The Sacrifices Players Make
It may have been a prelude game to the important Independence Day long weekend women’s national tournament in New York, but United States senior team member Indomatie Goordial-John had a very good day at the office.
Goordial-John top scored with 53 for the Tri-State Lynx in its 40-over game against the USA International Stars side, which was made up of players from the New York Warriors and New Jersey Phoenix teams, at Baisley Park, known as “The Cage” in Queens, New York.
Her 53 helped the Tri-State Lynx score 4/185 in 40 overs on a matting wicket and then she captured four wickets for just six runs off six overs, including a maiden, as the USA International Stars were bundled all out for 95 in 32 overs.
The USA International Stars began in promising fashion and rattled up 57 runs for the loss of just one wicket. But then they lost 3/2 in just two overs and crashed to 4/59. They lost their last six wickets for a paltry 36.
Goordial-John collected trophies for the Most Valuable Player of the game, most runs scored and most wickets by a bowler in a performance that impressed national selector Sew Shivnarine, who watched the game. The only thing missing for Goordial-John was a large bag to take home the trophies.
“It is nice to make a big score. I was happy with my day’s work,” she told USACA.org. “I enjoyed batting first because there was no pressure on us.”
The game was organized for players to stay in top shape with the coming six-team national tournament played over Friday, Saturday and Sunday over the long weekend.
As players tuned up for the match, billed as an All-Star match-up, with the TriState Lynx vs USA & International Stars at “The Cage.” It also became apparent how much cricket in the US relied on volunteers and sacrifices made by players and coaches. Goordial-John said players made long trips from New Jersey, Connecticut and Maryland to play in the contest.
Candacy Atkins, the captain of the Tri-Star Lynx and a US senior team member, made a seven-hour round trip by bus and subway from her home in Hartford, Connecticut. And Tri-State Lynx coach Linden Fraser said that food and beverages were all supplied by volunteers and players’ families.
Atkins also worked a longer shift as a parking agent on Friday and did not finish work until midnight, when she went home for a few hours sleep before boarding a bus at 6:30 am for the Port Authority in New York. In Times Square she hopped on the subway and made it to Brooklyn where a friend picked her up and drove to “The Cage” in Queens.
Atkins said she has already arranged to have two days off work without pay this week so she can compete in the nationals and, hopefully, win selection in the senior US team. This has become a regular routine for Atkins and several other players during the summer as they play the game that is close to their hearts.
For the record, the surface at “The Cage” was rough and uneven with long grass. Atkins said that the long grass slowed down the ball and the Tri-State Lynx were robbed of at least 25 runs.
Atkins, who is also studying nursing, represented the West Indies women’s team before she moved from Guyana to the US five years ago. She said the sacrifices and volunteers in US cricket made the game what it is.
“It is super crazy. It is all done for the love of the game. If I didn’t love cricket I wouldn’t be traveling so far,” she said. “I love cricket so much that I would play every day if I could.”
Atkins heaped praise on Fraser, saying: “His time and dedication to us is unbelievable. Without him we would not exist. He is coach, manager, driver, everything.”
Late in the game, the teams faced another obstacle when locals tried to put up a volleyball net in a corner of the field. This was quickly resolved when USACA Secretary John Aaron sprinted over to them and explained the field had been hired for cricket.
After the trophy presentations, the victorious Tri-State Lynx team then walked back to the wicket, rolled up the matting and carried it over to the sidelines. It was all in a day’s work and for the winning team the celebrations had to wait.