Littleton Cricket Club(LCC) are the 2016 Premier Champions; Match Report - Last upated 18-Oct-2016 9:12am
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Littleton Cricket Club(LCC) are the 2016 Premier Chamipons
Congrats to both LCC and FRCC for being in the Finals.
Littleton Cricket Club(LCC) beat FRCC to be the 2016 Premier Champions.
More to follow soon..
FRCC @ LCC: Premier Tournament Final, Memorial Park, Oct. 16, 2016 - Reported by Raj Chitikila (LCC)
Tentative. If the 2016 season's 40-over tournament final had one memorable quality to it, the word "tentative" comes to mind.
Littleton CC hosted Front Range CC at Memorial Park in Colorado Springs, far from its home ground at Cornerstone Park which was shut down in September for renovations. Mid-October weather in Colorado can be dicey, but this day was gloriously sunny and dry with a high in the low 80s and not a hint of dew on the ground. Both clubs fielded strong sides, the umpires were the experienced duo of Suresh and Kervyn, and even a profound pessimist would have had to dig deep to conjure up any reason to expect a less than thrilling game.
Undefeated LCC probably had the edge going in, playing a hard-to-fathom fifth consecutive Premier final and hoping to win its 4th Premier title after a heart-breaking loss in last year's final. FRCC had a superb season and was aiming for its first league trophy in any format, but 2 of its 3 losses this season had come against LCC. Two hungry teams, each with a slew of accomplished and experienced players. This had all the makings of a slug fest, but someone forgot to remind the teams that cricket is, well, just a game. The pressure of the moment reared its head at unexpected times, manifesting itself through tentative play from unlikely candidates.
FRCC's Rohit called the toss correctly and chose to bat first. This year's sensational rookie, Sumeet, opened as always and looked for a long knock to set a stiff target. But, Dhiren struck early, trapping Abhinav lbw in the 3rd over. Naveen played very cautiously, and the partnership progressed at a snail's pace. Save for a monstrous six from Sumeet, there was little action to speak of until Naveen popped up a simple catch to Dhiren off Bhavya. Then occurred one of those magical moments when Raj dismissed Sanket and Waqas off consecutive balls in the 14th over. First, Sanket chopped one onto his off stump. As the teams returned from the drinks break, LCC's veteran, Kit, anticipated something no one else had, including the bowler and Captain, and nonchalantly strolled to the unorthodox position of leg slip. New batsman, Waqas, obliged him by tucking the next delivery off his pads straight into Kit's hands. Rohit didn't last long either, halfheartedly swiping at a full ball from Jay only to be caught behind. Cornered into a disastrous 45/5 after 17 overs, FRCC chose to play it safe. Amal and Sumeet dug in their heels and avoided all temptation. The problem of course was that runs were not particularly easy to come by in the face of LCC's disciplined bowling attack, and FRCC tentatively crawled to 85/5 after 29 overs. Still, the game hung in the balance and both Captains could likely envision a fighting total of around 150 if FRCC ever broke out of its cautious approach. It was at this point that Bodha beautifully set up Sumeet. He followed up three unplayable balls, including two yorkers, with a juicy full one that Sumeet, relishing the chance to swing freely, sent soaring toward the long on boundary. Unfortunately for him, Raj had been camped out there for some time and snapped up the chance just a yard from the ropes.
It is at moments like these that the game's fortunes can turn, and so it did. For LCC, that is. Bodha's next ball was short, surprising Murali with its pace and bounce and he only managed to nick it on its way to the keeper. Jay was reintroduced into the attack and bowled with his best pace of the game, far nastier than the more or less pedestrian stuff at the beginning of the game. The 31st over was a beauty. In one of those head scratching moments, Shiril skipped out of the way of a swinging yorker that started outside the leg stump and stopped only after it took the stump down. Subhashish tentatively poked the next ball straight to Bhavya a few yards away. It was then, at 88/9, that Amal decided to finally shake off the tentative approach and swing for the fences. Unfortunately, he only managed a boundary before he was caught behind off Jay. FRCC's final tally was a paltry 96 in 33 overs. Sumeet top-scored with 53 off 99 balls. The pick of the bowlers for LCC was Jay with a fantastic 8-1-23-4. Bhavya was unlucky to only end up with 1 wicket for 17 runs off his 8 overs.
In theory, LCC's chase should have been a formality. But, the memories of the club's last match against FRCC were still strong. Just two weeks ago, LCC nearly choked when it lost 8 wickets while chasing a modest 100. Perhaps with that in mind, Dhiren and Dharam were uncharacteristically tentative opening for LCC. Dhiren half swung at a full ball from Shiril in the 2nd over, but Rohit botched the easy chance at mid-off. In the ensuing overs, Sumeet dropped a straightforward chance at slip off another tenative jab by Dhiren. The odd boundary or six and infrequent singles saw LCC manage a modest 29 after 7 overs. FRCC finally got the breakthrough when a tentative punch by Dharam was gobbled up by Sanket at short mid-off. At this point FRCC's spirits were up and the next couple overs promised a repeat of the last game's batting collapse. Rohit trapped Kit lbw and Shiril bamboozled Sameer with a full toss that knocked over his middle stump. It was at this point that Bodha and Dhiren hunkered down to play sensible cricket. The pair rediscovered the joy of taking singles and doubles, especially with the boundary crowded with fielders anticipating big hits from the fearsome duo. Dhiren reached his well-made 50 (51 balls) in the 17th over. And Bodha finally cast off his shackles to clobber 16 runs in the 18th over to win the game, and the championship for LCC.
CCL was fortunate to have an honored guest in Sports Corp's CEO, Tom Osborne, to present trophies. Sports Corp has been a tremendous partner to cricket in Colorado by introducing cricket into the annual Rocky Mountain State Games and also helping lure ICC's Americas headquarters to Colorado Springs.
Man of the Match: Jay Pathak (LCC) was rightly declared Man of the Finals for his excellent bowling analysis of 8-1-23-4.
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See FRCC Vs LCC Premier Finals Match Video
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