Papua New Guinea has a rich history in this contest with many members of the Hebou PNG Barramundis and CPL PNG Lewas playing at the tournament for many years.
One of the most notable Western Australian players being Brad Hogg, who has won 2 World Cups, played Tests, ODIs and T20s for Australia and is still going at the ripe age of 46.
“I’ve been in the country two or three times now, and just seeing the way PNG cricket has taken off, and starting to be a presence in the world has been great,” said Hogg when he was in Papua New Guinea as a coach in March 2017.
“The Barramundis are a chance of qualifying for a World Cup and the women’s team are ranked 13th in the world and that’s a credit to the way PNG has progressed in cricket.”
For more than 30 years, Australia’s best regional cricketers have had the opportunity to participate in this competition. From the women’s competition, Peta Verco, Wendy Chaloner, Renee Chappell and of course the legendary Avril Fahey have all represented Australia at the highest level and this Championship was a stepping stone for them to enter their national team.
Seven women’s team from across Australia and the East-Asia Pacific Region took part in the championship that ran from the 5th of January to the 13th of January 2018 in Geraldton. And joining the pantheon of legends is one of our own. Brenda Tau. 19 years young. And already in the Australia Cricket Country Championships Team of the year.
As many as 8 women from Papua New Guinea made it to the East Asia Pacific Team. These included veterans Pauke Siaka, Kaia Arua and Sibona Lucy Jimmy as well as youngsters Helen Buruka, Ravini Oa, Konio Oala and Vicky Ara’a, all of them under 22. None younger though than POMCA batswoman, Brenda Tau.
Despite a heavy defeat by South Australia in the second round, Tau scored another impressive 25 runs in her first outing at the tournament.
Pauke Siaka had top scored with 40 in the match. A 17-run knock followed in another defeat for EAP, this time at the hands of Queensland.
She top scored in the first T20 match and remained not out as she scored 26* Runs to win the match against Western Australia.
All-rounder Siaka partnered her ably in the chase that brought EAP their first victory at the ACCC. East Asia Pacific could not continue their winning ways as they fell to defeat against Victoria, but Tau popped up with another 20 runs.
18 runs in her second last match was followed by her best performance in East Asia Pacific’s last game of the League against New South Wales. She top scored with a quickfire 32.
Her favourite innings was her knock against Western Australia and the pressure of a tough chase stayed with Tau.
“The Standard in Australia is high, but not impossible for us outsiders to play these standards,” she said.
“I felt great despite the fact that I did not expect to win any award, as this was my debut in the ACCC competition.”
It wasn’t just that Tau scored runs consistently, it was the manner of runs that she got as well. Always a high scoring rate. She finished as the 4th highest scorer in the tournament, with 162 Runs at an average of 27.00 and a strike rate of 78.3.
Not too shabby for a 19-year-old, the youngest in the East Asia Pacific team at the Australian Country Cricket Championship and already in the team of the year.
“I never thought I would earn such an award. I never aimed for it. Nevertheless, I am honoured,” she stated.
She received an honorary baggy green cap for being in the team, a tradition of the tournament, something her father holds very proudly. Being named the recipient of the Baggy Green cap is the best moment in her infant cricketing career. We can’t wait for more Tau.