Cook Islands coach Alister Stevic said the Cook Islanders though an amateur side have the potential to perform well during the week-long women’s cricket competition in the Pacific Games.
“You do your best as an amateur side. The girls continued training regularly since returning from Japan in 2014. The last 4 months has seen regular weekly dedication from the players including chalking up 3-4 early morning fitness sessions with the Team Manager Carlene Mapu and 3-4 evening training sessions with Coach Patiiamai Ataela,” Stevic said.
Commenting on players to look for Stevic said he is excited to have watched the growth of youngsters Sala Matapo and Phillica Maruariki. “Phillica is an aggressive batter who fits perfectly with the style we like to play in our Twenty20 cricket. Sala is a technical batter and her rise to prominence as one of the country’s best batters has been exciting,” Stevic added.
Vice captain of the team, Marii Kaukura said the "women's cricket in the Cook Islands is ever increasing in its popularity and as a team we are proud to be at the forefront of inspiring another generation of young female cricketers to represent our great country. If we give our all in every match - we will make our nation proud!"
Meanwhile for the reining EAP Women’s Champions, the Pacific MMI PNG Lewas coach Rodney Maha said he was very confident that the team is geared up to face the other national women’s teams in the Pacific Games.
“We are on track to maintain our record as being the champions of the Pacific Region and with the sucess our recent development tour in Samoa, we are adamant that Lewas will be a force to reckon with come the Pacific Games,” Maha said.
“We have very experienced players in the likes of Tanya Ruma, Norma Ovasuru and Captain Pauke Siaka with a good mix of upcoming players such as Helen Buruka and Brenda Tau,” Maha concluded.
Pacific MMI PNG Lewas Cricket Team Captain Pauke Siaka is confident leading the inaugural PNG women’s cricket team to compete in the Pacific Games in July. The 29 year old cricket all rounder from Hanuabada Village is married to Vice Captain of PNG Barramundis Assad Vala and said the team is focused to maintain their winning streak in the Pacific Games having being crowned champions in the East Asia-Pacific region after winning the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) East Asia-Pacific (EAP) Trophy in Japan last year.
“We have played against the teams from the Pacific such as Samoa, Vanuatu, New Caledonia and Cook Islands and we have beaten them in the ICC international fixtures in previous years, thus we are very keen as a team to maintain our title as champions of the Pacific,” Siaka said.
Pauke has been playing cricket since the age of 19 in the Port Moresby Cricket Association and has now proven to Cricket PNG selectors that she is capable in leading the women to glory come the Pacific Games and other international ICC fixtures in the year ahead. “I have played with the PNG Lewas since making my debut in 2008 and making my way to be selected as the captain is such an honor for me and I have faith in leading the PNG women’s cricket team with one aim in the Pacific Games and that is to win gold,” Siaka concluded.
The XV Pacific Games Women’s Cricket kicks off in Port Moresby, PNG on Monday July 6th with live scoring for every match. For more information visit www.icceap.com
Photo shows Cook Islands women celebrating victory.