The annual Town vs Country cricket showdown, which started in 2016, has a change in format this year with the teams playing a one-off 50-over match for the prestigious title.
The men’s teams will take to the crease next weekend.
Cook Islands Cricket Association chief executive officer Davis Teinaki said they were expecting a tougher battle under the new format.
“It is a one-off match, a do-or-die battle and this should surely make the match more exciting,” Teinaki said.
“Vaka of Origin brings together the best of the best from the domestic competition. Most of the players try their best during the weekly league just to earn their place in the two teams, Town and Country.
“For the association, this event is also a pathway to future national teams and we expect some top cricket action over the two weekends, starting with the women’s clash this Saturday.”
The Vaka of Origin is sponsored by the 21 South Group which played a major role in initiating this challenge two years ago.
Group managing director Grant Walker said the 21 South Group, representing Sky Pacific Cook Islands and Varo Media, is proud to sponsor unique and special event.
He reiterated every year they look to improve the series.
“The first year was a three game series for the men’s sides in the 50 over format. The following year, we wanted to include the very enthusiastic women cricketers, so that meant changing to a T20 format so we could play two matches per each Saturday,” Walker said.
“However, experience taught us that trying to get three weekends scheduled at the same time the under-19 team were going on tour was a bit of a stretch. This year Davis Teinaki and I thought about a single game format, to ensure we get the best possible weather and to really ramp up the stakes.”
Grant said at this year’s competition, they will be introducing new TYKA Vaka of Origin uniforms for the teams.
TYKA is a sportswear and sports equipment brand, and is the kit partner for various cricket teams across the world.
Grant also said they expect to continue the popular event for many years to come.
“It truly is a special cricket event, with extra effort spent on the grounds, sea-side fencing, scoreboard and of course the Cook Islands’ only boundary rope!
“Once again 21South Group will be sponsoring the ‘hit the dish’ bounty. We’ll place a Sky Pacific satellite dish on the boundary and any player that strikes in on the full wins a $250 prize.”
Walker also said the entry to this year’s event, as in the past, would be free of charge.
“We’d love to see folks come down to the games with the family and enjoy the day. Onsite bathroom facility will be provided, and the teams are organising the sale of plates of food and drinks for the spectators.
“A special thank you to Captain Moko, who has agreed to MC the games again, after last year’s tour de force performance on the PA.”
The action begins at 10am at the Turangi Oval.
Country – Ina Willie (C), Tekura Kaukura, June George, Josephine Maoate, Lisa Tatakura, Mona Amoa, Nina Tangimetua, Enua Peyroux, Margaret Simiona, Lina Taufahema, Annie Taufahema, Apii Tangata, Bene Matapo, Shermaia Boaza. Training at 5pm at Turangi Oval.
Town – Tape Rikini, Puru Samania, Rachel Auora, Anjima Ruarau, Koyi Tiere, Leah Tumutoa, Tuine Ngatokorua, Unaonga Tiere, Vaine Urirau, Kuraani Aturai, Tapere George, Raita Tiere, Tiiraa Ioteva, Turanga Taikakara, Tango Ravarua