|National UK Bal Mandal ‘Shantilal Cricket Tournament’
Saturday 11 December 2010
The UK Bal Mandal held its second National 8-a-side ‘Shantilal Cricket Tournament’ on Saturday 11 December 2010. To accommodate the 14 teams coming in from around the country, the tournament was held at three different venues in Brent, London: BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, The Swaminarayan School, and Oakington Manor Primary School.
Anandpriya Swami inaugurated the competition with the traditional deep pragatya and some words of encouragement for all the players.
With so many balaks participating, the tournament was categorised into two age groups. The first being 10- to 12-year-olds (Shantilal Trophy) comprising six teams, and the 13- to 14-year-olds (Shantilal Cup) which included eight teams. The layout of the tournament ensured that the best teams would progress to the later stages of the competition while at the same time ensuring all teams were able to play at least a few games.
Throughout the group stages and quarter finals, the crowd was treated to a wonderful display of sportsmanship and unity within the teams. There was a great array of talent on show with some excellent all-round performances from teams showing teamwork as well as individual talent. This was especially evident when Sunday School’s Saurabh Patel treated the crowd to an incredible six consecutive sixes!
With the top teams going through to the semi-finals, there were some excellent matches on offer. In the Shantilal Trophy, all of the quarter-final matches produced expected results with the four seeded teams all securing a place in the semi-finals. Favourites, and last year’s winners, South London surprisingly failed to top their group and therefore set up a replay of last year’s semi-final against West London. It was a tense game and South looked to have had it in the bag with West needing over 30 runs from the last eight balls. However, some superb batting from Kirtan Patel (West London), including four sixes at the death, ensured that there would be no repeat from last year, putting West in to the final. The other semi-final saw Brent/Harrow B comfortably beat Sunday School A by 20 runs to book their place in the final.
In the Shantilal Cup, an action-packed match between Finchley and Brent/Harrow B produced an extremely tense finish. With four balls to go it seemed that Brent/Harrow B had secured the victory. But some clever bowling from Romil Depala (Finchley), including two wickets off the first two balls, left Harrow-Brent B requiring a six off the last delivery. Some onlookers held their breath while others closed their eyes. The ball was delivered and Mayur Patel (Brent/Harrow B) lashed home a huge six, sending the crowd into raptures and ensuring that Brent/Harrow B progressed to the final. The other semi-final saw East London comfortably beat Sunday School D to book their place in the final and set up a repeat of last year’s final.
The first final, for the Shantilal Trophy, got off to a blistering start as Brent/Harrow A opener Avish Patel hit three sixes in the first over. A strong batting performance from the rest of the team saw them post a formidable target of 74 runs. And with good teamwork and commitment in the field as well, they quickly took control of the match. Despite a late fight-back, West London were unable to reach the target, crowning Brent/Harrow A as the new Shantilal Trophy Champions.
The Shantilal Cup final was a replay of last year’s contest, with Brent/Harrow B harbouring every intention of holding on to this prestigious trophy for a second year running. Brent/Harrow B started off strong and racked up a total of 78 runs. East London, led by captain Nikhil Parmar, fought back hard but the bowling attack proved too strong and ensured that Brent/Harrow B retained the Shantilal Cup. This meant that Brent/Harrow had produced a clean sweep winning both the Shantilal Cup and Shantilal Trophy.
In the concluding ceremony, the winning teams each received a trophy, with prizes being awarded to the best individual performers as well. This year, the ‘Spirit of Cricket’ award was also introduced for those individuals who had played with a high level of sportsmanship.
It was a highly competitive environment but the tournament was played in a manner of great fraternity among all, proving once again that children from around the country are able to successfully come together through sport.
A summary of the awards is as follows: Photo Gallery