The Vanuatu Cricket Association is thrilled to announce Tafea Cricket Club as the victorious team in this year's Under 15 Club Championship. They showcased exceptional skills in a thrilling victory over the Paama Sharks in the Grand Final this past Saturday. The conclusion of the 2023 cricket season marked a significant milestone, with the resurgence of U-15 cricket led by senior U-19 Development Officers. These officers, just back from the U-19 East Asia Pacific World Cup Qualifier in Darwin, brought a renewed passion for the sport.
Kicking off in October, the competition unfolded with Tafea Cricket Club, Splashe Mele Bulls, Paama Sharks, and Mighty Saints fiercely battling it out for the coveted title of U-15 Champion. The tournament not only provided a stage for emerging talents but also offered an opportunity for the next generation of cricketers to immerse themselves in the game.
The Grand final showcased this emerging talent with Paama Sharks sent into bat first. Tafea’s bowling lineup rattled Paama Sharks' top order, including leading run-scorer Suria Rajen. When the rest of the top order fell, Paama limped to 89 all-out. In response, Tafea had a measured reply with the experienced Roderick Lekai taking Tafea to a comfortable 5-wicket win, ending a dominant tournament by the Tafea side and seeing them retain the U15 Club Championship for the 3rd year running.
Operations Manager, Jamal Vira, emphasized how important youth is in developing the future of cricket in Vanuatu. “It is crucial for sports in Vanuatu to build from grassroots into high-performance products. Especially for sports like cricket, game time with your own age group is so crucial to the development of players, where your first runs or first wicket might play such an important role in retaining your interest in cricket or just having fun with your friends.”
He continued, “It's been a privilege to watch some of these young boys and girls develop in front of us, and from this crop, there is certainly some fantastic talent coming through who could potentially be representing Vanuatu internationally in the next 4 or 5 years if not sooner. I've seen so much here, including some superb young women who challenged the very best of the U15s at times, which was amazing, and I can firmly say I can't wait to see how they go next year.”
FINAL TOURNAMENT STANDINGS
1st Place: Tafea Cricket Club
2nd Place: Paama Sharks Cricket Club
3rd Place: Mighty Saints Cricket Club
4th Place: Splashe Mele Bulls Cricket Club