Cricket Papua New Guinea (PNG) welcomed cricketing legends from both past and present, including Australia’s ex-captain and commentator, Dean Jones and current Men’s and Women’s national set-up members, Mitchell Starc and Alyssa Healy, in Port Moresby recently.
All three arrived in PNG on 15th Jun 2018 and met with the Barramundis (Men’s team) and Lewas (Women’s Team), along with conducting coaching clinics and also attend the annual Cricket PNG Dinner Gala on 17th Jun 2018. The Legends Dinner Gala is an annual event and it took place at the Gateway Hotel for the 2018 edition.
During the visit, Alyssa Healy spent time with PNG Lewas Women’s squad, ahead of them travelling to Netherlands for ICC World T20 qualifiers in Jul 2018. Dean Jones and Mitchell Start spent time with the Barramundis players, who are currently involved in the domestic tournaments at home.
While this was the first time Starc has travelled to the Pacific nation, it was the second occasion for Dean Jones after a gap of 20 years and for Alyssa Healy, after her last visit in 2015.
The awards night saw James Junior Tau win the Rarua Dikana Medal for the overall top PNG U19 player for the period from 01st Jan 2017 until 31st May 2018 for his performance in the ICC U19 East Asia-Pacific quakifiers and the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup.
Pauke Siaka won the 2018 PNG Lewas medal for her commendable performances during ICC Women’s World Cup qualifier in Sri Lanka and ICC Women’s World T20 East Asia-Pacific quakifiers in Japan.
PNG Barramundis captain Assad Vala won the 2018 Tony Elly Medal for his overall contributions as both leader and player, during the period which PNG participated in ICC Intercontinental Cup, World Cricket League Championship, Australian state/indigenous team’s, South Australian Cricket Association (SACA) Premier League, ACT XI match in lead up to Australia’s PM XI annual event game, T20I’s and ODI’s leading upto and including ICC World Cup qualifiers in Mar 2018.
The Cricket Board of Australia and the Australian Government have always been supportive of the cricket program being run in Papua New Guinea and has recently invested along with ICC and Cricket New Zealand, to develop 48 community playing centres across 11 regions in the country to support the growth of the sport among communities and youth.