NYSCL 2019 INDEPENDENCE CUP
SPONSORED BY: NYSCL
Toronto Blizzards waltz to NYSCL Pro Cup title
By Frederick Halley
July 4, 2019
Last year Royal Canadian Masters (RCM) created history, becoming the first team from Canada to win a softball title in or out of the country when they captured the Pro Cup (Over-50) title, played as part of the New York Softball Cricket League (NYSCL) annual Independence Cup.
Last Sunday, the feat was repeated by the Toronto Blizzards, who in a masterful display defeated New York Hustlers by seven runs in a pulsating final, played at Seaview Park, Canarsie, Brooklyn, New York.
Urged on by a contingent from across the border and facing their toughest opponents in the final, the players from the land of the Maple Leaf ensured that their ardent fans received a 152nd Independence anniversary gift.
Playing unbeaten in the three-day tournament, Toronto Blizzards were indebted to a marvellous 118-run second-wicket partnership between former Canadian international player Desmond Chumney (80) and former Guyana batsman Jaimini Singh (36), after they were rocked back at 24 for two in the fourth over, losing the key wickets of skipper Shiv Seeram (14) and Sunil Dhaniram (one), both former Guyana players.
From thereon, it was the Chumney/Singh show, with the former being the aggressor, belting four fours and five towering sixes while Singh’s knock contained four fours. The entertaining and face-saving partnership was broken in the 17th over, Singh going caught off Linden Longhorne at 142 for three while Chumney departed shortly after, bowled by P. Beaton.
The rest of the batting floundered as Toronto Blizzards were restricted to 162 for eight in the allotted 20 overs with Longhorne finishing with the impressive figures of three for 26 from his four overs. Two run-outs didn’t help the visitors’ cause.
New York Hustlers started disastrously, losing L. Fraser (one), via run-out while the other opener N. Robertson (0) went caught-and-bowled by the wily Satrohan ‘Blade’ Balkarran in the first over as they slipped to two for two.
The experienced Ken Sanichar (31) and Quayyam Farrouq (23) mounted a third-wicket recovery stand which yielded 60 runs, but once the two were separated, New York Hustlers slid to 65 for five in the 11th over.
Longhorn, in a fine all-round display, rallied the lower-order almost singlehandedly, spanking an aggressive 46 (five fours), sharing an important 58-run sixth-wicket partnership with Ronald Evelyn (15 not out) as New York Hustlers fought their way back into the game.
The home team was, however, undone by a hat-trick from Mike Kisten (three for 34) who grabbed two wickets with the fifth and sixth deliveries of his third over and one with the first ball of the fourth. Surprise package Mohan Harirar also chipped in with two in his first of two overs, finishing with two for 15.
With 15 needed in the final over and only one wicket remaining, captain Seeram entrusted the over to his most experienced bowler in Balkarran who conceded six runs before last man Ashraf Ally failed to make his ground, attempting a second run as New York Hustlers were dismissed for 155 in 19.5 overs.
The semi-final saw Toronto Blizzards win by 38 runs over NYSCL, reaching 192 for five in 20 overs and dismissing the home team for 154 in 19.1 overs. Seeram 59 (five fours), Chumney (38 not out) and Singh (28) were the principal scorers while Tony Fernandez spanked three fours and five sixes in his 62 for the losers.
The consistent Seeram had earlier started the tournament in emphatic fashion, smashing six fours and five sixes in 84 and sharing a 159-run second-wicket stand with Sunil Dhaniram, whose 57 included six fours and four sixes, the two rolling back the years.
Opponents Orlando Masters were left high and dry at 92 for five when their overs expired. Seeram, who totalled 212 runs in his five innings, the most by any player, was the obvious choice for the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award while Chumney copped the man-of-the-match for the final. The highest individual score (85) trophy went to Deochand Ramjattan of Rockaway Pro; most wickets (nine) to Langhorne of NY Hustlers; best bowling figures in a game (four for 10) to Ronald Evelyn of NY Hustlers while Mike Kisten of Blizzards received a monetary prize for his hat-trick.
Toronto Blizzards owe their formation to businessman Nasrudeen Baksh, an ardent enthusiast and supporter of the Ontario Masters Softball Cricket Clubs (OMSCC) and were managed by Azeem Khan who is also the OMSCC president.