The pace of Pupuni came to light in the last week match of the ongoing Asuogyaman Boys T20 Community Cricket league at the Akwamuman SHS Park.
Pupuni Pacesetters, after 5 matches grabbed their sole victory in the Zone one of the community league on Saturday, September 30, 2023 against Senchi Fire Batters.
Pupuni won toss and scored their highest so far this season, 103 runs for 7 wickets in the 1 hour 22 mins first innings, which saw Senchi Fire Batters’ Atsu Kaka troubling former with great bowling skills.
Atsu Atitso and Solomon Asamoah started for Pupuni but had a bad partnership which rather enjoyed extras from Fire Batters until Atitso was bowled by Atsu Kaka on the 9.1 over. Kaka, who gave away a total of 14 runs in the 4 overs bowled, took another wicket, as his threatening ball got Solomon Asamoah caught on the 9.4 over.
Atsu Kaka however got a maiden wicket over to wrap his 3 wickets game, dismissing John Kwao (6-9), who had come in to boost the 100 runs for the Pacesetters.
Pupuni went into the second innings with a strategy to get all out, knowing the strength of their opponents. Michael Agbordzor, who took 2 wickets, gave away 26 runs in 4 overs in the first innings, was given a golden duck from the delivery of John Kwao and his hands immediately felt cold in the hot sun.
Collins Djabatey, from nowhere took 2 quick wickets in the 4th over (4.3 & 4.4), gave away 6 runs in his only over bowled but it was a John Kwao Day.
John managed to take a wicket in each of his 4 overs bowled including that which wrapped up the game for Senchi Fire Batters at 13.5 overs with 81 runs, all out. At 12 overs, Senchi Fire Batters needed 28 runs to win and 3 wickets to protect, as Atsu Kaka, after scoring 3 consecutive boundary 4’s upon coming in was bowled by Saddick Abubakar.
Atsu Kaka scored 13 runs off 8 balls from 4 minutes spent in the crease but his efforts were not enough for Senchi Fire Batters, as Pupuni Pacesetters won by 22 runs.
John Kwao was Player of the match, with his 4 wickets taken, giving away 28 runs in 4 overs.
Coach of Pupuni Pacesetters, Belinda Asante could not hide her joy after the win.
“I was expecting a win because we should have won our 4th match but we could not. So, we promised ourselves that we will win today’s match and we have. The seat was hot for me and it was not easy when they needed few runs to win with more overs to go, but with determination, I spoke to my boys and they took their wickets. The game against Tortibo was our toughest this season. We were able to play Abuakwa. Apart from that, we played well in the other games but we were just unlucky. We have learnt a lot this season and we will come differently next season.”
Although Pupuni won, they still finished bottom with 2 points and the table from week 7 remain unchanged.
Here is Coach of Senchi Fire Batters, James Awui, who has learnt some lessons from this season’s league.
“I feel bad for losing this game, because I did not believe it will go that way. It is heartbreaking for me, because we started so well but the finishing was not too good. I have realized and our performance was bad, at the bottom but we have lifted ourselves. So, I believe next season, we will do better. Our toughest game was with Abuakwa, because they worried us a lot. When we started, they were just taking us out like that.”
We caught up with the secretary of the Eastern Region Cricket Association, Fred Anim Lartey and he acknowledged the growth the league has seen, with new champions, Abuakwa Super Kings.
“Zone 1 has been so interesting, because of surprises we saw. The giants, Tortibo has fallen and they could not maintain their unbeaten records. Currently Abuakwa has shown that they have been with the game for long and prepared well. It has not been an easy 8 weeks, but at the end, Cricket won. We have seen some talents and we were privileged to see the national U-19 Coach with us for some of the weeks to correct us. With the able executives around, we dealt with all challenges. Zone 2 will not take long to come. We expect new winners as well, as Boso has been the giants there for some time.”
Vice Chairman of the Eastern Region Cricket Association, Foster Abornu also shared few words.
“All the teams prepared well and did well also. But Abuakwa Super Kings were extremely good. They have been in this competition for long, and coaches helping them continue doing it, while the old ones are fading out, the unearth new talents. We expect zone two to be fireworks.”
2nd place Tortibo Twinkle Stars with 8 points, scored the highest runs, 139, while Mangoase Hydro who finished 4th with 3 points and Pupuni Pacesetters, jointly scored the lowest, 20 runs.
So, Zone one has come to an end and the organizers will turn their attention to Zone two, where the likes of Asikuma Kings, Boso Terrific Hitters, Frankadua Century Batters and Anum Supersixers will be battling for glory.
The Ghana Cricket Association continues to support these developments to ensure a brighter future, as the national u19 Head Coach, Francis Bakiweyem was once again available to fine tune the skills of the talents available.
By: Davis Nii Attuquaye Clottey