The inaugural three-match ODI (one-day invitational), series is causing a buzz of excitement across the community, with the series to be contested by the “best of the best” cricket players Rarotonga has to offer.
Newly-appointed Cook Islands Cricket chief executive officer Davis Teinaki says, “Vaka of Origin will be a unique and exciting event for Cook Islands Cricket pooling the best cricket players into two teams with Rarotonga being split through the middle.”
The island’s 10 cricket clubs have been divided into the Town (Blues) and Country (Maroons) teams for a three match 50-over series.
The teams are named in honour of “Vaka of Origin” sole sponsor, 21South Group.
As the management company for Sky Pacific Cook Islands and Varo Media, the two teams will be officially known as Sky Pacific Town and Varo Media Country.
For Grant Walker of 21South Group, having passionate cricketer Teinaki in charge of Cook Islands Cricket was the key factor to a new and exciting partnership.
“It’s great to see someone so passionate about the sport take the helm and it felt like the right time to bring cricket to the next level,” says Walker.
He is excited to see the two teams do battle in a cricket event on a scale never seen before on the island.
“I think with Digicel Fiji taking ownership of Sky Pacific this year, and Varo media expanding, the time was right to make a sizable contribution to the community,” he says.
“I plan to see this become an annual affair, and both Davis and I are very keen to get other current and potential sponsors to see what his passion can do.”
Sky Pacific Town will be coached by Kaiwole Eliu and managed by Terry William.
Club cricketers from Avatiu/Nikao, Takuvaine, Tupapa 1, Tupapa 2 and Matavera make up the Town team.
The squad includes Ray Roumanu, Patiamai Ataera, Melody Melota, Tesl Atiau, Iro, Teaute Ravarua, Daniel Vailoa, Parker Daniel, Wayken Punga, Teokoitu Pana, Osolai Akai, Tia Matatia, Nooroto William, James Vinika and Toni Piila
Varo Media Country will be coached by Apii Mamanu and managed by Pare Rongokea.
Making up the Country team are cricketers from the village clubs of Turangi, Avana, Muri, Titikaveka and Arorangi.
The squad includes Vane Tangimetua, Vane Tangimetua Junior, Tutu Tangimetua, Tiri Toa, To Vea, Mapu Maoate, Mike Hoff, Pakia Wichman, Rama Teiki, Matt Beasley, Glen (Hori) Miller, Chauncey Flay, Pastor Zekaria, Cameron Thorp, Ben Vakatini, Shane Phillips, Denne Bourke, Jeff Vinicombe, Alister Webb, Ngametua and Chris Mana.
The bigger picture behind the tournament is to prepare the islands top players for the international stage as next year the International Cricket Council (ICC) have announced an ODI tournament for East Asia Pacific.
Cook Islands Cricket’s funding from ICC is a direct reflection on the performance of the national squad in these tournaments.
For Cook Islands Cricket, having players adjust to the new 50-over format means the association can select and train a high performance squad to not only be competitive at this tournament, but also to move up the ranks in the region.
The “Vaka of Origin” is designed to inspire enthusiasm and participation before the 2016 domestic season starting in August
The opening ceremonies and first match will be at Raemaru Park at 10am on June 11. The second match on June 18 with the final battle scheduled for June 25.
Follow updates and news on the “Vaka of Origin” Facebook page and mark your calendar and bring the family down for not to be missed cricket action in the “Vaka of Origin” series showdown.
- Mana Media