With the grace and blessings of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the tenth anniversary of the Pramukh Cup – the annual Kishore Mandal Indoor 8-a-side Cricket Tournament – was held on Saturday 3 October 2009. From its humble beginnings played between only ten teams at the Mandir gym in 1999, 28 teams and a total of 224 players representing 18 areas from across the nation came to play at three different venues, highlighting the huge progress the tournament has made over the last 10 years.
The teams named themselves in the fashion of the IPL Twenty20 teams, replete with professional cricketing kits exhibiting a kaleidoscope of colours. Pujya Doctor Swami opened the tournament with words of encouragement and unity before the teams quickly reached their playing destinations of Harrow Leisure Centre, The Swaminarayan School and Kingsbury School.
The group stages saw some tough ties being played with full commitment, and some upsets as well including South Soldiers beating the much-fancied Harrow Hotshots as well as the East Eagles, inspired by their young and promising batsman Falgun Patel, to reach the semi-finals. They faced the joint tournament favourites, Brent Raiders, who imperiously continued their march to the final by ending South Soldiers’ progress in devastating fashion. In the other semi-final, defending champions and co-favourites South Lions, led by the versatile Darpan Amin, met North Warriors, captained by the ever-consistent Arpit Naik, who overcame a surprise package in the very young team of South-East Stallions in the quarter-final. This clash of titans was a close affair as ever, until some sharp fielding from South changed the game and restricted North to a low total, which South easily surpassed.
The final brought together the two tournament favourites Brent Raiders and South Lions, who have shared the trophy for the previous four years. South Lions batted first in a tense final with Sharad Patel and Bhavin Patel inspiring them to a flying start. Brent Raiders hit back in an incredible passage of play with four wickets in four consecutive balls, including three run outs. Darpan battled bravely to take South Lions to a total of 53, but this did not seem enough and full credit to Brent who took a total of 9 wickets in the South Lions’ innings.
The chase by Brent Raiders never really looked in doubt especially when the batting combination of Tapan Patel and Keval Parshottam did not lose any wickets and comfortably put Brent in touching distance of victory. Prinay Patel finished the job to avenge last year’s defeat to South and crown Brent champions of the decennial Pramukh Cup 2009.
It was no surprise that the individual awards were claimed by players from the two finalists. The Best Bowler award went to Hiten Pandya of Brent Raiders, with Prinay Patel scooping the Best Batsman prize for his consistently calm batting under pressure. Darpan Amin who displayed lightning fielding reflexes, immense batting prowess and intelligent bowling, won the All-Rounder of the Tournament award.
It was a magnificent tournament celebrating the tenth anniversary of the competition, which was supported by Naranda Hotels as the Main Sponsor, and Adler Shine, Lords Builders Merchants, Clydesdale Bank, Dani Organics, Suncrest and Fudco as its Event Sponsors.
As ever, it was a highly competitive environment but the tournament was played in a manner of fraternity among all the kishores, and in its tenth year, proved once again that kishores from across the country are able to come together through sport.