Photo Credit: Cricket PNG
The Brian Bell Village World Cup Female Under 19 Tournament, supported by the NZ High Commission was played over the weekend of March 19/20 at Amini Park, with the New Zealand team taking out top honors. This is the first of the series that will next move to the regions with Under 15 Tournaments being scheduled for Lae, Popondetta, Alatau, and Central over the next two months. Brian Bell and the NZ High Commission, through these tournaments, are empowering the young women of PNG and making a positive difference in their lives.
Following the success of the Village World Cup Series in 2021, supported by the PNG Aus Partnership with a focus on vaccination against Covid, that allowed the people of PNG to celebrate the achievement of the Kumul Petroleum PNG Barramundis in making their first ever senior ICC World Cup. This first edition of the Brian Bell and NZ High Commission supported event, coincides with the ICC Women’s World Cup being held in New Zealand. The connection of the world of cricket to the villages of PNG is a feature of these events, allowing the young women of PNG to dream about representing PNG oneday on the world stage.
This edition had players from around PNG invited to compete, with girls from Alotau and Popondetta flown in along with many girls bused in from rural regions outside of Port Moresby. With over 50 girls competing, representing New Zealand, Australia, England and India, it was a great festival of cricket, where these young women experienced playing on the main oval at Amini Park. For most this was their first experience of playing at the home of cricket in PNG.
The tournament winners, representing NZ, played strongly for both days of the tournament, without losing a match. In the final they played England, who had only lost one match before the final. NZ dominated the clash winning by 5 wickets. England was reduced to 66 all out, with strong bowling from Imelda Vaburi, 3 wickets for 11 runs, with Initia Vagi and Hane Lohia both getting 2 wickets each for only 3 runs. Hane Lohia followed up her efforts with the ball, top scoring with 15 runs, supported well by Cathy Ute with 12 runs from 12 balls.
The battle for third was a tight one, with England beating Australia by 7 runs. Defending what seemed to be a low total, Baruka Vicky with 2 wickets for 5 runs from her 4 overs, and Shanel Ambo with 2 wickets for 13 runs from her 4 overs, restricted the Australian side.
Cricket PNG thanks both Brian Bell and the NZ High Commission for their support, without which, these events could not run.