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Moce Suva

Rashneel Kumar
Tuesday, April 22, 2014

MOCE fans started celebrating when the team was yet to win the showdown.

The side was two runs short after the loss of eight wickets in the 33rd over to claim the 2014 LICI Easter Tournament title when celebrations began at Albert Park in Suva yesterday.

A group of women started the fakawela while young supporters stood patiently clutching the team flags at the edge of the field.

That's the confidence that guided the team from the Lau Group to win the prestigious Crompton Cup over defending champions Suva Warriors.

Moce defeated the Capital City side by two wickets in the match which was dominated by the bowling and some excellent fielding. The visitors, which were also the crowd favourites, won the toss and elected to bowl first.

The fierce Moce bowling led by skipper and Player of the Tournament Maika Kamikamica crumbled Suva Warriors' top order in the opening overs.

Tagilala Rakuita took 4-24, Maika Kamikamica 3-31 and Inoke Cama 2-16 as Moce dismissed the Warriors for 99 runs in 35 overs.

The Warriors made an impressive start to their defence in the second innings as Moce's top order fell, thanks to Mesui Talebula (3-43 off eight overs) and Riyad Khan (2-15 off 10 overs). But Rakuita put on the man of the match performance amassing 23 runs to guide his team to finish on 8-103 off 33 overs thus giving Moce two wickets win and sending the fans into frenzy.

"It's a big thing. You can't explain the feeling of winning this. It's massive for the players and the fans," Australia-based Moce wicketkeeper Maciu Gauna said.

"We were confident from the pool games and trusted each other."

Warriors' manager Adriu Misiki said Moce deserved the win.

"From the very beginning we were hoping our boys will react to that level that they should have because of the run they made but I think they have done very well till the last few overs," Misiki said.

"They (Moce) deserve to win today (yesterday) but Suva doesn't give up easily. We will meet them next time, next year."

Cricket Fiji development officer Ruci Kaiwai said the Warriors seemed to have lost the fighting power when they were in control.

"When they started well in the second innings, they saw the score was almost achievable. I think they lost that fighting spirit and Moce held on to score the required runs," the Moce native who plays for Suva women's team, said.

"We never thought Moce would really give such tough competition and I think it (the win) was amazing."

Moce ended a 13-year title drought when it won the Crompton Cup, which has been running for 70 years, in 2012 but lost it to the Warriors' last year.

This year's win is a special one for the side.

The party started last night with kava and it will surely go on for a few days.

For now, the cup is going to where it truly belongs, Moce — the forbearer of cricket in Fiji.

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