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The ICC East Asia – Pacific (EAP) team began poorly in Round 1 of the 2009 Australian Country Cricket Championships (ACCC), succumbing to a strong Queensland Country (QC) outfit in the first two-day match of the tournament.
With five debutants in the EAP team, an inexperienced but talented and enthusiastic line-up was selected to take on the perennially powerful Queensland side on a flat and slow pitch at Nuriootpa Oval.
EAP began well, grabbing an early wicket through the pace of Simione Latu, a Tongan, to have QC 9 for 1. QC then consolidated with a patient 31-run partnership, until PNG pace duo Raymond Hoada Jnr and Rarua Dikana produced a devastating spell of 3 for 12 to have QC reeling at 55 for 4.
From there the batting strength of QC came to the fore with an exceptional 196-run stand between Stains and Fitzsimmons, with several dropped catches adding to EAP’s frustration.
QC eventually declared at 333 for 7, with Hoada taking the bowling honours for EAP, grabbing 3 for 66 off 17 overs.
EAP capitulated during the 15-over session late on the first day, crashing to 57 for 8 and were eventually dismissed for 60 from just 16.4 overs early on day two.
Asked to follow-on, EAP fared slightly better in their second innings, compiling 132 from 31 overs. The vice-xaptain Andrew Mansale batted patiently on his way to a well compiled 32, while Kila Pala scored 30.
EAP now look forward to a one-day fixture against South Australia Country at Kapunda Oval on January 6.
The ICC EAP Team for the tournament is:
Rarua Dikana (PNG – capt), Andrew Mansale (Vanuatu), Josaia Baba (Fiji), Raymond Hoada Jnr (PNG), Masaomi Kobayashi (Japan), Trevor Langa (Vanuatu), Simione Latu (Tonga), Sakaria Lomani (Fiji), Mahuru Dai (PNG), Vani Vagi Morea (PNG), Ipi Morea (PNG), Vani Vagi Morea (PNG), John Ovia (PNG), Assad Vala (PNG), Kila Pala (PNG)
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Assistant Editor Andrew arrived at ESPNcricinfo via Manchester and Cape Town, after finding the assistant editor at a weak moment as he watched England's batting collapse in the Newlands Test. Andrew began his cricket writing as a freelance covering Lancashire during 2004 when they were relegated in the County Championship. In fact, they were top of the table when he began reporting on them but things went dramatically downhill. He likes to let people know that he is a supporter of county cricket, a fact his colleagues will testify to and bemoan in equal quantities.