Fakaofo wins ‘nail-biter’ opening match of 2017 Tokelau Games
A top-quality game of Kilikiti opened the 2017 Tokelau Games yesterday at the Malae o Hagato Iosefa. In a contest that could have gone either way, it was Fakaofo’s cheerleader that lifted the team’s spirit and energy to steal the win.
Batting first, Fakaofo was on the back foot most of the match losing wickets at regular intervals due to good tight bowling and quality fielding.
In the end, their 60 batters posted a modest 254 runs.
The Atafu run chase always appeared strategic and seemingly on their way to easy win. However, as their score approached 200 runs, Fakaofo’s cheerleaders changed the atmosphere with some telling dance moves and slick song choices. They not only lifted the spirit and confidence of their players, they also managed to play on the minds of the Atafu batters that led to some rash plays and cheap wickets.
By the 203 run mark, Atafu’s power hitters were back under the tent. Fakaofo piled on the pressure and Atafu broke.
If not for a spirited final stand by Samuelu, Atafu’s final score would have fallen far short of the respectable 238 at the end.
Fakaofo now takes a well-earned rest today while Atafu regroups to take on defending champions Nukunonu.
If the kilikiti delivered yesterday continues in terms of quality, drama and good sportsmanship, the 2017 Games will be one to remember and an attraction to bring the whole population of Nukunonu to the Hagato Iosefa field.
The Kilikiti competition is expected to finish tomorrow when Nukunonu plays Fakaofo.
Next week the men will compete in Rugby Union, and the women in Touch Rugby.
Final Score: Fakaofo 254 vs 238 Atafu