The Napa Vinos are the 2017 Last Man Stands San Francisco North Bay League champions for the first time, winning the recent final in a thriller over the LMS Yankies at Piper Park in Larkspur.
Napa defended a low score of 113 off its 20 five-ball overs. The Vinos retired the LMS Yankies’ final two batsmen with a double play on the second-to-last ball of the innings, and the Yankies fell two runs short on 111.
Martin Mackenzie was the pick of Napa’s batsmen, striking the ball well on his way to 45 off just 23 balls before being run out after a mix-up when his batting partner, Harjit Singh, was dropped. Of the other Vinos batsmen, only Karan Grewal (24 off 20 balls) and captain Kiranpreet Singh (18 off 19 balls) got into double figures as Napa finished on 113 for the loss of six wickets.
Yankies captain Jaffer Syed was the pick of his team’s bowlers, taking two wickets for 21 runs off his four overs, with Nadeem Solanki taking one for 20 and Pandrathap Reddy taking 1 for 23.
In reply, chasing what looked like a very easy target, the Yankies were in trouble from the first over with dynamic batsman-keeper Saketh Reddy out LBW (leg-before-wicket) in the first over. The Yankies settled in and looked back on target to win the match with Shabeer Mohammed contributing 34, Syed 23 and Prathap Reddy 28. Wickets fell quickly near the end of the innings and they came into the last over needing just a handful of runs and two wickets in hand.
However, with two balls to go and two runs to tie, Prathap Reddy was caught on long on and, in the ensuing confusion, batting partner Sachin Lotankar started running and was run out in the double-play, giving the Vinos the game and title. The wicket takers for Napa were Harjit Singh, with two for 29, and Mackenzie, Grewal and Kiranpreet Singh taking one each.
With the average age of the Napa team well above that of the Yankies, the Vinos’ experience showed through under pressure. Andrew Healy effected a stunning direct hit run-out, running around from third man, while Napa wicket-keeper Pete Carson had the foresight and game knowledge to put ball to stump for a dismissal despite having already removed the stumps and bails for an unsuccessful effort on the same play. Strong ground fielding from Adriaan Foot and Bernie Peacock kept the Yankies in check and gave the Napa bowlers confidence that their hard work with the ball would be backed up in the field.
Earlier in the day, having finished the regular season on top of the table, Napa took on fourth-place Marin in a semifinal. The first semifinal was between the second-place Yankies and third-place Sonoma Gullies.
The first semifinal was a one-sided affair. The Gullies put on a respectable four for 132 in their 20 overs but weren’t able to defend it, as the Yankies reached it in the 16th over without loss of wicket. For the Yankies, captain Sunny Patel (50 retired off 38 balls) and Inderjeet Singh (51 retired off 34 balls) were the standouts. Prathap Reddy and Amit Raul were the only bowlers to take a wicket for the Yankies, taking just the one each. When they came to bat, openers Reddy and Mohammed each reached 50 before being retired, with Syed and Reddy guiding the Yankies to victory.
In the second semifinal, indicative of what was to come in the final, Napa defended a seemingly too-low score of just three for 117 off their 20 overs. Mackenzie was the pick of the batsman, reaching 51 off 40 balls before being retired. Harjit Singh was next best with 22, but the Vinos’ lack of urgency running between the wickets looked to have left them without enough to win the game.
Marin started strongly with several batsmen getting a start, but none building a big score. Opener Anwar Ahmad was best with 31, while Krish De Silva was looking set on 21 before being run out. Up until the last few overs, Marin looked to be cruising to victory before losing several wickets at the end. Vish Chapalamadugu started the last over as the “last man standing” and needing only five runs to win, but was bowled on the second ball of the over, granting Napa access to the final.
“I want to thank all the teams for their enthusiasm and patience this year,” league manager Phil Bourke said during the presentations. “We had challenges with ground rental, and then the fires disrupting the season. Thank you to the Napa Valley and Marin clubs for hosting games throughout the season. Congratulations to the Napa Vinos on their first victory in what were a couple of the closest finishes we’ve seen in LMS here in the North Bay.”
After the finals, members of the 2017 San Francisco North Bay LMS Dream Team were announced. They are batsmen Sunny Patel (Sonoma Gullies) and Tejas Potdar (San Francisco Seals), all-rounders Jaffer Syed (LMS Yankies) and Karan Grewal (Napa Vinos), wicket keeper Saketh Reddy (LMS Yankies), and bowlers Prathap Reddy (LMS Yankies), Amith Raul (LMS Yankies) and Kiranpreet Singh (Napa Vinos).
Sunny Patel was also named Most Valuable Player for the season, which earns him the opportunity to play for Team USA in the Last Man Stands World Series in England in June 2018.
Last Man Stands is the widest reaching amateur cricket league in the world, bringing together like minded individuals from all walks of life, countries, religions, sex, and races to enjoy this format of cricket. Visit lastmanstands.com/usa for more information on Last Man Stands and nottssport.co.uk/cricket-powerplay.html for more on the Notts Powerplay Instance Cricket System.