Bowling, batting, catching, teasing and lots of fun, that’s how it was for the A.N.Z.A.C. cricket tournament.
There is absolutely no such thing as a wrong time to commemorate the fallen heroes of the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps (A.N.Z.A.C.).
The Australian and New Zealand communities in Samoa came together on Friday to celebrate 101 years since A.N.Z.A.C.s arrived at Gallipoli, through a friendly match of cricket.
The tournament was scheduled for the previous week but weather patterns generated from cyclone Amos were uncooperative.
The mouth-watering smell of sizzling barbeque and the sight of thirst-quenching draught beer was the scene at the Tuanaimato cricket field. Both sides enjoyed the perfect weather reliving the old alliances (and ongoing rivalry) between the two countries.
After a short visit by the helicopter from Samoa Helicopter Limited, both teams came together for their anthems followed by a moment of silence before the tournament kicked off.
“We have been hosting a cricket tournament here since 2002 between the Australian and the Kiwi communities,” said Kiwi cricket coach, Rod Brown. “We get together on a beautiful day like today; we have a barbeque, a few refreshments and relive the old camaraderie between Australia and New Zealand.”
Ever since 2008, the tournament has become a bit more competitive with the introduction of a trophy.
“We started with a trophy back in 2008 and an award for the best player of the day; the trophy has gone to each side four times a piece,” Mr. Brown said.
“The two communities have always had that friendly banter between the two countries andthis is a friendly tournament.
“We have certain rules in place to make it fair to both sides. Everyone gets a chance to bowl and bat but in saying that, there is still a bit of banter and sledging going on between us, but it’s all in good fun.” Mr. Brown stressed that Samoans who took part in the war need to be remembered as well.
“We must never forget that Samoans also took part in the war and gave up their lives so that we may have the freedom we now enjoy,” he said. “That’s what this is all about; it’s about friendships between Samoa, New Zealand and Australia.”
As for Australian High Commissioner Sue Langford, these competitions reflect nicely on relationships between the two countries. “We are sporting rivals, especially on the sporting field, (But) today our teams come together in Samoa as friends and rivals,” she said.
“This is an occasion to reflect on the Australia and New Zealand relationship, we are close friends and natural allies with strong sense of family, migration, trade and defence ties.”
According to the High Commissioner, all funds generated will assist the Samoa International Cricket Association (S.I.C.A.).
“I am pleased to hear that funds raised today will go towards the Samoa International Cricket Association to assist them in hosting a series of international tournaments later this year,” she said.
“I am excited to see the two teams have a competitive, friendly, fair and balanced match that will reflect the A.N.Z.A.C. spirit of endurance, courage, good humor, and mateship.” The Australians won the day.
They defended their title from last year leaving the annual winning scores at 5-4 in their favour.