With the grace and blessings of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the first of three major Yuvak Mandal sporting events of 2011 took place on Sunday 6 March 2011, with the 13th National Yuvak Mandal Indoor Cricket Tournament, which this year was sponsored by KTC, Vitabiotics, Danda and Shakti Nursing Homes.
A total of 33 teams – the highest ever – were participating this year. They arrived eagerly in the morning from centres across the country with a mixture of nerves and excitement, aiming to take the trophy home as rightful champions.
The Swaminarayan School, BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London and the Harrow Leisure Centre were the venues for the initial group stages, with the knockout matches all taking place at Harrow Leisure Centre. The opening ceremony was carried out at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London and the Harrow Leisure Centre in the presence of Thakorji, Yogvivek Swami and sadhus.
It was evident that teams had put in a lot of effort in preparation, as many matches played to close finishes, all in the true spirit of cricket. Following the group stages, 16 teams made it through to the knockout rounds, held at Harrow Leisure Centre, where the atmosphere escalated after each round.
The semi-finals saw Mandir Sevaks A encounter Harrow Sevaks A while North London A faced last year’s runners up South London A, who themselves were aiming to go one step further this year. Eventually, underdogs Mandir Sevaks A shocked one of the tournament favourites and staked a place in the 2011 final to face South London A.
Mandir Sevaks A dominated their innings with a respectable score of 83 runs from their allocated eight overs. They followed this up with an excellent bowling and fielding display, by pegging South A back to only 10 runs at the midway stage of their innings. At this point, once again it seemed as if South A would fail at the final hurdle. However, following a day of rollercoaster results, signs of another revival, the most important of them all, were displayed by Partheshbhai and Piyushbhai in the 5th and 6th overs. Eventually, Deepakbhai and Mayankbhai steered South A past the finish line, ending their innings on 98 runs.
Both teams showed great passion, desire and sportsmanship in a wonderful spectacle of indoor cricket, topping yet another excellent tournament. However, the character and never-say-die attitude applied by those South A players in the semi-final and final deservedly crowned them Champions of the Yogi Yuva Cup.
Individual players who shone in the different aspects of the game were also awarded for their outstanding performance. The individual award-winners were:
Best Bastman Devang Amin, Harrow Sevaks A
Best Bowler Uchit Vadher, Leicester
In all, it proved to be a thoroughly enjoyable Sunday of good-spirited, high-quality cricket.