GUYANA sides, Regal Masters and Regal All-Stars have announced their presence in the 12th annual New York Softball Cricket League Independence Cup with exceptional cricket that has brightened the opening day of action in Queens, New York.
Regal Masters easily brushed aside debutants Tropical Springs Masters and Tri-State Masters in convincing fashion and are the team to beat in the Masters’ over-45 category heading into yesterday final preliminary round and semifinals.
In their final group match, the unbeaten Regal Masters will come up against defending champions and fellow Guyana side, Floodlights Masters who are also unbeaten at 09:00hrs before their semifinal at 13:00hrs.
In the opening game at the Canarsie Park, Regal Masters beat Tropical Springs Masters by the wide margin of 169 runs. Regal won the toss and from there the assault began.
Opener Eon “Rapper” Abel smashed nine sixes and four fours in the top score of 90 and shared a vital second-wicket partnership of 115 runs with Mahesh Chunilall who made 38. Skipper Mahendra Hardyal who got off the mark with a huge six perished early on for nine but his dismissal paved the way for the batting display that followed.
After Chunilall and Abel were dismissed in the 13th and 15th overs respectively, Eric Thomas and Rudolph Baker took over. The left-handed Thomas clobbered a quick fire 57 not out (8×6; 4×4) while the right-hander Baker flayed the bowling for 55 not out (8×6) as the pair put on 107 runs in just over four overs that pushed the total to 268/3. In all, six bowlers were employed by Tropical Springs with Anand Persaud bagging two wickets for 48 runs from his quota of four overs in brilliant sunshine.
Tropical Springs who showed glimpses of hope were eventually restricted to 99 for 8 when their overs expired. Ameir Ahmad who retired hurt on 24 was the only batsman that showed some pedigree to the tight Regal Masters bowling. Left-arm bowler, Laurie Singh was very economical in picking up 2 for 11 from his four overs while Pooran Singh (2/20), Throy Kippins (1/16) and David Harper (1/18) were also in the wickets column.
In their second game, the Regal Masters’ batting was once again on the pulse as the Campbellville based side registered a nine-wicket victory over Tri-State Masters. Batting first, the home team looked organized in scoring 164 for 8 but their bowling failed to follow through.
Gavin Longhorn top scored with 59 while Kippins was on the ball again with 3-34 and was supported by Parsram “Pacer” Persaud (2/33) and Laurie Singh (2/48).
In the rapid reply, openers Abel and Chunilall were once again in pugnacious mood when they put on 150 runs for the opening wicket in 10 overs.
Abel brought up the winning runs to finish on 75 not out (3×6; 9×4) when the target of 165 was achieved at the end of the 12th over for the loss of Chunilall’s wicket. Chunilall who was brilliantly caught on the midwicket boundary made 78 (8×6; 1×4) while Mohendra Arjune was not out on four with the score on 165 for 1.
Regal Masters will now meet nemesis Floodlights who are also unbeaten after their two victories over Tri-State Masters and Tropical Springs respectively. Both teams are assured of semifinal places and chances are a repeat of the 2016 and 2017 final in on the cards.
In the Open category, Regal All-Stars won both of their preliminary matches and will now meet SVC All-Stars in a heated clash in their final preliminary round game this morning before their semifinals at the Baisley Pond Park in Queens.
The finals are set for today at the Roy Wilkins Park. (John Ramsingh report and Photos)