NYSCL 2011 25 Over Championship: Preview

Hustlers captain Kris Sobhai (center) will need all the helping hands if he is to stop Untouchables in Sunday Division I finals

Is This The End Of Untouchables Dry Spell? Or Hustlers continues Its Dominance

By James Persaud

June 16, 2011

The end could be close; no I am not predicting the end of the world. I am just recounting on the dry spell of one of softball cricket more successful team. Untouchables have won softball cricket’s most coveted prize before the “Triple Crown” but for the last six seasons they were not able to get even close to a major final.


In 2000 when Untouchables won the Triple Crown their skipper was Ed Ahmad. In the 2004 season Untouchables was on fast track to take the Triple Crown again. Their efforts came to a screeching end; when they were ten overs away from victory. On that day on a late summer Sunday afternoon, in the Twenty20 finals a diminutive stroke player, Ravi Mangal stole a very memorable finals for Waves.


Now it’s an all new look team, Ed is back and their most prolific scorer and hard hitting batsman and hero  of the 2005 Independence Cup finals, Sunil Panday, however will not be in Untouchables’ uniform, this time around. But times have changed and a new era has evolved, is this end of Untouchables dry spell?


Untouchables have at present one of the best teams in softball cricket, seven of their starting players will be going to the NYSCL 2011 Independence Cup. Their skipper Andrew Gonsalves is in all probability the best batsman in softball cricket at present. Gonsalves performance could have a big impact on the outcome the finals this Sunday.


The Untouchables pace bowling will be led by Niko Seepersaud, Peter Sookdeo, Yudy Shivkumar, Mo Khan and they will be well supported  by the spinners Erapalli, Michael and Gonsalves.


Their batting lineup has depth and you can expect the first nine to get into double digits scores. Their batting will come from Ravi, Michael, Gonsalves, Erapalli, Gordon, Prashad and followed by the all rounder’s Khan, Sookdeo and Shivkumar.


Will the Hustler’s energizer stylish and unorthodox opener and the highest scorer in the 2011 Florida Cup, Pooran Beria have his game on? Hustlers will need a big start from their opening pair, Asif Ally will need to put runs on the board.


Is this the week for Kris Sobhai to bring out the big bat? Sobhai has not had a big season so far, one of softball cricket’s best stroke players seems to have loss some “bang” in his game.


Kris Sobhai has been to many finals and always save his best for the big game, should his bat get going you could have a high scoring game. This time around Hustlers will have one of softball cricket more knowledgeable head on their side, Navin Narine.


Narine one of the good guys to have on your side when it is a close game will bring plenty of experience. Experience alone will not help; Narine will need to get wickets early to put the opponents in check.


New York Hustlers will be going to the NYSCL 2011 Independence Cup; Hustlers will need a big game to boost their odds as they get ready for the Inter States tournament. The hype building up to Sunday game is huge and Hustlers will need to get runs from all their batsmen, Beria and Ally have been getting runs lately. They will need to get a big all round performance from Javed Alli, Nigel Briglall, Poopie Singh and Nigel Greaves.


Both teams’ sponsors will be on hand, Hustlers sponsored by John Ramnauth and Untouchables by Ahmad Realty. There will be live ball by ball commentary and many other attractions, come early for the best seat in the house game time 12:30pm.

The 4 Division I Captains who will be looking to be champions on Father's day. From (left top) Untouchables Andrew Gonsalves, Hustlers Kris Sobhai, Sheffield Michael Persaud and United Stars Ravin Ivan

I Would Take A Champion Anytime

By James Persaud

June 10, 2011

Last Sunday in the quarter finals round of the NYSCL 2011 25 Over Championship, the first of three major competitions of the league’s season got underway. And by the time the sun was ready to set way in that corner of the west, twelve teams was getting ready to have a two weeks rest. The cycle will continue this Sunday and another six teams will join the pack.


I would take a champion anytime; it is easier said than done, since the remaining teams have the best softball cricketers around. Picking a winner in anyone of the three divisions will be a very difficult task at hand. But then again there can only be three winners by father’s day, along with three winners in the 15 over knockout competitions.


Looking at the remaining teams in division one, in the first game between Hustlers and United Stars, you could call this a rematch between these two teams from last season Twenty20 semi finals. One year ago in that game Hustlers prove to be no match to the powerful United Stars team.  Recapping on that match, Hustlers had too much “baggage” on the team, guys who could not represent.


But Kris Sobhai and his Hustlers team has nothing to prove, they have many championship under their belt and one more would not hurt. The pressure will be on the United Stars team, a team with many very talented players, but seems to have a tendency to be deficient in that extra drive in the big game. United Stars need to let the captain, captain the game and the other ten players give him their best support to the end.


Ravin Ivan, United Stars captain, a very talented player from Berbice will be taking on another Berbiceian Kris Sobhai in the battle of the east. In the second game a young man who has made much progress in his game, Michael Persaud will be bringing his Sheffield team to challenge the powerful Untouchables.


Sheffield will have to reshuffle their team and give some of their more recurring players a rest if they are to really challenge the Untouchables. Untouchables a good team at present, in both batting and bowling. They have perhaps the fastest softball cricket bowler at present, in Niko Seepersaud.


Seepersaud is very quick and sometimes go astray, but should he be on target he is very hard to bat against. He has good support in his skipper Andrew Gonsalves and a good wicketkeeper in Prashad Mahadeo. This game could go either way as cricket is played on a pitch and weather condition has much to do with it.


In the division IIA, in the first game Flasherz will take on North Stars. Both teams bring a load of talented young cricketers, so far in the season Flasherz has only lost one match. They will be counting on their skipper Rocco Dindayal and the Singh’s brothers to close out North Stars.


