Samoa Win EAP Division 2
ICC media release
Samoa are the East Asia-Pacific Division 2 champions after a commanding 9 wicket victory over the Philippines in the final at the Garden Ovals in Apia on Friday.
The win was set up by a magnificent 5 wicket haul form Winston Mariner which was then followed by a brilliant century from tournament leading run scorer Ben Mailata who made 107 not out to top off an incredible event in which he was not dismissed in any match.
"We have all been in training since June and the work has really paid off," said Mailata after the match. "Most of us have even dropped a couple of kilos which is great."
The Philippines started their innings well with a 36 run opening stand between Ramandeep Cheema (20) and Danny Sohal (27).
They then found themselves 2 for 72 in the 23rd over and it looked as if the foundations had been built for their middle order to put together a high score.
However Samoan captain Geoff Clarke threw the ball to his spinner Winston Mariner and he single handily bowled his side back into a winning position with some terrific variation to end with figures of 5-34.
Despite the performance from the experienced spinner, Mariner believes the whole team contributed in the field.
"For me it's a team performance and if I can contribute that's great but there's no point performing well if the team doesn't win," said Mariner.
The Philippines were in trouble late in the innings at 8-117 before Reakesh Thakur took advantage of the batting power play to boost their score up to all out for 180 after 46 overs.
Despite losing their captain cheaply the Samoan pair of Ben Mailata and Sean Cotter put together a flawless 171 run partnership to pass the Philippines total with 9.3 overs remaining and 9 wickets in hand.
In two dominant displays with the bat Mailata who also picked up the player of the tournament award finished with 107 not out, while Cotter made a terrific half century finishing on 56 not out.
"This has been 10 years of really hard work in developing the game since about the early 90s and a win like this is the icing on the cake," said Mariner.
Looking ahead to Samoa's next challenge in PNG when they will take on regional powerhouse PNG as well as the other associate teams Vanuatu, Fiji and Japan, Mailata says his team is ready for the challenge.
"They can expect some fireworks," he said. "But we are certainly not taking it lightly it's going to be hard but if play to our full potential anything can happen."