LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The Southern California Cricket Association held its 80th annual awards banquet Nov. 16 at the Crown Plaza Hotel here. The event celebrated the conclusion of the 2019 cricket season and bestowed awards to the top performing teams out of 47 across four divisions. The ODI and T2O competitions held by SCCA features players from every cricket playing nation in the world and the evening was a reflection of this, according to a press release.

Courtney Walsh, the former captain of the indomitable West Indies team in the 80s and early 90s, headlined the banquet. In his keynote speech he shared his views on the values of hard work, loyalty, love and dedication as imperative for success at the highest levels in cricket and even life. He told the over 400 gathered guests that the U.S. was a prime candidate for the development of cricket.

Walsh, who had earlier visited Woodley Park in the city of Van Nuys, and witnessed the coaching program conducted by SCCA, pointed out that Southern California’s weather and the Woodley Park turf pitches were some of the best yet in the nation. He emphasized that special attention should be paid to youth cricket as that would lay the foundation for the future, and even offered his services to the SCCA to help develop the sport in the area.

SCCA president Mihir Gandhi, in his speech, gave a brief overview of the organization tracing its journey from its establishment in 1935 to today where it is one of the largest cricketing leagues in the U.S. The Indian American said SCCA was committed to providing world class playing conditions and facilities. The Department of Recreation and Parks, he said, had done just that by maintaining four beautiful turf wickets. While lauding all the member players for upholding the “spirit of the game” throughout the season, Gandhi said the teams “did not let a win go to their heads or a loss to their heart.”

During the course of the evening, Gangaram Singh of the San Diego Cricket Club was inducted into the Hall of Fame for 2019 for his long-standing services to the sport. The President’s Award was given to Denis Stuart for 50 years of service to SCCA, and an Appreciation Award was given to Rodney Cutting for taking care of the Woodley Cricket Grounds. Walsh distributed awards to the season’s winners and runners-up. There were proclamations handed over by or on behalf of the mayors of Los Angeles, Cerritos and Artesia.

Others who spoke included Ray Dee, chair of the banquet committee; the emcee for the evening was Max Howard.

The official part of the evening was followed by an entertainment segment produced by Dr. Harold Ganga, CEO of Hollywood Carnival and the Los Angeles Culture Festival. It featured models in Carnival costumes kicking off a musical and dance extravaganza of world culture. Rohan Buch entertained the audience with music on the saxophone. The finale was a tribute to Walsh with Emile Borde doing a dramatic rendition of a song encapsulating the world record-breaking and Hall of Fame achievement by the cricketer.

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