Milne Bay cricket has a long history after being introduced by the London Missionary Society on Kwato Island.
Matches were played in the early colonial times as inter-denomination matches between the Anglican Churches and the Kwato Church. Cricket quickly spread throughout most of the villages along the coastline and became a popular pastime.
Today, Milne Bay has more than twenty cricket ovals in and around the Alotau district with the local Ahioma Cricket Association becoming affiliated to the national federation, Cricket PNG, in 2015.
BSP school Cricket was introduced in 2010 and has seen tens of thousands of young boys and and girls participate in the program.
Simon Deiwillie is the Regional Cricket Manager for the BSP School Kriket program in Milne Bay and has been employed by Cricket PNG for over ten years, working with the local children in the program.
Deiwillie has witnessed much growth in the game in Milne Bay much of which can be attributed to not only his efforts within the BSP program but also his commitment to the game outside of his professional role. “ playing cricket is not a priority for me anymore, I have focused on helping revive local cricket associations and growing the game.
Most of my time is devoted to developing the juniors, coaching and assisting the athletes to reach the high performance standards needed to progress into the national academy systems”.
When asked about his longevity in his role his passion was obvious “ I enjoy working with the kids, seeing them having fun and learning new skills.
The positive feedback I get from the teachers, parents and the community motivates me, my job gives me great satisfaction. It’s always exciting when you see young talent and you can help them strive to achieve their goals”.
“ I remember seeing a young nine year old boy Luwelu Sila in Liklik Kriket, I would see him every year in the BSP program. Years later he was selected to fly to Port Moresby through the Cricket PNG Talent ID program.
It amazes me he never looked back, worked hard and was selected for the Garamuts, touring Japan in 2019 for the World Cup Qualifiers. This is what makes me proud and why I have been doing this job for so long “
Cricket PNG Game Development Manager, Margaret Sibona, was full of praise for Simon “ Milne Bay BSP School Kriket has been very successful, Simon has been doing a tremendous job for many years and is an example to his fellow peers. His results are outstanding, the chidren of Milne Bay are lucky to have such a dedicated Regional Cricket Manager”.
Lakani Oala, CPNG Domestic Cricket Manager, is excited about the future prospects for cricket in Milne Bay “ Simon and the Ahioma Cricket Association Executive have been doing a lot of work to bring cricket back to it’s glory days in Milne Bay, old clubs are being revived and you can feel the energy around cricket building again.
We have plans to install five new pitches with the help of the Australian High Commission through their PNGAus Partnership, this will help facilitate the growth in and around Alotau”.
The BSP School Kriket program currently runs in eleven provinces in PNG with expansion targeted within the Cricket PNG Strategic Plan.