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Eight Annual Rueben Wade Memorial Game
Eric Ferrier, Sooknarain Persaud To Be Honored

By Orin Davidson and Nandram Bhawanidin
Sept. 30th, 2009
On Saturday October 3rd, cricket fans in New York will once again witness, with great expectations, the traditional rivalry between cricket teams from the West Coast Demerara, Guyana, villages of Uitvlugt and Cornelia Ida (CI).

Eric Ferrier will be honored by Friends of Rueben Wade group at this year event.

The two teams will battle for the prestigious Rueben Wade trophy. This is the 8th year for the event which is organized by The Friends of Rueben Wade (FORW).

The organizers are urging the public to come out and share the excitement of a good soft ball cricket match.

The match is scheduled to start at 12.00 noon at Peters Field Park located at 183rd Street and Liberty Avenue in Queens, NY.

Uitvlugt: Rabindranauth Singh (capt.), Amit, Sultan Khan, Dara Mangal, Lenard Bisram, Gerald Sookhoo, Paul Singh, Khemchand Lilkomar, Shivram Sewsankar, Bharat Persaud, Fazil Hassan and Naiz Hakh.

CI: Erapalli Sahadeo, Ravi Sahadeo, Anand Chaitram, Navin Sahadeo, Hubert, Lenny Mangra, David, Raymond, Prakash Sankar, Latchman, Subhas Sankar and Mikey Persaud.

This year FORW will acknowledge the contributions of the former Uitvlugt Community Center Cricket Club all-rounder Sooknarain Persaud, popularly known as ‘Hitler’, and softball cricket administrator, Eric Ferrier, president of the New York Softball Cricket Association (NYSCA).

Eric Ferrier's dedication and love for softball cricket cannot be questioned. It is easy to understand why he could easily be labeled 'Mr Softball’, having served the sport in New York unstintingly for seemingly a life-time as an administrator.

No one would doubt that Eric is mainly responsible for making softball cricket tick in the Big Apple.

On Saturday he will lend his expertise to another form of cricket, in the annual Ruben Wade Memorial game.

Ferrier provides the most important requirement for the event, that of the ground. He has used his connections for the last four years in this regard. This year will be his fifth and Ferrier has indicated he will continue to do so once he is around.

The late Reuben Wade, an outstanding player in his time, happens to be compatriot of Ferrier from the same district of West Demerara in Guyana. But it matters not whether you are associated with him in one form or the other, Eric will assist in whatever way he can especially if it is cricket. The organizers of the Reuben Wade game, thus are very grateful for his help over the years, to the extent that Ferrier has become their go-to man.

Presently he is serving his fourth year as president of the NYSCA and would likely remain at the top of the administrative ladder for as long as he desires, given the high appreciation the players and administrators have for Ferrier, who has been giving his time freely to softball for close to 20 years in New York alone.

He has weathered all the storms and savored the success at the same, along the way while making himself the longest serving official in New York softball.
It all began way back in 1995 when Ferrier and two others decided it was time to create some organizational structure in the fast growing sport of softball.

At the time he was heading one of New York’s most popular teams Untouchables, but Ferrier was confident he could wear two hats given his expertise and dedication. So they formed the Caribbean Softball Association for which Ferrier served as head of the disciplinary committee.

When one of the founder members decided to split to eventually form the West Indies Softball Association, the NYSCA was setup in 1999. This time he decided to don a third hat. Eric moved up to accept the vice presidential position and again, the former player who has a military background decided to be in charge of discipline.

Years later, growing resentment by clubs against the leadership of the organization threatened a collapse of the association.

But Ferrier would have none of it and rallied the troops to win the presidency in 2005. It was an easy victory for the most recognized and well liked man in the sport and softball never looked back.The sport took on new meaning and already he has served one term of the three-year presidency that led to his re-election last year. And Eric is proud to announce that the sport has grown fast in recent times.

“When we started out there were 32 clubs, now we have 52,” he explains.
If money was in softball, Ferrier would’ve been a rich man as he played a major role in developing the sport into a family institution within the Guyanese immigrant communities. It has become something of a must for families to get involve in every summer, Ferrier relates.

He also feels softball has prevented many young men from straying off on the wrong track into drugs and alcohol.

Ferrier attributes the growth of the NYSCA to their attractive competitions and high standard of play. “We have gone around the country with teams (representative) and won competitions and people like that”.

The Independence Cup has developed into the crown jewel competition of the association which attracts teams from as far as Florida, Canada and even some from home in Guyana.
Such a spike in interest is causing the NYSCA headaches in acquiring grounds in the Parks to stage games. It is the biggest challenge so far for Ferrier who hopes one day to see his association having a facility specifically dedicated to softball.
Nevertheless with experience as a player and team manager back in Guyana for the Guyana Defense Force (GDF), the Guyana Sugar Corporation and the Guyana Pharmaceutical Corporation, Ferrier is well equipped to overcome the challenges whatever they may be.

It is a long and successful journey for the man from Pearl village on the West Demerara.
That journey continues with another lead role for Ferrier in this weekend’s Reuben Wade Memorial game.

Sooknarain Persaud can be remembered as a fine all-rounder, an elegant and compact batsman and a competent off-break bowler for the Uitvlugt Community Center Cricket Club (Uitvlugt). He made his entry to the Uitvlugt team in 1966 when the Community Center was established.

Prior to that he played for the village club. At the time he joined Uitvlugt he played alongside Rasheed, Bajadeen Khan, Ganga Persaud (Pt Loka), Paul Kissoon, Mohan Lall, Gurpersaud, Allan Petty, to name a few.

During the formative years of his cricket career he was a very dependable middle order batsman and a useful off break bowler. Subsequently he developed a well deserved reputation of a fine all-rounder. Time and time again he was the mainstay of the Uitvlugt batting and his bowling always brought him 3 or 4 wickets.

Over the years he represented Uitvlugt in all the senior cricket competitions - Drayton Cup, Ramsarran Trophy and the Ansa 40 Overs Trophy, the first limited over cricket on West Demerara.

He eventually graduated to the number 3 position in the batting order. He played an important role in the first Ansa Trophy Final - Uitvlugt vs Leonora, which Uitvlugt won. He represented Uitvlugt against visiting teams such as Port Mourant, Albion, Blairmont and a team from South Trinidad. He was a key player in the historic 12 week, rain affected, cricket match, Uitvlugt vs CI in which Uitvlugt won on the 12th week.

Of the many gems he played he considered the 100's against Meten-meer-zorg and Wales, and the 85 against Windsor Forest as his all time favorites.

His cricketing career ended with Uitvlugt in 1975. He continued playing a few inter-department cricket for the Uitvlugt Factory where he worked. He featured in the first year's final - Crop Control vs Factory. Though he made 67 it was not enough to beat Crop Control.

His exit from the Uitvlugt cricket was with grace. He respected and was well respected by his team mates and showed great civility and appreciation to the many fans that witnessed him played.

He would always be proud to have played cricket alongside Gurupersaud, Mohan Lall, Basil Ramnarine, Abdool Samad and the late Reuben Wade, Mohamed Dowlat, Arnold (Spirit) and Roopchand McKoon (may God rest their souls), and others. Deogopaul Mangal (may God rest his soul) would always be remembered as the live wire for Uitvlugt cricket during that era.

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