Local sports stories

Welcome to the Sunday Chronicle top local sports. The back page of the newspaper this week highlights rugby star Menzie Yere still in town.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A daunting task for PNG Garamuts to improve ranking

THE PNG Under 19 Garamuts ranked 13th will need a strong will power to take them to the plate championships final when they face Afghanistan ranked 12th in the plate quarter final at Napier today.

The last time both teams met was at the U19 world cup qualifiers in Toronto, Canada where Afghanistan beat PNG by six wickets.

It will be the battle to improve their rankings and a win would see the Garamuts return to Palmerston for  a semi final against an unknown opponent on Tuesday.

At the last U19 world cup in Malaysia, PNG went as far as the plate semi final after a historic seven wicket win over Bermuda in Johor Baru.

Tony Ura was named man of the match for his 70 not out to lead the Garamuts to win and break a U19 world cup hoodoo that has hunted the previous U19 teams in the last three world cups.

But at the plate semi final, PNG lost to West Indies by six wickets and the team from the Caribbean Islands  went on to defeat Namibia in the plate championships.

It's a similar scenario like the one in 2008 when the Garamuts lost all its pool matches and went straight to the plate finals.

Now current captain Jason Kila, who was part of that side two years, has a big task to take his boys though to the next stage.

Kila along with Heni Siaka, Tony Ura, Charles Amini junior, Jonathan Diho and John Boge Reva have tasted victory at the world cup level and that winning experience will be vital against Afghanistan who will no doubt be going in as favourites in the battle of the associate nations.

This week was a very disappointing one indeed for the Garamuts losing their three pool D matches to Bangladesh by 5 wickets, Pakistan by 6 wickets and West Indies by 5 wickets.

If the Garamuts are to upset the boys from the Middle East their batting needs to be 100% perfect.
Probably their match against West Indies on Tuesday saw a greatly improved performance especially in both batting and bowling.

Youngster Sese Bau who plays senior cricket for United A grade side made his first ever half century off 55 balls while lanky fast bowler Raymond Haoda junior tore the West Indies top order apart with three wickets for 37 runs.

If PNG can carry that fighting spirit into the match with Afghanistan, there is no reason why the Garamuts cannot win and go on to play in the semi final. The match will be played at Nelson Park, Napier at 10:30am (NZ local).

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