Matavera's Bobby Hansen goes for boundary in the men's final last year. He is one of the players expected to lead the charge for the side against Muri in the opening round of the 2020 season today. 19120804
Defending champions Matavera are set for an easy start to their title defence campaign in round one of the Rarotonga Cricket Club competition today.
The side will take on minnows Muri at Nukupure Park at 3pm in one of the four men’s matches to be played in the opening round one of the weekly competition.
Tupapa will host Tavana, Nikao will battle Arorangi while Turangi will face Takuvaine in the other matches.
Matavera made history last year after becoming the first club to win the women’s and men’s title in the same year.
Davis Teinaki, the chief executive officer of Cook Islands Cricket Association, says they are the top bet again for the title this year.
“Matavera has the upper hand as favourites for the competition but a huge threat/challenge to their title defence is coming from the likes of Nikao, Turangi and Tupapa in the men's competition,” Teinaki said.
However, Teinaki said they cannot rule out the minnows as they have caused major upsets in the past.
Former champions Turangi are wary of Takuvaine who beat them in the opening round of the competition last year.
Turangi’s Amoa More said they underestimated the minnows and paid for it.
“It was at the beginning of the competition last year and we are in a similar situation again this year but this time we are cautious. The team has been training for a while and we are quite confident of our chances,” More said.
Turangi will be led by veteran Vane Tangimetua Sr and will have the likes of Mapu Maoate and Vane Jr as well as their Indian imports Arun Kumar and Kannan Mathukkalai.
Kumar has proven lethal with the bat and Mathukkalai is the team’s top bowler.
“They are working here in Rarotonga and we are pleased to have their services. This will be their third year playing for us.”
Davis Teinaki said all clubs were looking forward to the 2020 season.
He said the women’s competition which has six teams competing would start after the men’s third round.
“The season has moved forward so we can have more time to play cricket. Normally our season starts on the third week of September. Clubs are eager to get out there and enjoy their games of cricket.
“I would like to thank all clubs participating in the competition this year and wish them the best for the season. May the best team win.”
Muri-Matavera at Nukupure Park, Tupapa-Tavana at Victoria Park, Nikao-Arorangi at Nikao Field, Turangi-TKV at Turangi Oval