Ryerson is tops in Canadian universities
This week at the Maple Leaf Cricket Club in King City, 10 of the top University and College teams in Canada met in a Twenty20 tournament to decide who was best. The majority of the week was enjoyable: high scoring matches, good sportsmanship, and everything else you would like in a cricket tournament. However, the events of today's final day of play indicate that there is still a need for mature administrators in a youth tournament.
In the morning, the semi-finals were held. In the first, McMaster University (from Hamilton) defeated Seneca College (from Mississauga) to advance to the final. But in the other semi, Ryerson University (from Toronto) defeated the University of Toronto - Scarborough Campus side by just 6 runs. However, they fielded a player that was not listed on their team sheet. A protest was initially filed, and then withdrawn by the UTSC side - a good bit of sportsmanship in simply wanting a final to be played. But the umpires and other officials maintained that Ryerson must default the semi-final match.
As the frustration grew in players, fans, and media alike, we seemed no nearer a conclusion. The greatest issue, in this writer's opinion, is that there was no one person nominated as a tournament referee to make the final decision. As such, there was disagreement between different officials. Finally, mercifully, better than 2 hours after the final was scheduled to start, the captains and officials agreed that the semi-final would be replayed as a 5-over slogout. Ryerson won that to advance to the finals, which would have to be abbreviated to 12 overs a side due to the impending setting of the sun.
McMaster won the toss, and elected to bat first to make the most of the little light that remained. Their innings started quickly, but any momentum they were looking to build was broken by three run outs. Hassan Mir was the only batsman to truly make an impact on the game as he stroked the ball firmly and confidently in amassing an unbeaten 49 runs (3x4 3x6) off just 27 balls. The game went at a breakneck pace, and before you knew it the 12 overs had elapsed and McMaster's total was 104 runs for the loss of 5 wickets.
Ryerson set out quickly to chase down their total, as the sun was racing towards the trees. However, that made for difficult fielding for the players on the East side of the field that were staring directly into the sun. Several top edges that should have made easy catches managed to find the grass safely due to fielders not picking up the ball off the bat. The way was led by Rahath Mirza who made 37 runs off 25 balls, as well as Havir Baidwan's 29 off 16, including 4 boundaries in the first over! Baidwan's quick start, combined with a wicket in the first innings, earned him Man of the Match honours. Honourable mention must be given to Krishna Patel, who managed figures of 3 wickets for just 20 runs conceded in his 3 over spell for McMaster. But the middle-order had no problem seeing Ryerson home with a full over to spare.
It is unfortunate that a black mark such as the farce that was the afternoon has to fall on this tournament that could be such a promising event for the youth of Canadian cricket. Hopefully in future, officials will be appointed ahead of time to prevent repetition of the events of this day. A UTSC player, who chose to remain anonymous, referred to it as a "disgraceful travesty", calling on all his thesauric abilities to be sure. To put it bluntly - it just wasn't cricket. But in the end, we must celebrate the champions, and for this year that honour belongs to Ryerson University.