Pres captain on SSCL win: Brotherhood was our greatest weapon
BROTHERHOOD was our greatest weapon.
Such was the sentiment shared by Secondary Schools’ Cricket League (SSCL) Premiership title-winning captain Nickyle Jalim, 18, of Presentation College San Fernando on his team’s maiden capture of the coveted crown.
“Pres” romped to their first-ever SSCL Premiership title after easing past St Benedict’s College by nine wickets at Union Hall Grounds in San Fernando on Tuesday. They remained perfect, in only their second season in the top flight, victorious in all eight matches.
The team was promoted to the premiership after winning the 2018 championship division and placed a credible third in their debut season in 2019.
In 2020, the season was cut short owing to the pandemic and this year’s competition served as the long-awaited return.
‘Pres’, historically known for its prowess in the Secondary Schools’ Football League (SSFL) and Coca-Cola National Intercol, sought to defy all odds post-pandemic.
Skipper Jalim, vice-captain Khaleem Mohammed and Ricardo Chase were part of the promoted 2018 team and remain the only players from that squad who endured the arduous journey to SSCL glory.
The trio, however, are all in upper six and will graduate later on this year with their names, and those of all other teammates, etched in Presentation College San Fernando’s history books.
“The journey started in 2018, one year before we got promoted to the premiership. When we were competing in the championship division, I was in Form Two then, there were years that we fighting to even stay up. We were sometimes second, fourth and mostly in the middle of the table struggling to win.
“We trusted the process. We didn’t always have the best team on paper but we just kept working at it. It was a long process and eventually, we worked towards the goal which was coming up into premiership. That was the goal before the pandemic. This year, we said we’re in premiership already and our goal is to win out; we stuck to that plan,” Jalim said. He hailed the school’s victory as a dream come true and credited brilliant performances from the entire squad. Team camaraderie, Jalim added, was key.
“Our best weapon was the brotherhood we had in the camp. That made it easy for everyone. The guys made my job easy and we created a really good environment. We had a good support system through our teachers, groundsmen, management, parents and others.”
In the end, Presentation topped the nine-team standings with 145 points while their brother school Presentation College Chaguanas (132 pts) produced an impressive runner-up finish followed by third-placed Fatima College (99 pts).
The graduating trio had such an impact this season, that left-arm orthodox spinner Jalim finished as the tournament’s top bowler with 18 wickets for 161 runs. Vishnu Boys’ Aidan Lakhansingh was second with 17 scalps for 218 runs while Mohammed was third, bagging 15 wickets for 129 runs.
Another ‘Pres’ player Riyaad Mohammed scored the most SSCL runs this year, 466 with a top score of 113. He was followed by Mohammed’s 396 runs and high score of 116 while Vishnu Boys’ Andrew Rambaran completed the top three; 331 runs with a high score of 168.
Khaleem was also adjudged tournament MVP with an overall individual tally of 99.42 points.
Fatima’s Isaiah Fernandes was the best catcher with ten to his name, trailed by Jalim and another “Pres Sando” player Saif Ali, both snagging eight each.
Additionally, in Tuesday’s trophy-winning performance, right-arm fast bowler Chase (4/19) captured the lion’s share of wickets with Khaleem (3/1) and Jalim (2/14) in strong support.
“Khaleem, Ricardo and I are the only players from Upper six. Most of our players are from forms three to five, with Jacen Agard (TT U19 player) in Lower six. Although the three of us are leaving, the school is in good hands and we should be competing at the highest level consistently, even in the lower age groups, we’re doing really well,” Jalim said.
The ‘Pres’ skipper confirmed that the environment created for the players, by staff, parents and supporters, also played integral roles in keeping the team relaxed and well-prepared ahead of matches.
He also recognised head coach Rydell Ramsaran and manager Carlyle Jalim for their leadership and guidance over the years.
Agard however, played the opening two matches but had to pull out temporarily after he was selected to the West Indies Rising Stars Under-19s High-Performance camp at Coolidge Cricket Ground (CCG) in Antigua earlier this month.
But his experience playing at the TT U19 level, and knowledge gained and shared from the WI U19 camp, also helped the team push on, Jalim said.
After Tuesday’s match, Presentation principal Dexter Mitchell and coach Ramsaran specially recognised former vice-principal and Physics teacher Kenny Mootoosingh who, they said, was the driving force who “took the initiative to push cricket in Presentation.”
Presentation College 2023 SSCL Premiership Champion Team
Nickyle Jalim Khaleem mohammed Riyaad Mohammed Ricardo Chase Jacen Agard Brendan Boodoo Isa Ali Alon Roy Cristian Rampersad Aadi Ramsaran Saif Ali Niel MohammedLiam Girard Aadian Racha Avinash Singh Levi Ghanny Rydell Ramsaran (COACH)Carlyle Jalim (MANAGER)
"Pres captain on SSCL win: Brotherhood was our greatest weapon"