A great array of battling, bowling and fielding skills were displayed by players on both sides making for a tough and intense showdown.
Cricket Cook Islands chief executive officer Alister Stevic was thrilled with the game and conduct of the players as the intentions of the competition was to bring the best of the best players together to play in a higher level competition with the goal of better preparing the players for success on the international stage.
“I wasn't disappointed, the teams looked great in their uniforms and the skills on the field made it the very best women's game I have seen on Rarotonga,” says Stevic.
Aitutaki captain Tekura Kaukura won the toss and elected to field first.
The Rarotonga ladies got off to a great start and piled on the runs reaching a massive 48 runs from the first four overs, with Ina Willy proving sensational playing classy shots all over the Turangi pitch to score 51 runs.
Aitutaki fielding was top notch with great performances from Sandra Tamangaro and Tina Mato and equally good bowling from Lacynthia Rani and Enua Peyroux keeping the pressure on.
But Sala Matapo, Colomba Allen, Matina Pittman and Grace Rea went hard with the bat to help Rarotonga through to a massive 167 runs after their 20 overs.
It was going to take something special from Aitutaki and captain Tekura Kaukura didn't disappoint scoring 52 runs.
Apii Tangata and Benedict Matapo kept the pressure on Aitutaki with some superb bowling backed up by a solid wicket keeping effort from Sala Matapo and fielding effort by Raita and Elizabeth Moetaua.
However it was Aitutaki’s day with Margaret Simiona, Deana Kataina and Teremoana Amoa leading the team through to victory in the 16th over.
Cook Islands Cricket’s national women's team sponsor Philip Bradley, owner of AERO sports and Cricket Express in New Zealand, had made his way to Rarotonga especially for the final saying he wasn't let down.
“I was pleasantly surprised by the ability and talent of both teams. It’s hard to believe women have only been playing for four years,” commented Bradley.
He also mentioned to the ladies that they wouldn't be out of place playing top level cricket in New Zealand.
Philip Bradley awarded captain Tekura Kaukura with the winner’s trophy and also selected and awarded Rarotonga player Apii Tangata as the most valuable bowler of the final, Marii Kaukura the most valuable fielder and Tekura Kaukura as the most valuable batter for her match winning half century.
In closing speeches team manager Apii Tangata thanked the sponsors and all her girls for their commitments and for putting on a great contest for the final.
Winning captain Tekura Kaukura also paid thanks to Philip Bradley and she said her Raro/Aitutaki team for their efforts on the day and looks forward to next year’s competition. - MW/CIC
Aitutaki women crowned cricket league champions
Female cricketers impressed on Saturday with their slick skills and natural talent in the Cook Islands premier women’s league grand finals between the national women and the Aitutaki women.
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The Cook Islands News Team