His Excellency Nikenike Vurobaravu, President of the Republic of Vanuatu, awarded national medals of honour to Vanuatu Cricket Association players and officials on Tuesday night in a ceremony held at the VCA’s complex at Korman.
In his speech at the event, His Excellency lauded the performance of the team, referring to them as an inspiration for young girls and the community in general, in raising the profile of Vanuatu on the world stage through their first event ICC event trophy.
The ceremony marked the victorious Holiday Inn Resort Vanuatu National Women’s Cricket Team in the recently concluded ICC Women’s T20 World Cup East Asia Pacific Qualifier, hosted in Port Vila in early September.
VCA CEO Tim Cutler was master of ceremonies, opening the event by acknowledging the VIPs in attendance including the President and First Lady, along with the High Commissioners of Australia, and Great Britain, and members of the US Army’s Security Assistance Training Management Organization who are current in town working with the VMF.
The ceremony also marked the official appointment of the President and First Lady as Patrons of Vanuatu Cricket and Vanuatu Women’s Cricket, respectively.
Speeches were made by VCA President and ICC Lifetime Service Award recipient Mark Stafford, Her Excellency Heidi Bootle, High Commissioner of Australia to Vanuatu, and First Lady Rima Vurobaravu.
The First Lady mentioned the inspiring performance by the Vanuatu team, a performance that will inspire young girls in the community to take up sports like cricket but also to take on the various challenges existing in society, to become the leaders of tomorrow.
The speakers highlighted the performances of Rachel Andrew (best batter and overall player of the tournament) and 16-year-old schoolgirl Vanessa Vira (highest wicket-taker and bowler of the event).
The formalities were concluded with a speech by the President, closing out with a rousing “Go Vanuatu, Go!” from His Excellency, before State Office Officials assisted him in awarding medals to all players, coaching staff, CEO Cutler and VCA President Stafford.
The VCA also presented personalised plaques memorialising the achievement with a reproduction of the Daily Post’s back page story announcing the victory to players, coaches and VIPs.
The tournament had seen competitors from seven nations compete for the regional trophy, with every match streamed live from the Vanuatu Cricket Grounds.
Vanuatu started the event off with a bang, defeating 11th world-ranked Papua New Guinea – the first victory over the PNG Lewas in the history of women’s cricket in Vanuatu – and the home team went through the six-match format undefeated, proceeding to the Global Qualifier for the T20 World Cup, which will be held in UAE during April and May next year.
The VCA encouraged everyone to keep an eye on their social channels – including the Vanuatu Cricket Association’s Facebook page – shortly for schedule details and opportunities for the community to learn to play cricket.
The VCA would also like to thank Digicel, Geogas, and Dynamic Supplies for their kind donations to help make Tuesday's event happen.