Cricket PNG had four representatives playing in the Great Barrier Reef T20 Bash for Cash in Mackay, Queensland over the weekend. The tournament played at the newly renovated Harrup Park complex attracted 20 teams with CPNG players integrated into one of the sides, Flint Tropics.
CPNG had originally entered Australian based players Chad Soper, Jack Gardner, Joe Slater and assistant coach Nathan Reardon in the event, however Slater unfortunately had to withdraw through illness. With the team now one bowler short CPNG National Coach Carl Sandri was drafted into the team.
The Flint team competed well over the rain effected tournament with most games reduced to a T8 format to enable completion of the busy schedule. They finished the round robin rounds with two wins and two loses, one of the last ball, to narrowly miss a place in the semi-finals.
Chad Soper had a solid tournament, but it was young fast bowler Jack Gardner that impressed, particularly in game three where bowling the final over he took three wickets to win the game finishing with 3/15 off his two allotted overs. Coach Sandri was a handy late inclusion finishing the series with 7/ 47 from his six overs through three games and Nathan Reardon led the batting with 99 runs at a healthy strike rate 275. He shouldered all the pressure but unfortunately missed out in the last game, out first ball, to eventual tournament winners Pioneer Valley.
Speaking after the tournament Sandri reflected on the weekends events” Cricket has been scarce for the Barras, so it was an opportunity to see some of the boys play. It’s a shame Joe Slater couldn’t make the trip, but were some pleasing signs from the other two, young Jack bowled well! It was also a good opportunity for myself and Reardo (Nathan Reardon) to sit down together and discuss our plans for CPNG, particularly around the Barras World Cup preparations”.
“We are working towards getting the squad into Australia to be able to best prepare for the T20 World Cup and playing competitive cricket. This fantastic facility here in Mackay may be an option as a base so it has been a valuable weekend and nice for us old blokes (coaches) to have an opportunity to play along side the boys, which gives a slightly different perspective”.
Sandri and will continue coaching remotely while awaiting entry into PNG and now has both the Barras and the Lewas squads working towards a return to the field in Port Moresby with the upcoming Isuzu National One Day Cup later this month.