Imaki WICP Team celebrating victory with the Vanuatu Cricket CEO, Tim Cutler (center right), outgoing Marketing Manager, Melissa Fare (center left) and WICP Officer, Lucien Tulangi (center bottom).
Green and Yellow dresses may have painted Tafea day with scenes of a victorious Ifira Women’s Island Cricket Team however the victory would be short lived as the mamas from Imaki took revenge back in Vila in a tightly fought contest marking the final of the 2021 NCD (Non-Communicable Disease) Cup with a historical win over rivals Ifira at the Vanuatu Cricket Ground.
In a day affected by rain Imaki won the toss and chose to bat, given their style of play this seemed to work in their favour early as they got off to a quick start. Ifira, however, were fantastic in the field as the mamas grew into the contest adding a bit of fire to a 'cold' November day in the tropics, managing to skittle Imaki’s lower order, but not before a rare six from one of the mamas over the square leg boundary which caused eruptions of joy and laughter on both sides.
In return Ifira grew a lead which they took into their second 50-ball innings. Imaki were superb in the field, showing off the skills they trained week in and out for throughout the year, putting sustained pressure on the Ifira mamas, who went into the final innings with a lead of just 60.
Imaki, having only just formed as a WICP community a few years ago now, seemed on the verge of a stunning maiden final victory. With the fall of a few wickets however - and some classic ‘island cricket’ umpiring – as Imaki’s nerves began to show, Ifira’s spirits lifted, with one wicket in hand and ten runs needed for victory. Ifira’s comeback wasn’t to be though, as a sweep over midwicket for four handed Imaki their first ever title with the team and their supporters breaking out into cheering, dancing and singing as they claimed victory in the 2021 NCD Cup.
Imaki celebrate their maiden NCD Cup title.
Women’s Island Cricket Ambassador Lucien Tulangi concluded with her admiration and respect for Imaki’s victory but also the victory for mama’s health saying:
“I am so pleased with how this year’s competition went, we (Ifira) were beaten on the day, and I would like to congratulate Imaki who showed great spirit, as did all the other teams this year. However, the real winner in the end is the mama’s health and the messages that Vanuatu Cricket wants heard in the community about non-communicable diseases and Gender based Violence.”
“I think we have an opportunity through sport to engage in supporting healthier lifestyles and begin tougher conversations with messaging surrounding gender-based violence and I hope we can continue to grow next year.”
The WICP program began almost a decade ago and has grown exponentially over the past few years through the efforts of the Vanuatu Cricket Association staff and WIP volunteers. The Vanuatu Cricket Association would like to thank TeamUp and the Australian Government for their continued support and the mamas for their commitment to being healthy.
The final concluded with a custom ceremony of thanks from the mamas across 5 WICP teams who presented the VCA with gifts in appreciation for the staging of both the NCD Cup and the CIBE Trophy in Tafea during October.
Mamas from the WICP launch on Tanna at the Tafea Day celebrations in October.