By Dyon Ravello
As predicted Richmond Hill’s encounter with league leaders ACS/Everest did not fail to be a steamy encounter in the sweltering heat at the Cage. Everest won the toss and inserted Richmond Hill to take first strike. Everest imploring their attacking tactics with two leg slips for veteran left arm seamer Saheed Amin. That paid immediate dividends as as Rayo Sankar was caught by Zamin Amin in the close catching position down the leg, a peculiar but proven ACS strategy. Debo Sankar played a few expansives shots as he attempted to counteract the spot on bowling from Saheed and new ball partner Trevor Walke. Debo chipping, going for another one over the top played over the delivery to lose his off stump. Dhaniram Seepersaud given another opportunity up the order, looked the part taking the fight to Walke and Saheed. Seepersaud witnessed Zaheer Sadloo bowled by the faintest of contact as the bail fell in a delayed motion. Seepersaud’s cameo would come to an end as he held out to Saheed caught at long on by Gregory Sewdial for 22. Richmond Hill four down on their own ground at the first drinks break.
On the resumption following Saheed and Walke completing their eight over quota unchanged, Karan Ganesh struck another blow with his first delivery as Shameer Sadloo edged to wicket keeper Tamesh Balwant. Prashad Mahadeo was joined by Mahendra Seeram as they attempted to stem the procession to and fro, but Ganesh induced another error as Seeram offered a simple catch to cover. Mahadeo thumped on anything loose before he was bowled by Aun Merchant playing across the line for 27. Deryck Mac Donald, and Brandon Bess consolidate batting some 13 overs together to absorb the ACS pressure. Mac Donald was caught on the cover boundary by Merchant off the newest addition to the Everest line up, pacer Fahad Shahnawaz. Richmond Hill were rewarded for their patience as Bess capitalize stroking six huge sixes and four fours as he remained unbeaten on 72. In the penultimate over Merchant had no answer as Bess belt three of his maximums to tarnish the pacers returns. Roderick Lovell supported the West Indian Test bowler with two boundaries and a six, Richmond hill recovering from a precarious position to post a competitive total of 208/8. ACS were led by captain Karan bowling 8-1-15-2, Saheed Amin 8-1-20-2 and Walke 8-1-42-2.
Following the impressive start in the field Everest were disappointed that the plans were not executed through to the end as they chased at least 30 runs more than they would have bargained for. Bess was anything from the best with the ball as he continued to struggle with wides sprayed across the pitch. At the other end First Class pacer Lovell took care of Merchant caught at first slip by Shameer of a lifting delivery. Bess searching for his rhythm, line and length found himself struggling as he flared up a foot injury. Bess delivered two full pitched deliveries over the waist, but without causing danger to the batsmen. Following the second fault Bess complained of his discomfort as the umpires consulted but did not suspend the bowler for the rest of the match as the batsman were not in danger with the wide deliveries. Mahendra Seeram replaced Bess with distinction as he kept the explosive Gregory Sewdial in check. Sewdial pounced on the short and wide deliveries from Lovell as he drove over cover point. Seeram aka “Sunil” induced an edge for Mac Donald to accept at slip to remove the former US youth captain Sewdial.
Karan Ganesh came to the crease already in second gear as he took advantage of Seeram so much so he had to be replaced. Ganesh played a faulty pull off Lovell but the chance fell in no man’s land between mid off and the bowler. Ganesh playing the pull a second time failed again edging to wicket keeper Mahadeo. Richmond Hill Skipper Ramphal Bactowar replaced Seeram but he too had his share of disdain as opener Steve Nowrangilall took 14 runs of Bactowar’s first over. Seeram returned and accounted for Nowrangilall caught at deep cover for 29. Everest losing their fourth wicket following the first drinks break with the match evenly poised. Bess returned in the 18th over as Ganesh clarified the grounds on which Bess was allowed to continue bowling in the match . Bess seemed a bit more compact as he found the edgy of Amjad Khan down the leg for Mahadeo to complete the dismissal. Seeram completed his spell with another scalp Balwant caught at slip by Mac Donald. At the fall of Balwant the sixth wicket Everest Skipper Ganesh informed the umpires that they were playing the game under protest, in reference to Bess being allowed to return to bowl.
Zamin Amin and Terry Hastoo mixed quick running with power stroke-play to counter the slide. Zamin took ten off Bess with a six and a four to square leg as the quick was immediately removed from the attack. Left arm orthodox Shameer Sadloo accounted for Hastoo caught at point by substitute Deoram Puran for a cameo of 28. With Shameer trapping Zamin in front for 20 to sap the ACS hopes. Saheed survived another convincing appeal the very next ball from Shameer, with Shahnawaz looking able of pulling of an upset for his side. Shameer would return to have is his man leg before with no doubt this time. Trevor Walke survived another convincing appeal from Shameer’s bowling. Walke’s heroic with the ball against Atlantis was not replicated with the bat as he scoop an easy catch to Zaheer Sadloo off Seepersaud. Everest all out for 167 in 34.4 overs, playing under protest stating that Bess had no grounds to return to bowl. Everest had even included an addendum to the protest, claiming Bess and Shameer were not wearing the correct uniform. Bess and Shameer both wore green shirts identical to the remaining members of the team with the textile being the most notable difference. Shahnawaz remained unbeaten on 22 as Shameer 6-0-19-3, Mahendra Seeram 8-0-31-3 and Roderick Lovell 8-0-40-2 with key strikes to limited the ACS chase. Brandon Bess 72 runs with the bat causing a stir with the ball more of a technical nature, nonetheless the match winner on the day.
Richmond Hill looking to keep up the pressure in the race to the semifinals maintaining third spot on 43 points. Both Big Apple and Atlantis returned to winning ways after they both dropped points to Richmond Hill and Everest respectively. Atlantis occupy fourth and Big Apple fifth both on 40 points with run rate as the tie break. MMZ have drawn level on points with Everest after defeating Hillside. MMZ return to the Cage where the chased 284 to beat Big Apple, in another high intensity affair against Richmond Hill who look like setting a fortress at Foch. Everest journey to Brentwood to play Long Island United who have no chance of advancing. Atlantis host cellar place Liberty at Hecksher and Big Apple look to keep the pressure on when the play the dangerous Hillside.