Photo Credit: Cricket PNG
The Brian Bell Village World Cup Female Under 15 Series, supported by the NZ High Commission continued its journey around PNG with the fourth event held in Lae on Wednesday May 11. Four teams made up of students from Taraka Primary School, AOG Christian Academy, Haikoast Primary School, Omili Primary School and St Patrick’s Catholic Primary School represented England, West Indies, Bangladesh and PNG.
The Showgrounds in Lae is a beautiful place to play cricket, with a lush green outfield covering the oval. The oval came to life with these young women, enjoying themselves, making new friends across different schools, playing for their adopted countries, and cheering on the teams when they were on the sidelines watching.
It was a thrilling event, with England being crowned “Queens of Cricket in Lae”. PNG fought hard in the final after being undefeated in their lead up matches, however, in a match that emulated the 2019 World Cup Final between NZ and England, the match went to a second super over to decide England as the champions.
Cricket PNG General Manager Tony Naidu, Game Development Manager Margaret Sibona, BSP Kriket Coordinator Henao Samuel and Domestic Cricket Manager Lakani Oala, were in attendance supporting the event, along with local BSP School Kriket Program Regional Coordinator Daniel Kacho and his team.
Henao Samuel, BSP School Kriket Coordinator, talked to the young girls about the value of the day, “Today is about having fun and making new friends more than anything else.” Margaret Sibona, Game Development Manager, further added, “There are no prizes for best batter or bowler today, everyone gets prizes because you are all winners.” Thanks to the support of Brian Bell and the NZ High Commission all girls that participated received a prize to go home with, along with a playing shirt to keep. The victorious England team has earnt the right to represent Lae in Port Moresby in June as all the regional winners will attend the Champions Day at the home of cricket in PNG.
Of note in this installment of the Brian Bell Village World Cup was the high level of engagement of volunteers from the Lae Cricket Association. The previous night Lakani Oala, Domestic Cricket Manager, ran an umpiring course with 23 participants, male and female in attendance. This is a new record for regional umpiring training. Tony Naidu, General Manager, spoke to the participants and thanked them for their commitment, “Improving coaching and umpiring is critical to growing cricket anywhere in the world and to see so many turn out for this event, shows how vibrant the cricket community is in Lae”. Several attendees of the training turned up to help at the Showgrounds the next day, helping ensure the day was a success.
Cricket PNG is looking forward to continuing this winning formula, supporting those on the ground ensuring cricket is the sport for everyone. The next Brian Bell Village World Cup for Under 15 Girls is scheduled for Popondetta on May 18.