North Stars will not go down easy; this team has scored well over two hundred runs in a game this season. North Stars skipper Shawn will be looking for his team to continue their super batting and bowling to come alive in a big way to move them to the finals.


In game two of this division, Wolfpack will have to wait for the outcome of the game between Nationals and Invaders. Wolfpack started the season on a slow note, but after the third game they rise to the challenge and has played superb cricket since. Wolfpack skipper Dev Autar will be looking for a big game from his batsmen Anand Hargobin and Eric Jaikarran. Their bowling will be spearheaded by Rudy Baichulall, Wazim, Mowla and Autar.


In division IIB these teams are really hot, of the four remaining team anyone can win this division. Crown XI team has not lost a game so far in the season. This team is looking for a real challenge and they will be taking on Champions. This could be the week when Crown XI gets a real feel of their team strength and weakness. Both of these teams have done an excellent job recruiting in the off season and the winner of this game could well take this division.


Champion’s manager Mohan will be counting on his team to take down Crown XI, while Crown XI manager Raheem would like to keep their winning streak alive.


In the second game of division IIB, Next Generation will challenge Dara Singh and his Young Warriors team. Next Generation strength is their bowling, they have three very quick bowlers in their front line. Their batting is very questionable, but once their bowlers can restrict the opposing team batting, their batsmen could get the job done.


Young Warriors will be bringing a good all round team, their batting will, be led by the veteran Dara Mangal and Suresh Persaud. Both Mangal and Persaud will return and do some bowling and they will be supported by Bersford and Roy Jaikaran.

Untouchables will be counting on All rounder Peter Sookdeo, for big performances in Playoffs

Hustlers and Untouchables Advance To Playoffs

By James Persaud

May 11, 2011

Both Hustlers and Untouchables have played unbeaten after five rounds in the NYSCL 2011 25 Over Championship, sponsored by PK Real Estate, Loans and Mortgage Services. With these two teams already qualify; the rest of teams will be juggling for qualifying slots in the last two regular season matches.


The competition has gone well so far, and some new faces and teams have stuck a claim to playoffs spots. The last two rounds will have a deciding factor for many teams in all the divisions and groups.


While the two teams that have already qualified have played some very good cricket, the remaining two games can still determine where they are placed in the playoffs. The Hustlers players has not have a real test so far, their bowlers has been getting their fair share of work, while the their batting has not being given the chance to chase huge totals.


Last Sunday the two undefeated teams in group B, United Stars and Untouchables played and Untouchables won. But the Ravin Ivan led United Stars will rebound and they already have enough wins to make playoffs. I knew that the United Stars players were hoping to be the number one seed entering the playoffs.


Hustlers will face their biggest challenge when they take on Assassins before the playoffs; this game could well decide who hold onto the number one spot in that group. On like Hustlers, the new looks Untouchables has had a good run so far in the season. Both their batsmen and bowlers had their fair share of work. Once Untouchables is able to hold onto this core of players their season could be a very long and exciting one.


Assassins has played good cricket, but has not really dominate their space-but then again this is the Assassins and they know how to play when the big challenge arise. 


As you look at the emerging teams who will be sticking claim to the top division, Sheffield has been playing very exciting cricket and putting up huge total. A team that could well be a brick wall for many of the others, who is vying for playoffs spot is Goodfellas. Goodfellas is a team who took many pieces from other premier teams and was able to put out a good product. This team has equally good batting and bowling along with some good old time cricket knowledge.


Titans, Cavaliers and Liberty Knights will be hard pressed to making the playoffs; Liberty Knights has bowling but not enough batting. Titans and Cavaliers is hitting form at the right time and one might be able to pull through. Wildfire who has added some new players for the season is holding onto a strong position for playoffs, while Sunrise and Phantom will be looking to change this.


In division two a lot of new teams have emerge to sticking claim to playoffs. This division always plays exciting cricket as the teams tries to get to the higher divisions. The sixth round will decide for at least four teams who will qualify and the other will have to wait for the last round.


North Stars, Flasherz, Nationals, Renegade, Royal Challenger and East Coast XI, with a win in the sixth round could all secure a playoffs slot. The rest of the teams in this division will have to wait for the last round to do the same. This division has some very aggressive teams who are putting up over two hundred runs week after week.


In the last division all the teams will be looking to spoil the other team chances of making the playoffs. The only team in this division who has a clear lock on playoffs so far is Crown XI. So far this season Crown XI has been playing dominating cricket and last Sunday they were able to held onto Legends for a tie, in a very exciting and the first tie finish for the season.


 Next Generation started the season slow, but for the last four weeks they have picked their game up. They along with Legends, Champions, Vipers, Young Brothers and Better Hope B could lock their playoffs spots with a win this Sunday.


In the qualifying rounds some teams will play good cricket one week and very poor the other, because there is always another game. In the playoffs teams would have to bring their best game from the start, there is no place for mistakes for three weeks. But there are teams with players who give that extra efforts and makes the big plays, in the big game.


This competition is schedule to finish before the league’s midsummer classic, the Independence Cup 2011. All the top players would be hoping to hit form before this time as the teams from Florida, Canada, NY Cricket Doctor, Guyana All Stars, NY Dream Team and the other top teams have all secure their spot for this Inter States tournament.


Also the NYSCL Legends Cup (over 45 years old) tournament will be played at the same time. NYSCL legends will be looking to continue their dominance in this competition. NY Dream Team will be hard pressed to repeat as the indication is that all the softball premier players will be here in New York for three days of exciting cricket.