Fiji team preparing for the Pacific Games.Photo: SUPPLIED.
The Samoan and Fijian Women’s cricket teams are determined to show their ability in the Pacific Games come July.
Samoan Coach Ian West said that preparations for the Samoa team are always tough as our players are spread across several different countries/cities.
“We have also lost three of our most important players, Nathalie and Moelagi Tuilagi from Melbourne and Hana Mauafu, who have been key players for the team in recent times. Fitness was the key area that let us down in Japan, all the players were made aware of that and I am hoping to see some major improvements in that department from our team,” West said.
“Our captain Regina Lili`i was the player of the year for the Auckland Hearts in the New Zealand domestic competition and must have been very close to being picked to play for New Zealand on their current tour to India. She is a key all rounder. Lily Mulivai is returning from a broken leg so is in a race to be fully fit for this tournament but at her best is one of the quickest bowlers around and can hit it a long way with the bat. Matille Tuilagi performed well in the last EAP tournament in Japan then went to play 6 months of club cricket in Auckland and put in some good performances with bat and ball,” West added.
West added that PNG toured Samoa recently playing against the locally based players. “Even though we lost all 4 games heavily those matches were very beneficial as they highlighted some key areas for the players to work on if they do want to compete with the likes of PNG in the future.” West emphasized.
“Playing in the Pacific Games is an exciting prospect for the team as the environment will be completely different from the other cricket competitions we have played in previously. I don’t think any of our squad have been to PNG before so we are all looking forward to seeing a new part of the world and we will be looking to play some entertaining cricket for the people who come to watch,” West concluded.
Meanwhile Fijian Women’s Coach Joe Rika said that team preparations have been good and the girls are confident they have covered all the required bases, and look forward to the competition.
“The team held a Twenty20 series development tour in Lautoka, Fiji against a touring Melbourne Cricket Club women’s side recently and now the team is solely focused on using the Pacific Games to qualify for the next round of ICC competitions.
“”It’s also a great opportunity to raise the profile of women’s cricket in Fiji and the Pacific region and because of the limited opportunities for the girls to play over the past 3 years they’re going to give it everything they’ve got,” Rika concluded.
“Some of the players that are sure to make a mark in the games from our bowlers are Joana Lesianawai, Jimaima Bulatalei, and Luanne Rika while batters Loma Kacilala Batinibulu, Mere Dainitoga, and Lisapeci Vulisere Waqavakatoga will all be worth keeping an eye on,” Rika said.
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