White Fern Sara McGlashan keeps you updated on all the action from the ICC EAP Twenty20 Champs in Vanuatu.
Day six: The Final
Today was the final’s day play and right from the start the weather didn’t want to play its part.
Samoa kick started the day winning the third and fourth playoff. They bowled really well and picked up regular wickets, dismissing Vanuatu for 70. Canterbury Magician’s player Hana Mauafu picked up 3 wickets. She has had a really successful tournament and no doubt has a big future in the game.
In Vanuatu there’s a project titled the Fafine Tenuku Island Cricket Project. It brought together 30 women from Ifira between 25 and 50 years old and taught them a traditional Pacific version of cricket played in full island dress. On top of regular cricket training and matches, the program runs both practical and theory sessions involving scoring, umpiring, health, fitness and nutrition.
Today they played the curtain raiser to the final. They had lovely traditional food for sale and information about their style of cricket. Even when it started pouring the ladies kept playing and absolutely loved playing in front of a very supportive and vocal crowd. It was a nice way for to them to showcase their skills as they approach the end of a successful project.
As the rain came down some of the teams headed back to their hotels. Papa New Guinea and Japan, along with the remainder crowd, tried their best to find a dry spot. The rain kept falling and in the end the girls took the field in the drizzle to play a 14 over match. In difficult conditions both teams played extremely well.
Japan’s captain, Ema Kuribayash, played an outstanding game, especially considering she was injured with a tear to the hamstring. Leading from the front she was the pick of the bowlers and contributed a gutsy knock with the bat.
In the end Japan managed to chase down PNGs runs with 8 wickets in hand.
It was a tremendous effort going through the tournament unbeaten.
It’s fair to say the closing ceremony involved the most amazing display of singing and dancing I’ve ever seen. Each team put on a performance and they were truly outstanding. It’s probably the neatest thing about the tournament, the different cultures interacting. Unsure if us White Ferns would be any good! Maybe a bit of side shuffling and karaoke style singing? Well actually Batesy (Suzie Bates) could hold her own.
I’ve had an amazing week. The cricket has been impressive and there are so many talented players in the East Asia Pacific region - and the off field atmosphere is incredible. Women’s cricket here is treated no different to the men, which is wonderful to be around. Women’s cricket in all six countries is developing quickly and the opportunity for the girls to play against each other this week has been great.
I sincerely thank NZCPA and ICC EAP for giving me this wonderful opportunity! I’ve met some awesome people and classy players.
I am staying on tomorrow to play tourist so hopefully this rain clears. There’s tanning time to be had.
Day five: Playoffs
Last night Mark Stafford hosted the Vanuatu Women’s team, Vanuatu Cricket staff, umpires and ICC staff. This was a great opportunity to interact with the staff and it was awesome talking to Steve Bernard about his time as the Australian Men’s team manager. A great BBQ was put on, which always makes for a good time.
This morning I was with Samoa and they are by far the most entertaining team, singing and chanting throughout the game. Samoa have quite a few NZ based players and it was great to see them doing well.
The Fiji v Samoa rivalry made for a vocal game and it felt like thousands were in the crowd. Samoa had awesome support from a few girls, who are over here studying.
Fiji posted a competitive score of 100, but Samoa stayed calmed under pressure and chased it down with seven wickets in hand.
This afternoon was another great match sitting alongside the PNG team. The girls were outstanding in the field. They got off to a great start with the opening bowlers striking early. They dismissed Samoa cheaply and despite losing a few wickets, still managed to successfully chase down the total..
It will be a big day tomorrow with Samoa playing Vanuatu in the third and fourth play-off and Japan taking on Papa New Guinea in the final - a rematch of the 2010 final. There’s a lot at stake so should be a screamer of a match.
Blog four: Mele and Ekasup Village
This morning I headed off with the ICC EAP team to Mele Village. It is the largest village in Vanuatu and the majority of the Vanuatu Women’s team live there.
After driving through parts of the village we parked up ready to meet the local children. What followed was the most enjoyable 2 hours.
