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Bitter/Sweet Experience For Under-19 Champs

By Orin Davidson
In the after glow of New York's successful campaign in the national Under-19 championships, one is forced to take the sweet with the bitter.

The players were outstanding. They lived up to all expectations and restored bragging rights to New York that were temporarily doused over the last two years where New York teams, especially the senior ones, are concerned.

Many kudos are due captain Akeem Dodson and his men.

Yet without the management skills of the team's handlers who invested valuable time, money and energy to thoroughly prepare the squad, we would not be feeling on top of the world today.

Beginning with the team's participation in the Eastern Conference competition, the likes of team coach Linden Fraser, manager Lester Hooper, former New York Director Clifford Hinds and longstanding supporters JP Singh and Lloyd Dickson, were unstinting in their work with the boys.

Not to mention the support offered by Kris Prasad the de facto current New York Director, whose interest never strayed from the junior team despite wearing many hats in the cricket activities within the city.

Those individuals did the best they could under the circumstances and were rewarded with an emphatic 100 percent performances by the youngsters.

The emergence of Gregory Sewdial as an all-rounder of the future was the biggest individual find last weekend in Florida. At a mere 16 years, he displayed the maturity of a batsman and leg spin bowler well beyond his years and was a striking example of perseverance bringing success. No player his age around these parts would’ve had the intense nurturing Sewdial's father Michael provided him from the time he was strong enough to handle a bat. His MVP award was well deserved.
So was the exemplary bowling display of Alex Kirton and all the other contributions Dodson and company provided.

The stirring performances though, were hardly rewarded in tangible ways by the United States of America Cricket Association (USACA) or the cricket fraternity here in New York.

USACA being the pitiful organization it is, it was not too surprising that proper prizes were not on offer for the successful youngsters.

We know that its $40,000 subvention from the International Cricket Council (ICC) has been cut due to the ban the world ruling body imposed on America in March.

Yet it was shameful no sponsorship was acquired to provide trophies for the winning and runner-up teams or to better the miniscule ones given to the individual award winners.

It also resulted in the players enduring uncomfortable flights to and from Fort Lauderdale, traveling in batches in cramped planes or having to pay their own way for accommodation, food and internal transportation.

With proper planning and leg work all the requirements could've been in New York alone.

It was no different where the local supporters of the team were concerned.

Even if many were unaware of the team's assignment beforehand, a great lot were enlightened by Sunday afternoon when word spread that they had won the title, judging by the inundation of telephone calls they received for details.

Yet no one offered to provide even transportation for the players on their return to New York, from La Guardia Airport.

It resulted in some having to wait three hours before finding their way home, that extended well after mid-night and having school early the next day.

Even before the team left New York, the support was minimal. Apart from on the spot monetary contributions from the likes of senior player Deryck Kallicharran, a supply of caps from Singh’s Sports Goods store and a few shirts from Ed Ahmad, the team was left high and dry.

The players had to dole out $100 for blazers and accommodation, which is unprecedented in cricket circles, simply because supporters were oblivious and USACA failed to do its duty.

Team manager Hooper who made a big difference with his dynamic handling of the team's affairs in his first stint, plans to avert all of the said obstacles in the future.

He said he will soon embark on an aggressive fund raising drive for next year's assignments.

It will give all the supporters who couldn’t care less, a chance to stand up and be counted with tangible support.
Orin Davidson Column Homepage

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