The Karaka Stallions from Auckland, New Zealand where in fine form at the sun soaked Turangi Cricket Oval in their first match of the tour against the Rarotonga golden oldies on Monday.
Batting first, Rarotonga got off to a roaring start with Wilkie Rasmussen and Stephen ‘Moko’ Kavana opening the batting against a fiery spell of fast bowling from Henry Cassin (3 over’s 19 runs).
Kavana swung the bat with wild enthusiasm and kept spectators entertained with plenty of big hits to see him through to 30 runs retired.
Kiriau Turepu played the anchor man role, pushing the ball about the park to get big hitters Rama Taiki (30 runs retired) and Teva Kirikava (36 retired) on strike.
Stephen Peyroux kept the scoreboard ticking over with Tama Tuavera (14 runs) at the other end with some lightening quick running between the wickets.
Russell ‘Panda’ Thorburn’s big turning off breaks proved difficult for the Rarotonga batters to get away, while Lester Fitzpatrick, Mark Webber and Eric Scott combined superbly collecting a wicket each.
Stephen Kirikava managed to free the arms and find the boundary with a four and six before being bowled by a beauty from Eric Scott.
Captain Amoa More found the gaps in the field to get Rarotonga through to a competitive 213 runs from their 30 overs.
Karaka Stallion’s reply with the bat got off to a shaky start when in the first over skipper Craig ‘Lewy’ Lewis was bowled by an unplayable yorker from Stephen Kavana.
Mark Brown piled on the pressure at the other end but Stallions Roger ‘Boycott’ Wark was all class, collecting 30 runs off 38 balls.
Stallion Mark Webber featured again, this time with the bat as he banged 30 runs with team mate Mark ‘Rabbit’ Harvey (30 runs).
Stephen Kavana was the only Rarotonga player to bowl the full allotment of five over’s, conceding just 29 runs but it was Teva Kirikava who was the pick of Rarotonga’s bowlers sneering three wickets from his 4 over’s.
Tony Bellamy stole the show, picking up the Raro style of batting of ‘hit hard or go home’, Bellamy pelted the ball all over the Turangi Oval, landing the ball in the lagoon on his way to 30 runs from just 12 balls.
Despite the loss of two quick wickets (Roger Scott and Fitzpatrick) from consecutive balls - Ross ‘Sponge’ Littlewood (35) and Clive Franks (21 runs) had done the damage, the Stallions picking up the win with seven over’s in hand.
Post-match, Stallions skipper Craig Lewis thanked Cook Islands Golden Oldies chairman Amoa More for his efforts in organising the historic match - presenting him with a Karaka Stallions cap.
Stephen Kavana also collected a cap for ‘Player of the Day’ after his efforts with both the bat and the ball.
Golden Oldies Chairman Amoa More closed the match in good Cook Islands humour teasing the visiting team “today we went easy on you, tomorrow we won’t be so kind”.
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The Cook Islands News Team