In 2016 alone, Cricket PNG boasted a successful year with great performances from the national teams, as well as the outreach of its development programs nationwide.
And those achievements did not go unnoticed, the Hebou PNG Barramundis Skipper, Assad Vala, and the Empowering Girls through Cricket Program have all been nominated in three categories respectively for the SP Sports Awards 2017.
The Barramundis, nominated alongside the SP PNG Hunters and the PNG Men’s National Football team are currently ranked second to Netherlands, in the World Cricket League Championship, and 4th in the Inter-Continental Cup.
Top in the region and always striving for the best in both competitions, the Barras are ahead of the likes of Namibia, Kenya.
Even in the South Australia Cricket Association Premier League, they finished off third in the competition in 2016.
Now, hot on the heels of Netherlands for the top spot in the WCLC, winning or finishing in top four would mean maintaining their ODI status as well as a World Cup Qualifying spot.
And the SP Sports Awards nomination for the team of the year, comes as the team is months away from sealing the deal in the WCLC.
Meanwhile, their Captain, Assad Vala, was also nominated in the ‘Male Athlete of the Year’ category.
Though he has fair bit of competition from Morea Baru in Weightlifting and Rugby League’s Justin Olam.
Vala, who secured himself three Centuries in the Inter-Continental Cup competition between 2015 and 2016, and leading his team to two Victories over Namibia and Kenya on home soil is the leading batsman in the region at the moment.
Though it is not the first time he is making waves, he was awarded the SP Sports Ward Male Athlete of the year in 2013.
Now four years on, and being nominated again only goes to show his remarkable leadership in the Barramundis team, and a Batsman, PNG opponents don’t take lightly.
And to give Cricket PNG more reason to celebrate a successful 2016, the Girls Empowerment through Kriket Program has also been nominated for the Community Initiative of the year award.
Targeting Secondary School girls, the program strives to increase female participation in hard ball cricket while empowering participants with educational sessions on social and health awareness.