Again Reign Supreme As Champions Of The MCL
The match, which was carded to be a keen contest and a hard fought battle between the two top teams which have contributed to raising the standard of cricket in the tri-state area and have entertained the MCL with some of the most thrilling matches in recent years, began on somber note as Progressive came in with heavy hearts at the passing of several members of the clubs membership and fan base. Progressive, however, would not be deterred as they put up a brave fight and competed with the resolve of true champions.
Nevertheless, the evolving success of Cosmos was once again carefully scripted in this 2008 season as they punctuated the premier competition with another celebration in the championship match. The challenge of emulating the success of their youth team- Cosmos Kings, which won the inaugural NYPD Twenty/20 championship in a spectacular finish only a few weeks ago seemed to have been added inspiration for the senior team heading into the MCL final. The challenge was readily acquiesced and since Cosmos has been a team that has flourished when faced with challenges, Cosmos’ prolific opening batsman, the impenetrable Vinord Woolcock responded in kind.
Woolcock, who compiled 6 centuries for Cosmos last season including a record double century of 209 not out, again rose to the occasion in the championship game, meticulously constructing a textbook innings. His fellow opening batsman, the pugnacious Martin Nurse got Cosmos off to breezy start posting 50 runs in only 5 overs with a quick-fire 35 runs off 16 balls, eventually forcing Progressive to resort to three early bowling changes before he was deceived by a slower ball from John Sylvester.
Timothy Surujbally (40), who had struggled to stay in consistent form earlier in the season, applied himself for a crucial 64-run second wicket partnership with Woolcock. Dixieth Palmer, the architect of Cosmos’ victory in the semi-finals, scoring a brilliant unbeaten century, managed only a short stay at the wicket on this occasion. However, Palmer closely guarded the team’s strategy which had been carefully mapped out under the watchful scrutiny of Cosmos’ longest serving captain, former master batsman and now current coach, Ashmul Ali.
With Cosmos on 132 for 3 in the 23rd over, Orville Williams (29 n.o.), with two centuries already under his belt this season, joined Woolcock in the wicket. This pair remained unruffled in an unbroken 64-run partnership. However, it was Woolcock’s chiseled, masterful match-winning 67 not out that comfortably steered the two-time champs to their third lien on the prestigious Clement “Busta” Lawrence Trophy.
Sham Ali, the
destructive force in the semi-finals, again served up another clinical
spell of swing bowling. However, with four foiled chances, Sham went
wicket-less conceding a miserly 28 runs off his 8 overs. The consummate
professional, Kevin Darlington was again on target in his opening
spell, initiating the first breakthrough when he got one to deviate
slightly clipping the edge of captain Kevil George, who was deputizing
for former U.S. national team captain Richard Staple. Nurse, as he
has done all season, kept his team in the match bowling with genuine
pace and accuracy in his spell of 2 for 23 including a maiden off
7 overs. Cosmos captain Ricky Kissoon, with figures of 2 for 30 kept
the other end guarded and just as a budding partnership between Sylvester
and Ricky Tousaint was beginning to appear ominous for Cosmos, he
removed both batsmen in his fourth over relegating Progressive to
123 for 5 in the 31st over. It was however Mahadeo Moonesar, whose
left-hand orthodox spin mesmerized the Progressive batsmen all day
long. Moonesar’s brilliant Derek Underwood-like performance,
returning match figures of 2 for 25 of 8 overs, might have even been
more stellar had Cosmos’ fieldsmen not allowed 2 rudimentary
chances off the prolific leg spinner to go a begging. While Cosmos’
bowlers stuck to their task, the fielding was not up to its usual
high standard in this final. In the end, Progressive managed a fighting
194 all out off their allotted 39.3 overs, Selwyn Andrew leading the
way with 33, ably supported by Sylvester (30) and Mikey Alexis, who
had a swashbuckling 27 off 18 deliveries.
A satisfied and relieved Woolcock commented, “after last season’s Challenge Cup loss to Westbury, where I was able to get the team off to a good start but could not hang around to see it through to a successful end, I was determined that this championship final would be different. I am happy that I was able to deliver all the goods for Cosmos and all of our fans today.”
A graceful Progressive Manager Jeff James explained that, “very early on in the season I predicted that our 2 teams would have competed in today’s final and while we have had a number of adversities coming into the final, our team gave a good account of ourselves and our players were able to put aside personal tragedy in order to come out and play as hard as we could and in good spirits. We congratulate our friends from Cosmos, they are deserving champions.” Progressive’s captain George said, “I too am happy that we were able to compete at a high level today. Our guys gave good effort and had we bowled with a bit more discipline at the top of our bowling attack, the outcome might have been a lot different.”
Cosmos’ captain Kissoon suggested that, “any thing less than today’s outcome would have been a disappointment for our club given the level of talent that we have and the manner in which we have played our cricket all season.” Cosmos Manager Shadi Khan commented that, “while we like to beat up on teams, I feel badly that it had to be Progressive that we had to defeat for this championship. We share a very deep bond with Progressive but unfortunately today someone had to win and someone had to lose.” Khan then added slyly, “I’m just glad that it was us [that won].” Ever the perfectionist, Coach Ashmul Ali expressed that, “while we achieved our goal of regaining the MCL championship for 2008, I felt that we could have executed much better while we were in the field. However, I am very pleased with the effort of all the guys and of course particularly pleased with today’s outcome.”
Cosmos are 2008 MCL Champions.
COSMOS WON BY 7 WICKETS.
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