It was going to be a BIG day at the Cricket Stadium – 3 games of the American College Cricket Southeast Championship,a huge ceremony launching the BIG Broward Cricket Academy and League followed by a BIG Broward Cricket League match. Another 2 games were played at the Brian Piccolo field.
Florida International University (FIU) played the new University of Florida team, then Auburn faced FIU. The University of Central Florida (UCF) then battled Auburn.
FIU were 78 all out, with Vijay Pappu getting 3 wickets for 10 runs. The UF Gators, in their American College Cricket debut had no trouble chasing down, led by Vishesh who slammed 51* off just 35 balls out of the Gators 79 for 3 wickets. Game MVP was Vihesh Vikas.
FIU was sent into bat by Auburn and struggled against the swinging ball, being all out for 87. Captain Phani Vabbina, 17 and Varun Penmatsa,14 top scored as Auburn’s bowlers, Prasanna Venkatesh took 3 wickets for 4 runs, Ahmed Faraz 3 wickets for 12 runs and Naveen Thiagajaran 2 for 18 dominated. Auburn had shown their bowling strength at the national Championship in March.Naveen Thiagajaran,37 steered Auburn to victory,with Faraz contributing 13 as Auburn made 88 for the loss of 3 wickets in 14.3 overs.Thiagajaran was Game MVP.
The University of Central Florida vs Auburn game was decided on the final ball, by one run in a extra-thrilling game that has become common in American College Cricket.Auburn made 105 for 4 wickets, Sarthi Kandaswammy topscoring with 28* and Ahmed Faraz,21*. UCF’s Melan Jansz took 3 wickets for 21 runs. Auburn got UCF star Sai Ramesh for a duck off Venkatesh but the other UCF batsmen fought back and made 104 for 7 wickets when their innings ended, 1 short of a tie,2 short of a win ! Auburn’s Rahul Potghan got 2 wickets for 15, and Naveen Thiagajaran took 2 for 12. Franco Gunasekar and Ajit Patel both made 18 for UCF. Kandaswammy was Game MVP.
The Auburn team had driven 14 hours to play, and earned themselves a place in the Finals with their 2 wins.
Over at Brian Piccolo field the University of Central Florida pulled a surprise by defeating the University of South Florida whilst the new University if Tampa team won against the Univervity of Miami,
Whilst the games were going on the Secret Service were checking out the Pavilion, prior to the arrival of the Prime Minister of Guyana Sam Hinds. Other VIP’s, American College Cricket President Lloyd Jodah and VP Nino DiLoreto, BIG League USA CEO Salman Ahmed, Florida State Representative Hazel Rogers ,Broward County Commissioner Dale Holnes, Guyana Consulate General Ram Ali, CEO of Queens Park Oval in Trindad & Tobago Lisa Abraham,Lauderhill Operations Leslie Johnson, CBRP Manager Duncan Finch and USACA 2nd. V.P Mohammad Monaf were also present.
BIG League USA,strategic partner of American College Cricket, was launching BIG Broward Cricket Academy (primarily for youths), as well as BIG Broward Cricket League, in conjuction with Broward County and overseen by Nino DiLoreto. The League will play games on Friday and Saturday nights, and on Sunday in the Stadium.There will also be a league on Wednesday evenings which college teams will play in.
The Academy under Director Rick Toolsie, will provide coaching on Sturdays from 10 am to 2 pm for youths as well as American College Cricket players. A bowling machine will be available.
The importance of this BIG Saturday cannot be overstated as the Stadium has been under continuous threats from forces seeking to take it away from cricket. Finally regular cricket will happen, but most importantly the Academy is being established. The work American College Cricket has done, from March 2009 when it brought the New York Times and the first American College Cricket Spring Break Championship to the Park, is bearing fruit, with BIG League USA’s entry on the scene.