For the first time Cricket Fiji have included an Under-23 fixture in the lead-up to the annual Easter Tournament, which in 2014 will be celebrating it’s 70th year.
Four teams will be participating in the 2014 U23 Easter Tournament, in an initiative that aims to bring a greater level of competitiveness to Fiji’s biggest domestic tournament, as well as provide a further avenue for Fijian cricket’s budding elite talents to showcase their abilities.
In today’s first match of the U23 fixture, the team from Moce took on Cricket Fiji’s Invitational II side. Invitational II batted first, making 138 runs before being bowled out in 37 overs. Viliame Yabaki, in his first match back on Fijian soil since returning from his player placement at Melbourne’s Boroondara Cricket Club, starred for the Invitational side, smashing 72 runs, before being dismissed LBW by Napolioni Gu.
With the ball for Moce, Fuluna Matanitui and Lenard Maori were the pick of the bowlers, with figures of 3-17 (off seven overs) and 3-37 (off 10 overs) respectively.
Moce were sent into bat in the second innings, but no one could seemingly get a start, with the Invitation II bowlers having all the answers. Sakiusa Dokosobau (2-17 off four), Josaia Baleicikobia (1-19 off five) and Cakacaka Tikoisuva (2-6 off three) all bowled exceptionally, with Viliame Yabaki again showing the apparent wealth of benefit of his summer spent playing cricket in Australia, topping the bowling figures with 4-7 off 2.2 overs.
Saimoni Tuitoga was also a notable performer in his first competitive game wicket-keeping, taking two catches and making two stumpings for the Invitational side.
Over on Albert Park one, the Lau Conference qualifiers continued, with the dominant Moce taking on Komo.
Komo won the toss and chose to bat first, before being bowled out for 121 runs of 38 overs. Laitia Qalowasa top scored with the bat in first innings with 28 runs, whilst Tagilala Rakuita (3.28 off 10), Maciu Gauna (2-32 off nine), Manase Tabu (3-37 off nine) and Maina Lamilamica (2-24 off 10) all performed solidly with the ball.
In the second innings, Maciu Gauna, another overseas-based Fijian player, showed the wealth of his experience from playing cricket on Australian shores, hitting a quick-fire 34 off 38 balls for Moce. However Cama Inoke top scored for the eventual winners, with 41 not out, as Moce went on to be 3-125 off 18 overs, and run out seven-wicket winners.
With the ball for Komo Tadulala Veitacini and Laitia Qalowasa were the notable performers for Komo, with figures off 1-20 (off three overs) and 1-27 (off four overs) respectively.
The final day of play in the Lau Conference qualifiers will continue tomorrow, before the top-three teams who have qualified to play in next week’s Easter Tournament will be announced. Moce will face Ono-I-Lau on Albert Park one, whilst over at Albert Park two, Lakeba II will play Komo.
Should you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact Laura Macintosh on 9988 121.