Mattai’s 25 Not Out Leads Guyana Floodlight to NYSCL 2015 Legends Cup Championship
By James Persaud
July 9, 2015
It was a very exciting end to the New York Softball Cricket League 2015 Legends Cup. Two teams traveling from Guyana to compete in the competition, both made it to the final. Guyana Softball Cricket League Masters playing for the Legends Cup the first time, while Guyana Floodlight went to the final in 2013 and was defeated by Better Hope. It was softball cricket at its best, as the Masters or if you prefer the Legends of the game battle for supremacy.
With a huge Guyanese base in New York, both teams got very good support as relatives, family members and friends all flocked to Roy Wilkins Park in Queens to elasticity their support. The game started one hour late, but no one missed a beat. Before the game NYSCL President Mr. Eric Ferrier spoke to both teams, and soon after the toss was spun. The GSCL Masters in their green and gold uniform looked ready and Guyana Floodlight in their usual color, white and blue was ready to give their best after three days of cricket.
Guyana Floodlight skipper Ricky Deonarine called the coin toss correctly and he asked GSCL Masters to bat. GSCL Masters send Peter Persaud and Mahendra Hardyal to get their inning started and Joe Persaud get the ball for Floodlight. Paul Persaud was much watched full as Joe was very quick and bowled a very good line and length. Both opener got a single before Peter smacked the last ball of the over to the ropes for the first boundary of the game. Ravi Latchman shared the new ball and he gave up 4 runs in his first over.
As the softball cricket fans continue to pour into the park, it was an ideal back home atmosphere as some even wave their Guyana colors and the Guyana flag fluster in the wind. The batsmen continue to bat well playing every ball by its merit. Joe began his second over with a short rising ball outside the off stumps and Peter was very quick over it and smashed it to the boundary. This brought the crowd to their feet, and the green and gold camp up their volume in expectation for more.
With the score on 34 without loss after 5 overs, a bowling change was made and Jagdesh Persaud was introduce into the attack. Jagdesh got the breakthrough for Floodlight he got Hardyal for 10. Hardyal went for a huge swing, the ball took the top edge and the fielder at mid-off took the catch. Ishwar Persaud add four runs with Peter before in the very next over Joe had Peter (24) caught and the score was on 41 for 2 after 8 overs.
The new batsman to the crease was Throy Kippins, and he got off the mark with a classic boundary over cover point. In the next two overs before the drinks break both batsmen looked at ease and took no chance as they settle for singles and the occasional double. The drinks was taken with the score on 57 for 2 after 10 overs. And the deejay entertained the crowd with sweet reggae music and some can be seen swaying to the beat, while the gentlemen consume cold beverages and reminisce of their playing days.
Both teams players camp had long discussions amongst themselves, and you had to get the impression that both Captains had to be happy with the game position. Floodlight had done well with the ball and for GSCL Masters with only 2 wickets down, they was a little behind by about 20 runs. But wickets in hand, it was still plenty time to get to a respectable score. In the qualifying rounds their batting was the dominating factor.
When play resume after the break, both batsmen batted well, and looked as if they had a plan. Kippings showed aggression, while Ishwar Persaud looked more settle for a long innings. Sydney Jackman was the fourth bowler used, and his first over cost 3 runs. The next wicket would fall in the thirteenth over, Ishwar Persaud was runout for a well-played 19 runs. Mahesh Chunilall came to the crease and the bowling was on top, Chunilall did not make this played into his mind. He went after the bowlers, and looked like a man on a mission, he open his account with a four and then a six.
With a running mix up between the batsmen, and Kippings was run out for 15. He was replaced by Langsford Klass and he was run out without scoring with the score on 89 for 5 after 15 overs. While the Floodlight bowlers was bowling well, they got very good support from their fielders. Floodlight at this point of the game had seize some advantage and was giving that little extra effort in the field.
While GSCL Masters was having trouble getting their running together, with two new batsmen at the crease, Jagdesh Bojh and Sahadeo Budhu. They would take the score to 105 before Bojh was runout for 17, including 2 triples, one four and a six. Clive Butts came in and he did not last long, be was bowled by Ravi Latchman before he got off the mark and the score on 110 for 7. Budhu and Pooran Singh would take the score to 126 before Budhu was out caught of Jackman for 10.
The last pair of Pooran Singh and Lawrie Singh would add two runs before Lawrie was bowled by Jackman without scoring to end the inning on 128 all out in nineteen point one over. Jagdesh Persaud took 2 for 22, Sydney Jackman had 2 for 23, Ravi Latchman and Joe Persaud took one wicket each and there was four run outs in the innings.
