Spirit of cricket alive and well in South Pacific

Panoramic view of the Samoa Gardens Ovals
Coin toss: PNG and Samoa

Spirit of cricket alive and well in the South Pacific

There are few places in the world you can watch high-quality cricket while sitting in a fale as gentle Pacific ocean breezes play across the ground. The picturesque surrounds of the Faleata Cricket Complex in Apia, Samoa are one such venue.

As the cricket venue for the 2007 South Pacific Games the Faleata Complex provides the idyllic backdrop for national teams

Yesterday's epic battle between traditional cricket rivals Samoa and the Kingdom of Tonga exemplified the spirit of cricket and the competitiveness of athlete's representing their country with pride and distinction.

In a game that seesawed throughout the entire day, Samoa secured victory with a 32 run partnership for the last wicket. Where the winning score was 146, the partnership was both significant and decisive. The last wicket for Tonga produced a similar partnership, clearly displaying the fighting qualities of both teams and the esteem in which they hold representing their countries.

Indeed it was a titanic match that will most likely have a significant impact on the allocation of medals. The crowds that were riveted to their seats until the winning runs were treated to a game played in the true intent of the spirit of cricket. Fielding was enthusiastic and of exceptional standard. Although a long way from the velvety outfield of Kingston Oval in Canberra, or the hallowed turf of the home of cricket at Lord's in London, the fielders flung themselves after balls all day in a desperate attempt to reach catches and save boundaries. The bowling and batting was of a standard one would expect from natural athletes representing their countries. It was a display of a very high order.

However, one of the most striking features of this tournament is the spirit and sportsmanship of the teams. Fine performances are regularly acknowledged by both teams, both on the field and on the boundary. Bowling is fast and penetrative, although never malicious. Teams approach their cricket in a professional manner, while still contributing the flair and panache that makes cricket in the Pacific such an enjoyable sport to watch.

The first two days of this tournament have produced some epic battles and other lopsided matches. However, the national teams from Samoa, PNG, Fiji, Tonga and New Caledonia have displayed their skills with sportsmanship and honour. The spirit of cricket is alive and well in the South Pacific.


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