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The triumphant New York Under-19 team minus captain Akeem Dodson takes time off after defeating Southern California for the title on Sunday. From left back row: JP Singh (Statistician), Abdulla Syed, Chris Sirkissoon, Francis Mendonca, Dwayne Hurley, Alex Kirton, Umer Farooq, Azruddin Mohamed, Javein Thomas Linden Fraser (coach). Front row from left kneeling: Gregory Sewdial, Basdeo Ramnarian, Kester Grant, Hugo D'Oliveria and Shaan Metha.

New York Storms To National Under-19 Title

By Orin Davidson
New York doesn’t normally produce tornadoes but its Under-19 team proved as destructive a force as Hurricane Dean over the weekend in Florida.

The squad led by cracking performances from Gregory Sewdial and Alex Kirton rode roughshod over the opposition to regain the United States national Under-19 title, leaving in their wake shell shocked home team Southern California (South West Region) and defending champions Northern California (North West) on Sunday and Saturday.

Following their shock failure last year to defend the title, when Northern California capitalized, New York pummeled Southern California in the final on Sunday after walking all over Northern California in the semi-finals the previous day, leaving no prisoners at Brian Piccolo Park in the 50 overs a side series.

Highest wicket taker prize winner Alex Kirton (right) receives his medal from USACA president Gladstone Dainty.

Sewdial and Kirton were the stars of the show for two days in succession as Southern California was shot out for 98, chasing a reduced target after New York started well but subsided for 198 all out in 42 overs.

Sixteen year-old Sewdial continued his brilliant form from the first match, by hammering 69, batting at number four. Opener Basdeo Ramnaraine made a solid 26 while the experienced Akeem Dodson chipped in with 25. From a position of 142-3, the bottom half of the innings folded due to fine leg spin bowling from Sandhu Surpreet who bagged four wickets for 34 runs to record Southern California's best performance in an otherwise dismal day. Medium pacer Deval Panchal took 2-32 while the run outs of Kester Grant and Javein Thomas aided the collapse.

It did not matter much however, as Kirton and Sewdial, the latter rounding off a brilliant all round display put the issue beyond doubt with fine spin bowling.

Southern California could not even make use of a reduced target of 167 off 42 overs after half an hour was lost because of a rain stoppage.
They eventually crumbled for 106 in 36.5 overs.
Kirton wreaked havoc, bagging four wickets for a miserly nine-run tally with his left arm orthodox spin while Sewdial returned with the ball in a telling leg spin exhibition to capture 3-19 from four overs. Thomas, Dwayne Hurley Umer Farrooq supported with one wicket each.

Southern California's highest score was 19 made by Dineth Katagod, as only two other batsmen reached double figures.

In his first ever stint in the Under-19 side, Sewdial walked away with two of the three individual awards at stake. The former United States Under-15 captain won the Most Valuable Award (MVP) prize and the best batting award, for scoring 131 runs in the two games.

Kirton ended with tournament figures of seven wickets for 16 runs and was the undisputed winner of the Highest Wicket taker prize.
The other award for best fielding went to a Florida player.

The competition which only made provision for knockout play among the winners and runners up of the Western Conference and Eastern Conference competitions, got underway on Saturday with New York romping to an eight wicket victory.

Sewdial begun by slamming an undefeated 62 in New York's 183-2 when chasing 182 all out scored by Northern California on Saturday. Ramnaraine crafted an attractive 47 before retiring with a sore hamstring. Dodson made a matured 34 not out while Francis Mendonca contributed 17 in an opening partnership of 62 runs with Ramnarine.

Northern California was restricted by Kirton who returned memorable figures of three wickets for seven runs. Asruddin Mohamed also got into the act with 2-28 while Thomas and Farooq took one wicket each after two batsmen were run out.
Sidique Salima was Northern California’s best batsman with 46 while Vinny Singh made 29.

The rampaging New York team then returned the next day to seal the deal.

Manager Lester Hooper described the winning performance as an emphatic team performance which he attributed to excellent preparation throughout the summer.

"The guys really pleased everyone who saw them. Sewdial batted like a master, the openers thrilled with their footwork, not to mention Rusty's (Kirton) bowling who was fantastic," the brother of former West Indies captain Carl Hooper said. “In the first game the batsmen got the job done and when it mattered most in the finals, the bowlers were outstanding.”

He pointed out that the players adapted admirably to all the hurdles they faced of flying to Florida in batches and the discomfort of fending for themselves with transportation in Fort Lauderdale.

Hooper pointed out that coach Linden Fraser’s diligence and dedication was a prime factor in the team's success. "He ensured that they practiced for six weeks without left up and literally organized the Tri State competition, which kept the players active during the summer, single-handedly."

Fraser along with ex-West Indies wicketkeeper Junior Murray as manager, guided New York to winning the Eastern Conference title in July

Florida gained the consolation third place prize by defeating Northern California in the other game staged on Sunday also at Brian Piccolo Park.

Batting first Northern California scored 146 which Florida knocked off, hitting 147-8.

Southern California had advanced to the final by outplaying Florida in the other semi-final on Saturday. They made 189 while Florida could only muster 150.
Orin Davidson Column Homepage

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