Defending champions Tupapa will be hoping to retain the title when they host Turangi in the grand final this Saturday at Victoria Park.
Both teams have progressed through to the final on a fine winning run and are expected to put up a grand fight for the overall title in the showdown.
Turangi is a rejuvenated side and with the inclusion of Tiri Toa from Muri and Tereinga Maoate from Avana, the side seemed to have the chinks in their armour well covered.
Toa’s bowling ability has forced some early dismissal of batters, while opening batsman Maoate has ensured a firing start to Turangi’s campaign this season.
“Captain Courageous,” Vane Tangimetua, has been a class of his own with both bat and ball throughout the season while brother Elia has proven to be a big hit with his smashing run rate. “Turangi has the most under -19s of any of the top four sides with their investment and confidence in players like Toutika, Mapu Maoate and Vane (junior) Tangimetua is paying big dividends this year,” said Cook Islands Cricket chief executive officer Alister Stevic.
“Vane Junior has bowled the team out of trouble on a number of occasions. But being in their first grand final brings different pressures.”
While Turangi is a newbie in the final, Tupapa has been a regular after winning the title for the past three years, consecutively.
“For the Tupapa boys, its business as usual. The Tupapa team, made up of primarily Wale boys, love their cricket and their village,” Stevic said.
“Winning is a huge source of pride for the Tupapa side and they will be anxious to continue their winning record and go on to become champs four years in a row.
“That will present their biggest challenge, they will need to stay in the moment and not get a head of themselves.”
Tupapa is stacked with experience with the likes of Patiiamai Ataela, Osolai Akai, Junior Korua, Parker Daniel and Wayken Punga, to name a few, all playing in their fourth grand final.
Home field advantage will also help youngsters Daniel Vailoa and Tesl Atiau to ease their way in fielding especially in bowling to get stuck in to the Turangi batters early.
“But Tupapa are prone to nerves. Their last two grand finals were no walk in the park and it took match-saving innings from Ataela and Toala Teinaki to get Tupapa home in the previous two occasions. However, this season there’s no Teinaki.
“Kanute and Parker Daniel have filled those voids and have been ripping teams apart with their big hitting.” - RK
Children celebrate their right to play
Extreme heat didn’t deter the enthusiastic children who turned out in numbers to celebrate every child’s right to play for International Children’s Day last week.
More than 170 children took part in various activities at Tupapa Field on Friday.
The afternoon kicked off with a short discussion of the day’s theme and its relevance to children around the world.
Following this, the Just Play Village Festivals volunteers and staff of the various sporting partners which include soccer, cricket, rugby and badminton were set the huge task of delivering activities.
They did extremely well catering for the large numbers continually rotating through their organised areas.
One rotation allowed the children a little break and some much needed shade as Lani Matanitabua from the disability division of Internal Affairs managed to capture their attention with some brief discussions and teachings about respect and inclusion.
Being fully active in extreme temperatures certainly made the water stations very popular areas with many not waiting for the compulsory drinks break to refuel themselves before heading onto their next activity.
The instigator of this popular and successful community initiative, village festivals, Michelle Paiti was pleased with the turnout.
“What more could we possibly ask for on a day where we celebrate our children but to have a field full of activity and FUN for all.
“Having the support of the parents and the community is important for our children if they are to become our role models and leaders of the future.”
Paiti added they were blessed to have the continued support from their external partners, the Australian Government (Ausaid), New Zealand Government (NZaid), Oceania Football Confederation (OFC), UEFA and UNICEF, as well as all local partners, which allowed this sports for development programme to grow.
- CIFA Media