CHRISTMAS came five months early for the Vanuatu Cricket Association (VCA) when they received 29 bats last week from Peter Duffy who is the owner of Classic Bat Repairs in Melbourne, Australia and a close friend of Vanuatu Cricket.
Duffy first met the National Men’s Cricket Team in Bendigo in 2017 where they competed in the regional World Cricket League (WCL) Division 5 qualifiers and he said that he instantly connected with the team and realised that there was a need for some help.
“I have always been so passionate about the game of cricket and I could see the talent in the boys. I could also see that there are so many things that we take for granted in Australia like being able to just send your bat in to get fixed which seemed out of reach for the guys so I decided to help,” he said.
A skilled craftsman in the art of fixing cricket bats, Duffy offered his services for free to the team by fixing their cricket bats and has been fixing cricket bats for Vanuatu Cricket since then. The VCA, especially the national men’s team created a strong relationship with him from then and have welcomed him into the wider cricket family in Vanuatu.
The help received from Duffy is ‘ginormous’ for the VCA but he is humble about the work he has done for Vanuatu Cricket and said that he is not doing what he does for recognition but because of his passion and the VCA’s passion for the sport so he is returning the favour for what cricket has been offering him for more than 35 years.
“The passion for the cricket in Vanuatu matches mine and I believe that everyone should be given the same opportunities. If I can say that I have played a small part in the growth of cricket in Vanuatu then I will be a happy man.”
Duffy also had the opportunity to play with the Mele Bulls in round five of the men’s 40 over competition against Tafea Sandalwood last Saturday at the Vanuatu Cricket grounds where they secured another victory for the Bulls.
This is the second time he has played with the Bulls and he expressed that it is an honour for him to join the team.
“To play for the Mele Bulls again was a highlight for my time in cricket and to be welcomed by the players, friends and families was truly an honour,’’ he said.
“I know how strong a club Mele are and to be treated like one of their own was truly humbling.”
With the rise of the cricket in Vanuatu and the success of the national teams, Duffy also said that he is impressed with the standard of Vanuatu Cricket and the continual growth and development. He said that the players who have gone to play in Australia have stood their grounds in some very strong competitions and that is positively contributing to the future of Vanuatu Cricket.
He said that the national men’s team going up 4 division in 4 years means that all the right things are being done by Vanuatu Cricket.
Vanuatu Cricket General Manager, Pierre Chilia expressed heartfelt gratitude on behalf of the VCA for Duffy’s support towards cricket in Vanuatu.
“The support received from Peter Duffy has made life easier for our players, in the sense that they do not have buy new bats every time their bat is a little broken. The cost for a new cricket bat is expensive for our players so we really do appreciate the work and effort that Peter is putting into supporting us,’’ he said.
“I would also like to acknowledge everyone in Australia who have donated their cricket bats to us through Peter. He has done an amazing job with the bats and we are looking forward to using them during all our upcoming competitions. Your support is greatly appreciated by all of us.’’
He said that the VCA will continue to strengthen their relationship with Duffy and will always welcome him and his family to Vanuatu because they are already part of the Vanuatu Cricket family.