It was a special win for the Cooks who had made it their prime objective to record their first ever win at the 2014 Pepsi ICC East Asia-Pacific (EAP) Women’s Trophy in Japan.
After losing comprehensively in their first two matches, the Cooks side gained in strength with each game and were edging closer and closer to a win as the tournament progressed, falling just eight runs short in their first match against Vanuatu and only three painful runs short against the Australian Victorian Country side.
Cricket’s CEO Alister Stevic said that the win marked a very special moment.
“All week the girls had talked about and fought hard for that first ever win for our people back home; there were a lot of sad faces at the end of the night when we didn’t quite get there so to win against Vanuatu and to win in such a comprehensive manner was an amazing feeling for the team,” said Stevic.
“I also believe that being an entirely 100 per cent local based team added to that feeling of achievement.”
The Cooks Islands have only been playing women’s hard ball cricket for three years compared with their tournament opposition who have all been playing women’s cricket in their respective countries for more than 10 years and have populations between 400,000 to six million people which Stevic says reemphasises that there is plenty of locally based talent in the Cook Islands.
“The win is also very special in terms of what I believe says a lot about how tough our people are; there are plenty of excuses not to win, for example having a small population and so on, but this team never allowed themselves any excuses and demanded top performance from themselves and each other.
“So I believe that this win is a proud and hopefully inspirational moment for every Cook Islander. I’m also pleased that the months of hard work and professionalism from our ladies have paid off and that each player has this very special moment in history for the rest of time.”
With another tournament this year and the Pacific Mini Games next year the squad will have little rest time before they are back into full time training in the hunt for more wins and a medal in PNG.
The history making women’s cricket team included June George (captain), Marii Kaukura, Phillica Maruariki, Lacyn Rani, Memory Kauvai, Benedicta Matapo, Amanda Mangi, Tina Mato, Antoinette Hewett, Punanga Kaveao, Tekura Kaukura, Jasminda Tuaputa and Daena Kataina.