Set 167 to win Nikao launched into the opposition bowlers and crossed the line with five overs to spare in an enjoyable contest featuring some huge shots and plenty of laughs, not least when Captain Moko was bowling.
Billed as “the grand final of the grand final”, the match attracted a number of spectators to Turangi, but Nikao wicketkeeper Tingika Elikana’s estimate of a crowd of 50,000 suggests someone must have been broadcasting the match on Facebook Live.
The game was dedicated to the memory of Davana player Carlos Dashwood, one of the most talented cricketers in the Cook Islands, who died suddenly earlier this month.
His passing stunned Rarotonga’s cricket community and before the match both sides and members of the player’s family held a minute’s silence and said prayers for him.
After the tributes, Davana made a bright start with openers Paes and Jonathan putting on 96 for the first wicket in good time. English import Jonathan went on to score a career-best 82 off 47 balls before falling with four overs to go.
Veteran Amoa Amoa chipped in and smashed one huge six into the ocean, although the innings ran out of steam in the final overs as Davana slipped from 148-1 to 156-6 before posting a total of 166.
Nikao started slowly, as Tom Vea sent down a maiden to Ripa, but the fireworks were soon going off at the other end as Arlo smashed the ball to all quarters, and when he was joined at the crease by Melo the onslaught increased, with the ball going for a swim in the sea more than once.
Amoa eventually removed Arlo for 64, scored off just 30 balls, and the wily spinner kept Davana’s dreams alive by hope by removing Deacon in the next over.
But Melo snuffed out any hope Davana had with a brutal innings of 71 in 28 balls, at one point hitting four successive sixes as Nikao cantered to victory with six wickets and more than 30 balls to spare.
Both teams celebrated after the match with end-of-season events as the curtain fell on another season of club cricket.
- Hash run in Nikao. Hash House Harriers will meet at the Social Centre, beachside opposite the golf course for their run this evening. Hare will be Evan. The run commences at 5:30pm and all runners, walkers and talkers are welcome.