– VPCC, Islanders upstage Highland CreekBy Frederick HalleyTORONTO, Canada – Victoria Park Cricket Club (VPCC) became the first team to capture two Elite League titles while Islanders confirmed their status as the number one team in the Premiere League when the Scarborough Cricket Association (SCA) 2019 season climaxed at the Ashtonbee playing fields here last Saturday.After winning the inaugural tournament in 2016 and being runners-up to Hawaiian Arctic Cricket Club (HACC) last year, albeit by forfeiting the final, VPCC stormed back to win a tense battle against Highland Creek on the number one pitch after persistent showers had forced the umpires to reduce the contest to 30 overs.While VPCC were battling their opponents, Islanders secured a more comfortable win against Highland Creek on the adjacent number two ground, that game also being reduced to 30 overs.Prior to the stoppage, Highland Creek, who won the toss and elected to bat, were already reeling at 36 for four after being jolted by off-spinner Shailesh Patel who sent back experienced opener Rayyan Pathan with the first ball of the innings and Canadian national Ruvindu Gunasekera (one) in the same over.Premiere League champs IslandersWickets kept falling at regular intervals when play resumed with Highland Creek slipping to 87 for eight in the 18th over. It took a face-saving eight-wicket partnership of 57 between Kartik Desai (32 not out) and Anas Malik (24) to bring some respectability to the eventual total of 145 for nine when the 30 overs expired. Kumar Erramilli ended with three for 25, Shailesh Patel two for 23.Set a reduced target of 128, via the Duckworth Lewis system, VPCC were made to work hard for victory as Highland Creek kept a tight rein on proceedings, grabbing wickets consistently.At 107 for eight at the end of the 24th over, the stage was set for an intriguing finish. However, Kumar Erramilli crowned a fine all-round performance, smashing an undefeated 31 off 18 balls while counting two fours and three sixes as VPCC reached the required target in 28.3 overs. His partner Parth Desai defied the bowling attack for 13 balls without scoring.Opener Anand Erramilli had earlier hit 26 (five fours) while Brar supported with 27 (1×4, 1×6). Anas Malik (four for 25), Darshil Patel (two for 14) and Mohammad Azmi (two for 17) fought back well for Highland Creek.The Elite League semi-finals saw VPCC thrash defending champions HACC by a massive 240 runs after racking up 420 for eight in the allotted 50 overs and dismissing HACC for 180 in 32.3 overs. Centuries were recorded by Brar (119), Yug Rao (113) and Aashin Patwari (110).In the other semi-final, Highland Creek won from Ambassadors by 71 runs after reaching 186 for nine in the reduced 44 overs and limiting their opponents to 115 all out in 37.1 overs.Highland Creek were aiming to repeat history after becoming the first team to cart off both the Elite and Premiere League titles, a feat they achieved in 2017 but had to settle for the runners-up spots in the both categories.The Premiere League final saw Highland Creek bat first and reach 108 for eight in 30 overs with opener Ishan Shah being the main contributor with 38 (three fours and a six) while Ali Zaidi supported with 26 (two fours and a six). For the Trinidad & Tobago-based Islanders, Calvin Alexander took two for 18 and Trushil Patel two for 20.Islanders cruised to 109 for four in 23.4 overs with Mahadeo Monnasar unbeaten on 37 (three fours and a six). Shiraz Khan grabbed two for 26.The respective MVPs were Kumar Erramilli (VPCC), Anas Malik (HC), Moonasar (Islanders) and Ishan Shah (HC).A special tribute was paid to Alexander who announced that the Premiere League final was his last competitive fixture.At the presentation ceremony which followed, SCA president, Shiv Persaud, congratulated the teams on their fine showing throughout the season and reminded that the association’s annual presentation, dinner and dance is set for November 2 at Eastown Banquet Hall.