By LAURA MACINTOSH
The preliminary rounds of the Lautoka Secondary Schools’ Cricket Tournament concluded last weekend, with two matches held at the Central College grounds in Lautoka.
In game one Pundit Vishnu Deo Memorial College faced Central College, batting first and finishing with 8-50 off their designated 20 overs. In reply Central remarkably chased down the total in just eight overs, for the loss of no wickets.
Pundit once again padded up to face Natabua College in their second match for the day. Batting first again, this time Pundit piled on a massive 118 runs in their 20 overs. Koto top scored for Pundit with 65 runs, holding onto his wicket until the 18th over. In reply Natabua could only manage 26 runs before being bowled out in just six overs. Viliame took five early wickets for Pundit with the ball, and following up from his remarkable performance with the bat, Koto chimed in taking four with the ball.
It was a fantastic end to Pundit’s 2013 campaign, recording a 98-run win after two close losses in earlier weeks, in what is only their first year of participating in the tournament. Ravinesh Kumar, who besides being President of the Lautoka Cricket Association and facilitator of the Lautoka Secondary School’s Cricket Tournament, is also a maths and physics teacher at Pundit, and the coach of their first cricket side.
“This is the first time the boys are exposed to cricket there (at Pundit),” Kumar explained, “and there’s (been) a lot of interest. This year was just development…we will have a pretty good team next year.”
After transferring to Pundit from teaching and coaching at Tilak High School for the past four years, Kumar hopes that his passion for cricket will hope the sport grow in the west.
“The goal is to have some…players representing the national team from the western side,” Kumar explained. “I have noticed that the majority of the players (in the national side) are from Suva…because the club (competition) is much bigger there, so we are hoping to revive these Lautoka clubs so that we have more players in the national team.”
“We have a lot of good players from what we have seen from the competition for secondary schools,” Kumar continued. “We have good batsman and bowlers here, so…we hope we can bring this to the club (level) and then to the association (level) and then to the national side…”
The Lautoka Cricket Association’s club competition is due to start once the Secondary Schools’ Tournament concludes. Kumar said they hoped to have six teams competing this year, including a team from the University of Fiji and two teams made up of players from the participating secondary schools.
After two rounds of preliminary matches, the standings in the Lautoka Secondary Schools’ Cricket Tournament are as follows:
1. Central College
2. Natabua College
3. Pundit Vishnu Deo Memorial College
4. Tilak High School
The final of the Lautoka Secondary Schools’ Cricket Tournament will be held this Saturday at the Central College grounds in Lautoka, between Central and Natabua.