PNG: Tournaments conclude, new event announced, Commonwealth Games excitement

Isaac Lockett reports on the latest developments from Papua New Guinea

Keapara celebrating their victory (Photo: Cricket PNG)

Despite the majority of PNG’s domestic cricket action being concluded, there has been the recent conclusion of a tournament along with news published which affects the country’s domestic and international teams.  

Swire Shipping sponsored TID tournament concludes 

Keapara won the Swire Shipping sponsored TID tournament which was hosted by Hula and Makerupu villages last week. The tournament saw teams from Alukuni, Gabagaba, Irupara, Karawa and Porebada all compete in a week-long festival of cricket and saw the first use of new facilities which were provided by the Australian High Commission’s facility development fund.  

Eventual champions Keapara met co-hosts Hula in the tournaments final at the Raukele Cricket Ground. However, before the final, both teams had to win their respective semi-finals. The first semi-Final saw Keapara beat Gabagaba while Hula beat Karawa. The final began with Hula aiming to set Keapara a competitive first innings total. The batting team got off to a good start with Noka Aporo (12), Malcolm Aporo (29) and Gordon Ai (17) all looking positive at the crease. However, Keapara were able to regain momentum following the run out of  N.Aporo. Following the run-out, Keapara were able to take regular wickets and restricted their opponents to a first innings total of 101. 

Keapara celebrating their victory during the the Swire Shipping sponsored TID tournament (Photo: Cricket PNG)

Keapara’s opening batsman Billy Maha and Ila Tino, who was awarded player of the match, made a positive start to the chase as the pair scored 51 runs from the first five overs. Tino finished on 66* and was reported to have played an innings full of impressive shots during his innings. 

Former PNG men’s team captain and Cricket PNG Board Chairman William Maha was present for the week-long tournament and thanked both Swire Shipping and Cricket PNG for bringing the game to the Hood Point villagers. Maha was quoted as stating that ‘this tournament was a huge success witnessed by big crowds and looks forward to this being an annual event on the CPNG calendar so that hidden talent can be discovered in the villages and progress their cricket’.

Cricket PNG Talent Identification Manager Rodney Maha was reported to be impressed with the talent on display throughout the tournament. The player of the tournament award was given to Venau Ilaraki with Iamo Rupa (Irupara), Peter Rabona (Gabagaba), Alipat Ali (Hula) and Loki Vala (Alukuni) were all given new talent awards. 

40 over women’s tournament unveiled 

In a press release, Cricket PNG announced the launching of the Women’s Isuzu National Cup, sponsored by Boroko Motors. The tournament takes a 40-over format and is scheduled to begin on the 23 November 2020 at Amini Park, Port Moresby. 

The tournament is aiming to build on the success of the men’s Isuzu National Cup which was hosted earlier this year. The women’s Isuzu National Cup is thought to be the next step in developing PNG’s female talent. 

When talking about the new tournament, Cricket PNG CEO Greg Campbell stated that ‘It is an exciting time at Cricket Haus, as we are now introducing the 40-over format to the women’s game in Papua New Guinea. The National Women’s team, the Lewas, are scheduled to play the 50-over Women’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier in 2021, so it is important we expose them players to longer format early. Not only that, but these matches will also be officiated by two female umpires, Sose Goasa (Kilakila Cricket Association), and Helen Atai (Port Moresby Cricket Association)’. 

The tournament will feature two teams, Isuzu Pink and Isuzu Teal, who will play three matches, with the first match on Monday 23 November, and the final match on Friday 27 November. The matches will be under strict COVID protocols with Cricket PNG unable to allow public access to Amini Park. However, the matches will be able to be followed through Cricket PNG’s social media pages.

Isuzu Pink players training at Amini Park, Port Moresby (Photo: Cricket PNG)

Joe Dawes, PNG men’s national team coach, stated that ‘After the success of the Men’s National Cup, we are confident the women will be able to adapt and develop their skills just as well. Alongside the Lewas, the tournament features talented players from outside the nationally contracted list. With the next round of national contracts due, there will be added pressure to perform. Unfortunately, Lewas Head Coach, Kirsten Beams is still unable to travel to Port Moresby, due to the COVID travel restrictions. However, she will be keeping an eye on player development through match highlights’. 

Isuzu Teal Squad: Kaia Arua (Captain), Tanya Ruma, Naoani Vare, Vicky Ara’a, Kila Frank, Holland Doriga, Erani Pokana, Lucy Ben, Hane Donald. Invited players: Ravini Oa, Elma Joseph (Central Province), Godidi Tom, and Baia John. Coach: Pipi Raho

Isuzu Pink Squad: Brenda Tau (Captain), Sibona Jimmy, Pauke Siaka, Isabel Toua, Henao Thomas, Mairi Tom, Melanie Ani, Buruka Vicky, Tanya Frank, Dairi Homoka. Invited players: Uve Noka (Central Province), Geua Tom, and Venau Israel. Coach: Kohu Dai

PNG at the Commonwealth games

Previously, Emerging Cricket, has reported on cricket being included at the 2022 Commonwealth games.  The announcement of the inclusion has created excitement amongst Cricket PNG officials.

When reflecting on the news Campbell said that ‘This is a great announcement from the Commonwealth Games Federation and the ICC. As the women’s game grows, it needs more global platforms to showcase its growth and development. Our Lewas are currently ranked 15 and were one win away from qualifying for the Women’s T20 World Cup in Australia earlier this year, we are looking forward to the ICC announcement on the qualifying process’. 

Commonwealth Games Flag
Commonwealth Games Flag

Dawes also shared the excitement reflecting that ‘The women now have the Cricket World Cup and Commonwealth Games qualifying tournaments to look forward to. We are eagerly waiting for the details of each tournament, but the players, coaches and staff are looking forward to more international cricket for the Lewas. This is perfect timing with the Women’s Isuzu National Cup starting next week – there is added excitement around Cricket Haus and within the teams playing in the tournament’.

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