Mele and Ekasup Village
This morning I headed off with the ICC EAP team to Mele Village. It’s the largest village in Vanuatu and the majority of the Vanuatu Women’s team live there.
After driving through parts of the village we parked up ready to meet the local children. What followed was an unbelievably enjoyable two hours.
There were about 30 children fielding, with every single one of them wanting to have a bat. They were all really talented and I was a bit nervous about having a bat against the fast bowlers! Laughter and smiles were permanent throughout the game and it was a magic scene.
We took the kids across to the beach and here it was time for some stunning dive catches. The water was nice and warm and lots of fun was had attempting to pull off some catches.
It turns out the beach was a great place to test my artistic skills too. One of the young boys showed me how to draw a butterfly and a grumpy bear, both done while saying a rhyme.
I had an amazing time with the Mele children and appreciated them letting me join in.
We left Mele and headed for Ekasup. We were taken on a five minute walk through the tropical forest to Ekasup Cultural Village. We had to wait for the Chief to welcome us at the entrance, allowing us to enter the village. What is normally quite a tourist attraction, became a special setting for a cricket match between the men wearing their native costumes. I was allowed to join in and it was a very special time.
Today’s events are a true definition of ‘money can’t buy’ experiences and it was so nice to meet the local children.
After the two village visits I had the afternoon off. This was a great chance to walk through the markets and check out the shops. Unfortunately this morning a large cruise ship arrived for the day so what is normally a nice peaceful walk down the main street was carnage. Tourists everywhere.
Tomorrow I am with Samoa in the morning and then PNG for their play off game. Looking forward to being involved with the teams again.
Well the sun is starting to set so I better head back to the hotel and get ready for dinner.
Blog three: Game day one and two
It’s been a couple of full on days of cricket in the heat, but here’s a few of the highlights from the first two days of play.
I was lucky enough to be with the Cook Island team in the first match and this was their first ever official game - a historical moment and one they can be very proud of. They’re a great bunch of girls who are also amazing on the ukuleles!
After hearing about a huge crowd at Independence Park cheering on the local team, I then got to spend time with the Vanuatu team in the afternoon, as they backed it up and made it two from two. It was a pretty great effort from the girls!
I’d have to say that the most exciting moment so far happened while I was with the Japan team. After making a respectable total, Papa New Guinea managed to level the scores and force the tournament’s first super over! The Japanese girls handled the pressure extremely well and came out victorious to sit unbeaten with one round robin game left to play.
Tomorrow is a rest day for the teams and I am very excited about heading out into Mele and Erakor village to be involved in some development clinics with the local children.
Anyway that’s all from me as its bedtime. No need to depart at 7am tomorrow since there aren’t any games, so hopefully the rooster outside my room that’s been waking at 5am has a sleep in too.
Blog two: Training and opening ceremony
Today involved two hour trainings with PNG, Samoa, Japan and the Cook Islands. This was a great chance to meet the girls and work with them throughout the sessions. It’s fair to say the heat took its toll on a few players – myself included.
I was really impressed with the skills on display and am excited by what I expect to be some pretty exciting cricket matches in the coming days. These girls have some serious potential.
Later in the night there was the opening ceremony at Coconut Palms Resort. Everyone was dressed smartly, but it was the Japanese girls that were in demand as everyone took photos of them looking stunning in their kimonos.
It was an awesome day to get familiar with some of the teams, as well as a really fun time at the opening ceremony. Big first day of cricket tomorrow though so time to rest up.
Blog one: On my way
Before leaving Christchurch at 7am I had to somehow manage to pack half the wardrobe. I succeeded. Initially dressed in my winter woollies I quickly changed as soon as I touched down in Vanuatu at 2pm.
I am fortunate enough to be part of the ICC East Asia Pacific Championship in Vanuatu where six countries are fighting to take out the title. It should be fairly intense, as the winner will gain a place in the 2013 Women’s World Twenty20 Qualifying event.
The competitors are: Vanuatu, Samoa, Japan (defending champs), Fiji, Cook Islands and Papa New Guinea.
I’m very much looking forward to checking out the talent and will update you on how everything goes!