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With the grace of Param Pujya Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the London Bal Mandal held its first regional 8-a-side indoor Cricket tournament, the ‘Shantilal Cricket Cup’ at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London on Saturday 15 November 2008. Over 80 players from 12 teams supported by 20 karyakars from the London and suburb areas had gathered for this inaugural tournament. In the presence of Harikrishna Maharaj, Muniraj Swami inaugurated the competition with the deep pragatya and delivered inspiring words to the budding cricketers.

The tournament was split into two age categories where balaks aged 10 to 12 competed for the Shantilal Trophy and balaks aged 13 to 14 competed for the Shantilal Cup. The tournament began with great enthusiasm with 18 matches providing great excitement, amusement and elation with a high standard of cricket.

With two groups in each of the age categories, only the top two teams in each group would progress to the semi-finals. The games in the Shantilal Trophy began with an action-packed match between Brent-Harrow A and strong contenders to the title, Finchley A. From the very first ball, the crowd was treated to a wonderful display of cricket and unity within the teams. Finchley A, West A, Brent-Harrow B and the Sunday School progressed to the semi-finals of the tournament.

The matches in the group stages of the Shantilal Cup were closely-fought encounters resulting in the game of the tournament between South and South East B. This was a thrilling match with the most exciting players on show. South required a victory to progress to the next round due to an earlier shock defeat to East B. Some brilliant batting from the South captain Vandan allowed his team to amass 51 after a poor start. Clever bowling from South then contained South East B before big hitting from the captain Nikhil Patel ensured victory for South East B. West B and South East B topped their respective groups. East B and Brent-Harrow C also progressed to the next stage as runners-up in their groups.

The first semi-final of the Shantilal Trophy was between one of the favourites, Finchley A, and underdogs West A. West A assembled a resolute score of 69 and then completed one of the huge surprises of the tournament by restricting Finchley to a score of 20 and marching into the final. They were largely inspired by brothers Hersh and Kirtan Patel. The second semi-final of the Shantilal Trophy was between Brent-Harrow B who had averaged 70 in the group stages, and the Sunday School who failed to fire in the tournament. Sunday School were skittled out for 33 in response to Brent-Harrow B smashing the highest score of the day 87, meeting West A in the Shantilal Trophy final.

The Shantilal Trophy final was a one-sided contest with the sheer strength and skill of Brent-Harrow B who marvelled the spectators with spectacular batting displays from Mayur Patel and Saurabh Patel – matching their highest score of 87 and writing their names in the books as the first ever winners of the Shantilal Trophy. West A managed a respectable 35 and went home with their heads held high.

In the Shantilal Cup, clear favourites South East B overcame the threat posed by Brent-Harrow C to book their place in the finals. West B produced a comfortable win against East B to earn their rightful place in the final.

The Shantilal Cup final was also a dazzling spectacle with a close match between favourites South East B and underdogs West B. The atmosphere was charged under the lights of the Mandir gym. West B put 59 on the scoreboard for South East B to chase. With South East B averaging 50 in the tournament, this was going to go right down to the wire. Some excellent batting from Nikhil Patel and Vivek Patel put South East B in a position to win the Shantilal Cup. However, due to some terrific bowling in the last over by Sharad Patel, West B picked up two wickets in quick succession to seal victory and put their names down as the first winners of the Shantilal Cup.

Overall Winners:

Cup

Winners

Shantilal Trophy
(10 to 12 years)

Brent-Harrow B

Shantilal Cup
(13 to 14 years)

West B

 

Individual Awards:

Awards

Winners

Shantilal Trophy
Best Batsman

Saurabh Patel (Brent-Harrow B)

Shantilal Trophy
Best Bowler

Hersh Patel (West A)

Shantilal Trophy
Best Player

Mayur Patel (Brent-Harrow B)

Shantilal Cup
Best Batsman

Nikhil Patel (South East B)

Shantilal Cup
Best Bowler

Vishal Patel (West B)

Shantilal Cup
Best Player

Vivek Patel (South East B)

Over 1,300 runs were scored throughout the tournament thrilling all that had gathered for this event. In the concluding ceremony, trophies were presented to the winning teams. The feedback from the balaks was very positive with many commending the great atmosphere generated by the spectators and the entertaining finals as great to witness. 

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