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Collegiate Cricket On the Front Foot

By Lloyd Jodah

Oct. 10th, 2000
Interest in and among colleges around the country is gaining momentum, as players and even those with just a passing interest in the sport of cricket, have begun gearing up for the second annual American College Cricket Spring Break Championship, scheduled for spring 2010.

Players of
University of Pennsylvania.

Members of George Washington University: Frederick Bolageer, Hugo F Scheckter, Ishaan Prakash, Jahan Tahiliani, Alexander 'Ali' Sternberg, Curt Sonnet, Quraish Fazleabas Lloyd Jodah Mustafa Karim, Amr Hassan, Abhishek Pansari, Ankit? Sheth Victor Williams, Kanishk Mishra.

GWU and UPenn Scrimmage
It was a beautiful day in Philadelphia, about 75 degrees with brilliant sunshine and perfect for cricket. Ankit Sheth, Alexander "Ali" Sternberg and Curt Sonnet were anxious. As co-founders of the George Washington University (GWU) Cricket Club they wondered how their nascent team would do in their first hardball game. Their opponent was the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn), which has fielded a cricket team since 1842. The week before UPenn had won against Princeton University.

The Finnegan Park field was large and thick with grass; boundaries were going to be rarer than a Detroit Lions touchdown. UPenn's captain Hassan Ali Raza won the toss and decided to bat, only to find the ball keeping low. Opening the bowling for GWU was Shaan Mehta, who played at the Under-19 level for the New York Region. Mehta's pace and accuracy surprised the UPenn team, uprooting Teja's stump with his second delivery. A bail flew so far a search ensued to recover it, whereupon the GWU 12th man declared that "This was the first time the team had played with bails!" GWU Captain Aamir Hassan sent back two batsmen to make UPenn 15 for 3.

The GWU players were ecstatic whilst UPenn couldn't believe what was happening. However when Mehta came out of the attack, the middle-order batsmen Roshan (18), Jay (23) and Ali (11) mounted a spirited rally for UPenn. Scoring was difficult on the pitch and the outfield grass was more stifling than the NY Giants defense - lofted balls stopped where they landed. Only two boundaries were scored in UPenn's 98. Shaan Mehta took 3 for 10 and Amir Hassan 2 for 7.

Curt Sonnet played football and baseball in High School and came to college "looking for something new." He was introduced to cricket two and a half years ago and epitomizes the curious athletes that cricket can attract in colleges. The confident catch Curt took at long-on showed how far he had come.

Ali Sternberg was born in New York, and picked up his cricket when he spent two years in Australia. Together with Ankit Sheth, inspired by the 2009 American College Cricket Spring Break Championship, they started the Club and Ankit reached out to local Media. They succeeded in getting the Washington Post to do a story on the GWU Cricket Club.

GWU's opening batsmen stroked the ball well before captain Hassan went to a questionable run out decision. Mehta played some good shots and looked set to take GWU to victory. Victor Williams briefly looked good whilst Abhisek Pansari hit the lone six. UPenn’s bowling led by Ali Raza and their fielding corralled GWU for 74.

"We're getting ready for the 2010 American College Cricket Spring Break Championship," Shaan Mehta said.

As for the UPenn Cricket Club they were taking on all-comers and next wanted to challenge the 2009 College Champions Montgomery.

Other Upcoming College games:
Saturday Oct 10th - UCONN vs. YALE at Kenney Park, CT
Sunday Oct 11th - BOSTON University vs. RUTGERS (tentative)
Info Contact Lloyd 718 751 6117

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