Cricket: Cricket: Team win boosts game in Samoa, while PNG prepares for West Indies

The boss of Samoa Crciket believes the women’s game will be boosted by the under-19 women’s team’s World Cup qualification.

Samoa lost one game to Papua New Guinea after the two rounds of matches but won the other five matches to top the qualification event and gain a spot at the 2025 Under-19 T20 World Cup.

Chief Executive Salā Stella Siale Vaea Tagitau, who was also team manager, said they are excited about the future of the sport following their victory in Bali, Indonesia last week.

“It’s great for the sport,” she said.

“It’s great for the promotion of the sport, not only for Samoa but for female cricketers in the region.

“And also for our young generations of cricketers coming up. I think it’s fantastic for the sport, is just fantastic for the country as well. We’re very excited about the future of sport in the country.”

She said the team went into the Twenty20 World Cup qualifier as underdogs – and won.

They had Indonesia and Papua New Guinea as their more experienced opponents.

“We went into the qualifier as underdogs. It’s the first time for Samoa to participate in the East Asia Pacific qualifier for the under 19 women,” Tagitau said.

“We were qualified in 2020, but due to COVID we couldn’t travel. But this time we were ready to go to Indonesia and we came back with the championship.

“We didn’t even know how we were going to fair against countries that were obviously much stronger than us and more experienced since they played in the qualifiers before, particularly Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.”

Tagitau said it was not easy for them but they surprised the world of cricket by winning all their matches in the first round and then just dropping one against PNG in the second round.

They finished the event with five wins and a loss, ahead of both PNG and Indonesia. Fiji finished last at the event, without a win.

“Here we are, qualifying for the World Cup for next January in Malaysia,” she said.

Pathway for players

Tagitau said they were excited to have a team of all-females leading the team at the qualifier.

Team coach was former Samoan international Tuaoloa Helen Semau, who was assisted by Perelini Mulitalo. They worked with coaching mentor Shelley Fruin of New Zealand.

The team captain was Avetia Fetu Mapu.

She said Samoa Cricket believes in setting a clear pathway that they can follow, giving players the opportunity to develop their skills set and talents.

“We want to provide opportunities for our own players, a career pathway for them, especially senior players who we know are at the peak and they know there is a pathway for them to help out and to contribute to for the growth of women’s game or women’s cricket.

“Not only internally, but the region as well, so his is why we opted for Helen when she put her hand up.

“This is a great opportunity for us to have our own female players to coach our young ones coming through.”

The win will boost the interest in the sport locally, she said, with numbers actively involved at 33,000 in the two main islands of ‘Upolu and Sava’i.

The team included both local and New Zealand based players.

Overseas based players also included

Because of indiscipline some players who had played for the senior team in Vanuatu in 2023 were dropped from the squad, forcing national selectors to look for new players both locally and overseas.

“We had to reach out to sisters in Auckland, if they could look for some players in Auckland to make up the team,” she said.

“So, there were two preparations, for the players in Samoa and Auckland. This is why we left early for Bali so we could put the players together and have time for them to climatize and practise playing together as a team.

“We saw some different levels of experience in our players because some of our locals play with the seniors at home but those that came in did not have that experience as per their competition rules but they complemented each other when they came together as a team.

“It was a very positive experience for everybody concerned. And the preparations just kind of came together at the last minute.”

Tagitau said they were grateful to all those who supported them and hopes the support at home and worldwide will continue as they prepare for the world cup.

“I want to thank all the farmers all over the world, not only in Samoa, the parents and friends and families who have supported us throughout our journey as we prepared to go to the EAP qualifier in Bali.

“I still ask to keep on supporting us in whatever way you can.”

Members of the PNG Barramundis cricket team in Saint Kitts, West Indies.

Barramundis get former West Indies rep as specialist coach

The PNG Barramundis have arrived in the West Indies for the ICC T20 World Cup Tournament.

And they have secured the service of specialist coach, Phil Simmons, who is a former West Indies cricketer.

Simmons, now based in London, said, his role is to consultant the coaches.

“I have to see how I can put across my experience, not just playing in world cups but playing in the Caribbean and the things that we should be looking at to make sure we do it right in the Caribbean and especially the venues that we play at,” he said in a Cricket PNG statement.

Simmons said the team has shown a lot of enthusiasm.

“The guys look like they have settled in really well. Yesterday in training we started to get out in the middle of their game so they started on some of the things they have to do here in the Caribbean and its nice to see the energy that’s among this squad,” he added.

The team have now settled into St Kitts where they will be based for the initial round of training sessions and practice matches.

They meet the West Indies on 2 June in their opening game.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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