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Vanuatu Sweep Individual Awards at Pacific Island Cricket Challenge 2023

The Holiday Inn Resort Vanuatu Men’s and Women’s national cricket teams returned to Port Vila last week after placing second to fierce Papua New Guinea sides at the Inaugural Pacific Island Cricket Challenge 2023.

Both teams were undefeated in their games against Samoa, hosts Fiji and the ANZAC Barbarian sides, only going down to PNG in their respective round-robin and final matches.

Despite their efforts at the grand finale, Vanuatu swept the individual awards, securing all major gongs and various other awards.

Nalin Nipiko who showcased some incredible cricket throughout the tournament, breaking the team’s previous highest team score in record time while making his first ever century was awarded Men’s Player of the Tournament, as well as National Women’s Team Captain Selena Solman also securing Women’s Player of the Tournament after her outstanding performances.

Other major individual award winners were men’s captain Patrick Matautaava who received the men’s Top Fielder Award, and CEO Tim Cutler, making his debut in Vanuatu colours, took home the Player of the Men’s Final after taking five wickets for 13 runs from his four overs.

Vanuatu players were also selected in the respective “Pacific XI” teams of the tournament; spinner Marcelina Mete joined skipper Selina Solman in the women’s side, and Ronald Tari was selected for his performances during the event, alongside Nalin Nipiko and Patrick Matautaava.

Meriel Kenni, Vanuatu’s first-ever female ICC umpire was part of the event officials team, and was also awarded umpire of the tournament. This caps off an impressive period for Kenni who officiated in her first men’s T20 Internationals during 2022’s Men’s T20 World Cup Pacific Qualifier, with more plaudits and international appointments to come, Kenni is a star on the rise in international cricket umpiring.

The VCA now look forward to the incoming historic tour of the Australian Men’s and Women’s National Indigenous Teams, who will be in Vanuatu from May 3-10, with more details to be released in the near future.

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