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CICA names women’s team for T20 World Cup Qualifier

Thursday 10 August 2023 | Written by CI News Staff | Published in Cricket, Sports


CICA names women’s team for T20 World Cup Qualifier
Cook Islands Women’s cricket team with Dan Vann and coach Tomakanute Ritawa (Kunta) at the Tupapa Court during a train in June this year. LOSIRENE LACANIVALU/23061407

Cook Islands Cricket Association (CICA) has named the final squad that will participate in the East Asia Pacific qualifying tournament, to be played from September 1 to 8 in Vanuatu.

This is the first step towards qualification for the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup to be played in Bangladesh in 2024.

The 14-member team will be captained by veteran June George and assisted by Marii Kaukura. The team is coached by Tomakanute Ritawa and managed by Tepaeru Makiroa Maire Mato. CICA president Grant Walker will also travel with the team.

The squad will leave Rarotonga on Thursday, August 24 with a stopover in Auckland where they are scheduled to play two practice matches on August 27 against an Auckland Maori Women’s team. The squad will then fly to Vanuatu on August 29 to participate in the tournament and return home via Auckland on September 10.

In a statement, CICA said: “With an average age of 27 the team is a great combination of experience and youth and is made up of local Cook Islands based cricketers as well as New Zealand based cricketers having Cook Islands heritage.”

“Currently the local players have practice sessions every week which include fitness work, fielding drills, net sessions, open wicket practice and game scenarios whereas the New Zealand based players are all working hard at their respective facilities. Head coach Tomakanute Ritawa plans to intensify the training sessions in the coming weeks while also trying to organise practice matches locally.”

With the efforts being put in CICA president Grant Walker is confident that the team is definitely shaping up nicely to be competitive in the tournament.

Grant said: “It’s a fantastic opportunity for Cook Islands Women to gain valuable international sporting experience. The work we have put in so far will also pay dividends in the future as Cook Islands teams are also looking at participating in the Pacific Cup cricket tournament to be held in New Zealand in January 2024.”

Grant further added that “the trip wouldn’t have been possible without the efforts of everyone involved i.e., the players, head coach Kunta, team manager Makiroa and CICA’s other committee members”.

“I would also like to thank Andrew Iroa from Evolution Sports in Rarotonga, Karati Mato (Bundy) for helping us with our training sessions in Raro, Tetiare Mataora, Garry Wood and Carol for helping train the NZ based players and Dan Vann from Evolution Sports NZ for helping us in multiple ways.

“Last but not the least a big thank you to the families and employers of everyone involved for their support and understanding with regards to the time involved in training and the trip itself.”

Cook Islands women’s team – The travelling squad is as follows: June George – Captain, Marii Kaukura – Vice Captain, Tereakana Daena Kataina, Punanga Kaveao, Phillica Maruariki, Tina Mato, Tapuaiva Charn Piakura, Maya Tepou Piakura, Teraimateata Touna, Zamera Precious Maeva, Taylor Talapaki Maika, Koitai Mataora, Sofia Kura Samuels, Sonnia Vaia; Tomakanute Ritawa – Team Coach, Tepaeru Makiroa Maire Mato – Team Manager, Grant Walker – CICA President. The non-travelling reserves are as follows: Cecelia Pataitai and Angite Ruarau