When Floodlight took the crease, the diminutive spin wizard Lawrie Singh gets the ball, his first over against the opening pair of Uniss Yusuf and Richard Persaud cost two runs. It was early in the innings and as much trouble GSCL Masters batsmen had running between the wickets, it now looked as if they had butter on their fingers. Richard was dropped and over all the fielders looked out of touch, was it the weather? It is summer in New York and a day of 84 degree.
Whatever the problems GSCL Masters fielders was having, the batsmen did not make this hamper their runs chase. Especially Richard who stroked the ball with power, he smashed Clive Butts to the boundary twice, playing glorious cricket stroke as he hit back to back boundaries. This brought some much needed excitement back into the game.
Yusuf and Richard Persaud made batting looked easy as they kept the run rate high. A bowling change was made with Pooran Singh who got the wicket of Richard Persaud (16) with the last ball in his first over. Joe Persaud replaced Richard, and he stroked a quick 17 runs before he was caught of Peter Persaud in his first over. Floodlight skipper Ricky Deonarine coming at number four would stay with Yusuf and add a partnership of 26 runs. Deonarine was classic as he played good cricket, stroking the ball with authority. He kept most of the strike as Yusuf watched from the other end.
In the last over before the drinks break, bowled by Clive Butts, he bowled a slower ball and Deonarine went early into his stroke, driving hard back to the bowler, who moved to his left and took a magnificent catch. Deonarine was gone for a well-played 24 runs, including three fours. The new batsman was Ravi Latchman and the players took the 10 over break with the score on 62 for 3.
The game was poised for an exciting end, Floodlight still needed 67 runs in 10 over and seven wickets in hand. But GSCL Masters was not grabbing the opportunity offer to them, thus far in the game they dropped 3 catches. Ravi Latchman came in and did not last long he was run out for 2 runs. Yusuf and Gordial Mattai would add 19 runs, before Yusuf was bowled by Kippins for 9. The new batsman was Sydney Jackman, Jackman and Mattai had trouble finding the boundary and they took singles. In the next three overs GSCL Masters would put a check on the run rate.
Clive Butts came back into the attack for his last over and Jackman connect with a much need boundary, he pulled a rising ball high to the deep square leg boundary. Butts last over cost 9 runs, in the next over by Peter Persaud. Mattai struck Peter deep over the long on boundary and took another 9 runs of the over. But Peter redeem himself and got the wicket of Jackman (12) who went for a big swing, the ball took the edge and went high and the wicketkeeper took the catch. Jagdesh Persaud join Mattai at the crease and they had a long talk in the middle.
GSCL Masters fielders continue to have trouble in the field, dropping catches, miss fielding and with three overs remaining 23 runs was needed. The game just took on a very slow approach, it was as if the Captain was no longer in control, almost everyone was setting the field. The fielders would make adjustment after very ball was bowled, this gave the batsmen much needed rest in the middle.
With one over remaining and 11 runs needed, Peter gets the ball, he started with a short ball down the leg side and Mattai pulled it to deep mid-wicket, and with another fielding mistake and over throwing the ball the batsmen scamper 3 runs. The next ball to Jagdesh a single was taken, and the third went for a wide. The next ball Mattai hit to deep long on, the fielder not sure if to go for the catch or wait and stop the ball, it bounce over his head and over the ropes, the crowd went wild, everyone was on their feet.
Still needing 2 runs from 2 balls, Mattai pushed hard to a short cover and the fielder rushing in, the ball bounced of his body and went to cover point and the batsmen cross for 2 to end the game with one ball to spare. All the Floodlight supporters ran on to the field to greet Mattai and Jagdesh. It was a softball cricket final in true Guyana style. These two teams have played many exhilarating finals before in Guyana and to bring such an exciting end to the NYSCL 2015 Legends Cup, had to be a delight to the softball cricket fans in New York.
Peter Persaud took two wickets, Clive Butts, Throy Kippins, and Pooran Singh grabbed one wicket each. Gordial Mattai won the final man of the match prize and GSCL Masters, Lawrie Singh takes home the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award for the tournament. GSCL Master played very exciting cricket in the qualify rounds, but in the final their fielding and catching let them down, they dropped a total of 7 catches. Both teams showed great sportsmanship and camaraderie, in the end the team that played their best on that day took home the championship.