31 March 2019
2018-19 Universities Cricket League – Review
This season saw CHK host the first ever Universities Cricket League – a hard-ball, T20 competition played between teams comprised of full-time students from University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and City University of Hong Kong.
The Kowloon Cricket Club and The Hong Kong Cricket Club provided vital support to this competition, offering up their grounds to host the games on alternating Wednesdays during the months of February and March. All games were scored and umpired by the Universities themselves – following the Saturday League tradition of having the neutral team offer up umpires for the contest. The weather stayed true, with only one game washed out, and after 7 hard-fought contests it was City University that eventually emerged as UCL Champions.
The three teams first played each other in two round-robin stages, with HKU proving unstoppable, recording a perfect 4 wins from their 4 games to cruise into the final. CityU picked up their only victory of the group stage over HKUST – beating them by 6 wickets in their first encounter. The second game between the two sides got rained out, and HKU’s impressive run meant they were to face each other a third time at KCC in the play-off match to determine the second finalist. A spirited bowling and fielding effort by HKUST kept CityU to just 128, but CityU went one better, shooting out HKUST for just 69 to ensure a third clash against HKU at HKCC in the finals.
With a 2-0 record over their opponents in the group stages, HKU elected to field first, and struck right away with a wicket off the second ball of the match. However, they then found themselves at receiving end of a spectacular innings by Ehsan Ayaz. The left-handed DLSWCC opener hit 102 runs off just 50 deliveries, with 10 boundaries, 8 sixes, and several lost balls. He was well supported by the lower-middle order, as CityU went from 50/3 in 7.2 overs to 214/6 in their 20. HKU gave it their best shot in the chase, but were bowled out for 138 inside 18 overs. CityU skipper Shahwaiz Khan took 4/29 as his side romped to victory, earning the title of first-ever CHK UCL champions!
An exciting tournament with plenty of good talent on display, and a good learning experience for all involved, both on and off the field. Full scorecards and results can be found HERE