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By Sam Sooppersaud
The race for the top prize is heating up. In fact, the heat is so intense that numerous contenders have "left the kitchen". Yes, cricket fans, the Public Schools Athletic League Cricket Tournament, the premier Youth Cricket Tournament in USA is, once again, the showcase Twenty20 Cricket in the New York Metropolitan area. Like the preceding six years of the program, this 2014 season has not lost a step in the endeavor to entertain hard-nosed cricket fans on the various cricket fields around four boroughs (Bronx, Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn) of our city.
The tournament commenced in the first week of April and on Saturday, June 14, when the two finalists clash for the coveted honor of being called "The Champions of Cricket" of all of New York City high schools. The winners would take home - to their school , to be exact - the championship trophy. The exuberant players would wear around their necks a Winners Medallion.
For their role in participating in the Finals, the players on the losing team would sport a Runners-Up Medallion. The fans would take home the memories of an exciting cricket match. Everyone gains!
Let's pick up the tournament from the start of the playoffs which were structured in to two division. The winners of each division meet in the finals. Follow the playoffs.
Division A - First Round: Newton (66) defeated HS for Construction (58), WC Bryant (156) over LIC (102), Newcomers (195) toppled Richmond Hill (88), Franklin Lane (77) got by Lafayette(72).
Division A - Second Round: Midwood (117) sent WC Bryant (116) to the showers, DeWitt Clinton (110) made short work of Newcomers (88).
Quarter Final: John Adams (135) short circuited Franklin Lane (94). Midwood (112) sent Clinton (102) packing in a close finish.
Division B - First Round: Hillcrest (60) walked over Springfield (58), Martin Van Buren (153) annihilated John Bowne (44), Brooklyn International (159) left FDR (134) short.
Division B - Second Round: Brooklyn International (128) denied Van Buren (122), while Hillcrest (82) thrashed Jamaica (81).
Semi-Finals: Brooklyn International host Hillcrest on Tuesday, June 10th, at Marine Park, Brooklyn, in the first semi final game of the tourney. The second semi final would feature John Adams doing battle with Midwood at Baisley Park, Queens, on Wednesday, June 11, 2014.
The finals, as stated above, is slated for Saturday, June 14th, at The Gateway Cricket Park, Erskine Street (Belt Parkway), Brooklyn.
I have had the pleasure of watching the contending teams play on numerous occasion. They have all showed remarkable improvements, from their first game to this stage. Among the four teams in the semi finals, Midwood appear to be the weakest link. The Hillcrest boys have showed great consistency in their play. They have not scored very large totals but their bowlers have been successful in protecting their total; a high percentage of times. Brooklyn International appear to have a more :rounded" side among the others. Looking at their players in the field one would readily agree that they know what cricket is all about and how to play the game. They seem so self assured. Their body language wreaks of confidence.
As for John Adams, most of their players seem to feel that they have a "one-man wrecking crew". Yes, Derrick Narine has been terrific with the bat and the ball. He has scored close to 900 runs, so far, in the competition, close to seventy percentage of the aggregate runs scored by the team. He takes wickets at opportune times. But, regardless of that type of sentiments, the others go out to the middle and do their team justice. Yes, in a game against Hillcrest, Narine was out early. Adams fell for a mere 61 runs. Then, in quarter final game against Franklin Lane, Narine was out second ball for a duck, yet Adams were able to muster 135 runs and eventually won the game. A needless worry on their part!
A keen contest sf expected, regardless of which teams are in the Finals. I urge all cricket fans to come out and watch our youthful stars, stars of tomorrow, in action.