After exciting rounds of competition on Rarotonga, cricket lovers in Mangaia and Mitiaro also took to the field to showcase their bowling, batting and fielding skills in the weekly competition. Aitutaki will start their cricket action this week in senior men’s and women’s and under-19 grades.
Cook Islands Cricket chief executive officer Alister Stevic said he was excited about the progress of development works at the outer islands.
He was also pleased with the commitment of the junior cricketers who joined the competition this season.
The Mangaia Cricket season swung into action with junior cricket in the schools played on Fridays over five weeks. Four teams each competed in the senior boys, senior girls and junior mixed grades.
The senior competition began at the conclusion of the junior season, with four teams each in the men and women grades.
The competition was played over five weeks, but a “rainout” in the first week meant teams missed out on a game each. Veitatei finished on top of the Mangaia men’s points table followed by Keia II and Tavaenga on second place while Keia I finished last.
In the women’s competition, Veitatei ensured they emulated the achievements of their men’s side, winning the competition followed by Tavaenga, Keia I and Keia II. Stevic said there were some positives worth highlighting from the Mangaia competition.
“They established their own umpires association with up and coming umpire Tuara Tuara officiating in most of the matches and doing a great job.
“More youth players played in the senior men’s and women’s competitions than in previous years - meaning the game is becoming very sustainable on the island.
“The timing of the season was perfect for the selectors to choose their best teams for the open men and open women for the coming Mangaia Tri Series against Australia and New Zealand.”
Mitiaro also had a successful season, starting with a week-long school carnival which had four junior mixed teams playing in a round robin competition.
Two senior secondary age group teams also played the best of five games, with the Mitiaro seniors winning the secondary competition against the Nukuroa seniors team.
“While most islands take a Christmas break from cricket, Aitutaki will start their cricket action this week with Vaipae, Tautu, Arenikau and Amuri all boasting a men’s, women’s and U19 boys and U19 girls team each,” Stevic said. “They will play a round robin, then a knockout competition and end in February with a Champion of Champions match between the winner of the round robin and the knockout competition.”
Meanwhile a six-a-side competition for men’s, women’s and U19 teams is being planned for Rarotonga in mid-January.
Cook Islands Cricket president Oliver Syme and Stevic are extending a warm thank you to all the outer island volunteers, teachers and executive committees for their tireless work in helping to promote and run cricket on the outer islands. “Without them, we simply could not continue to develop cricket,” Stevic added.