OUR PNG boys who were part of the East Asia side that participated at the Australian Country Cricket Championships which ended last week, performed very well.
Congratulations to Assad Vala who was voted the EAP player of the series and was also selected in the Team of the Championships.
Vala made 103 runs against Northern Territory Country and scored two half centuries to finish the tournament on a high note.
This year's EAP team to the ACCC is relatively new in a sense that senior PNG players like John Ovia and Rarua Dikana have moved on to make way for new exciting talents to stamp their authority in the EAP region.
John and Rarua are now working for Cricket PNG with John as a Development Officer and Rarua as a High Performance Coach.
Debutants like Jeremiah Nigana from Kira Kira Crickt Club are one the new faces that will hopefully dominate the EAP side in the future teams.
PNG has always dominated the EAP team since 2004 and this year was no exception with five PNG Barramundis players in the side including Assad Vala, Loa Nou, Willie Gavera, Jeremiah Nigani and their captain Chris Amini.
This year's Australian Country Cricket Championships was held in Albury in New South Wales with EAP fielding a representative team for the seventh time in the competitions history with Vanuatu's Andrew Mansale the new captain of the EAP side, taking over from Rarua Dikana who has been captain since 2004.
The EAP side was extremely competitive in all matches with a number of stellar performances by individuals, including a century by Assad Vala and a five wicket haul from Loa Nou.
Sustaining losses in the opening two T20 matches, the team's tournament highlight to date is it's historic third round defeat of South Australia in their first one day match.
The 68-run margin is the largest win posted by an EAP team since their participation in the ACCC from 2004.
Chris Amini and Assad Vala both posted half-centuries to have EAP's total of 189, whilst Andrew Mansale and Loa Noa sustained the bowling attack, taking three wickets each. Unfortunately the momentum of the win could not be carried through to the following encounter with New South Wales.
The EAP side went down by eight wickets, with the highlight of the performance being a sixth wicket partnership of 60 between Assad Vala and Jeremiah Nigani.
Round five marked the start of the two-day fixture and EAP first faced Western Australia and went down fighting, posting a ten run loss with a total of 303.
The batting display included a number of strong partnerships across the order, the highest of 59 runs for the fifth wicket.
The following encounter with the ladder leaders, the Northern Territory (NT), in round six also went down to the wire.
NT escaped with a three wicket victory following the posting of a century by Assad Vala and a gallant 76 by Vani Vagi Morea.
In the final 2-day fixture, EAP performed superbly to come away with a 12 run victory over Australian Capital Territory (ACT).
Batting first on a good batting strip, EAP were in early trouble at 3 for 24, with Fijian opening pair Baba and Rika both dismissed, and star number 3 Vani Vagi Morea also out.
Captain Mansale steadied the ship with a patient 30, while the immensely talented PNG gun Assad Vala continued to bat with confidence to smash a brilliant 95.
EAP were eventually dismissed for 170, a disappointing total but one that could be defended with quality bowling.
Wickets fell steadily throughout the ACT innings, reduced to 8 for 106 early on Day 2. With the ACT edging closer to the required total and PNG pair Loa Nou and Willie Gavera bowling superbly, the game was tense.
ACT Captain Nicol was dismissed for 82, before the final wicket was taken by Gavera with a spectacular catch down the leg side by stand-in wicket-keeper Vani Vagi Morea.
To end this week we say congratulations also to the PNG U/19 Garamuts who played with pride and passion at the ICC U19 World Cup in New Zealand.
Even though the Garamuts did not make it to the Super League stage the youngsters showed the rest of the cricket world that PNG too is competitive on the international stage.
Your Cricket term for this week: Limited and Unlimited Over games- "Limited Over" games are those where each team is allowed to bat for a designated number of overs. Typically 30, 40, 45 or 50 are set as limit for each teams innings. "Unlimited Over Games" are those where no over restriction is placed on a team's innings.
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Until then join me for more Cricket next Sunday...