batting ability of Ron Andrew and the mettle of Atlantis. Charles Lloyd a former Atlantis and DCC player donated all of the trophies for the triangular memorial tournament.
During the tournament DCC proved it was the better team, even if its motivation was not to be beaten by a team that did not contain as many national players as DCC. On the other hand Atlantis won the hearts of many of the cricket fans in Guyana and the local media that turned out at the matches, who are all still asking if the level of the sport in the USA was all of such a high caliber. That augurs well for cricket and sustaining the growing ministry of the sport across all continents.