Pacific East Asia team record best ever result in Australian country cricket championships | Pacific Beat

Pacific East Asia team record best ever result in Australian country cricket championships

Pacific East Asia team record best ever result in Australian country cricket championships

Updated 15 January 2013, 12:28 AEST

This week the Australian Country Cricket Championships have wrapped up in in the Queensland city of Bundaberg.

It brought together some of the best cricketers from around the country, and also the region.

Once again taking part was the team representing East Asia and the Pacific, with players from PNG, Vanuatu and elsewhere.

The team has recorded its best result in the 10 years it has been taking part, with many of its players attracting the interest of selectors in major competitions in Australia and New Zealand.

Presenter: Campbell Cooney

Speaker: Kieran McMillan, ICC East Asia Pacific Regional Development Manager

MCMILLAN: It started yesterday, and New South Wales remained undefeated right throughout the 12 days of cricket, so they finished on top of the table and won back-to-back championships. But I guess more importantly from our point of view, we had a fantastic tournament for the East Asia Pacific side. They won four out of their seven games which is the most they've ever won in the ten years we've been involved and in fashioned fourth place. I'm just so proud of the players.

COONEY: Well, is that a significant improvement over ten years. I mean what would you put that down to?

MCMILLAN: Oh, I think the level of coaching in PNG, in Vanuatu and around the region has improved significantly, both through the development of local coaches, but also through partnerships that they've formed with the Australian State Association, so Vanuatu has a close link actually with New Zealand, with Cricket Wellington and PNG with Queensland Cricket, so that's helped a lot. They play a lot more tournaments now. The international schedule for these associated and affiliate members of the ICC have increased and yeah, if you look at the story of our team involved in these country championships. Last year, they won three out of their seven games and that was the most they've ever done in the previous nine years, and they've gone one better this year. So now the boys are talking about coming back next year and winning it. So it's really given them some sort of confidence and a number of these players are not going unnoticed by influential people and selectors within Australian Cricket, so it's really promising.

COONEY: We'll get to that very soon, but let's just walk through those results. The competition I think started on the third. How did the team go all up and the wins and losses right through?

MCMILLAN: So the last time we spoke was on Friday, and we were in the middle of a game against New South Wales, which we lost. They, as I said before were unbeaten and a very tough side, so we lost to that. Since then, we've played two one day games, so we played Western Australia on Sunday and then Northern Territory yesterday and we won both those games. They were one day matches. Again there's some fantastic sort of bowling and batting performances from the players, including an unbeaten century yesterday by Tony Ura from PNG. He scored 126 not out from 91 balls, so chasing 215. I said to the players just before. I had to jump on a plane to come back to Melbourne. We'll hopefully you guys can wrap it up and finish with our best ever championships and they did it in 30 overs. So yeah,..

COONEY: They're doing it for you Kieran.

MCMILLAN: I don't think so. Well, it's the first time we've actually had indigenous coaches for the side. Normally we've had an East Asia Pacific ICC regional coach and he's come from Australia, but this time the players have really responded to one of their own and they've got the best ever boys, so I think that's the way we'll continue in future championships.

COONEY: Alright, as you mentioned there, at least one of the players whose taking part in this team is playing or is connected with one of the Big Bash teams. You mentioned as well there that they're impressing people. You would think or perhaps that you will see more of these guys taking part in competitions like that in other regional comps?

MCMILLAN: Yeah, absolutely. I mean the talk around the grounds, just talking to the various people involved with the other state sides was that they were hugely impressed and they love the way they play their cricket, they bring some flair and some innovation to the game that really excites people when they watch them. And one of the players Assad Vala, who was selected for the Australian Country 11 that was tournament team, picked out of this championship. There's talk of him possibly landing a Queensland contract in 2013-14.

COONEY: That's pretty good. You can't beat that for a result?

MCMILLAN: Oh absolutely, and I think for us as developing cricket in the region, we need one of those. We need those type of heroes. You've seen the type of impact that someone like Marcus Bai has had on Rugby League in PNG and if we can create those same sort of local heroes for cricket, then it's going to go a long way to increasing the profile and the promotion of the game and link that down to the participation at a grassroots level.

Contributors

Campbell Cooney

Campbell Cooney

Correspondent

Campbell joined the ABC in 1997 and has been reporting as Radio Australia’s Pacific Correspondent since 2006.

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