By Joel Fitzpatrick, Port Moresby 2015 Games News Service
PORT MORESBY, July 5 – Papua New Guinea is looking to win its seventh consecutive Pacific Games men’s cricket gold medal when competition begins at Port Moresby’s Bisini Grounds on Monday July 6.
The host nation has dominated the cricket event at Pacific and South Pacific Games, winning gold each time the sport has been included in the programme.
At the most recent Games in New Caledonia in 2011, the game format was switched to the shorter T20 form of the game, and at Port Moresby 2015 there will be another change – the addition of a women’s competition.
T20 cricket is the shortest and most action-packed version of cricket where each team has 20 six-ball overs to accumulate the most runs.
Four men’s and six women’s teams will compete in Port Moresby.
In the men’s competition Papua New Guinea’should be challenged most closely by 2011 bronze medallists Vanuatu with New Caledonia and Tonga both attempting to better their previous best Pacific Games finish of fourth.
The Papua New Guinea men’s task was made much harder when it was announced in late April that the hosts would be represented by an ‘A’ team because the PNG first team, the Barramundis, will be in Ireland fighting for a place at the T20 world cup.
Medal contenders in the women’s competition are much harder to predict as none of the teams – PNG, Vanuatu, Cook Island, Fiji, New Caledonia and Samoa – has had their international status granted by the International Cricket Council and so are unranked.
The women’s tournament is the first to get underway in Port Moresby, with competition beginning on Monday July 6. The women’s medals will be decided in playoffs to be held on Saturday July 11.
After a two-day break, the men take to Bisini Grounds with the first match between tournament favourites PNG and Vanuatu being played on Tuesday July 14. The men’s medal rounds will be played on Saturday July 18.
For information about cricket tickets call the Pacific Games ticket hotline on 180 2015 or download the ticket purchasing guide.
GNS jf/jc/pg for more information visit www.portmoresby2015.com