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PCNC Resumes Competition after Christmas Break

Posted by Near the Hoop on January 12, 2017 at 12:40 AM Comments comments (0)

So the PCNC resumes this weekend with game three of round two kicking off proceedings after almost a month long furlough for the festive season.

The good living will have had its toll and no doubt some fairly podgy players will return to the Rita Flynn Courts to try to pick up where they left off in December. It will be an interesting to see how well they fare as the Christmas spirit will more than likely be sticking noticeably to the obvious places.

Seventy Nine teams isn’t a bad effort. In fact all things considered, the PCNC still is the biggest single sporting competition in the country so a fair amount of effort does go into getting such a massive comp moving every Sunday for about thirteen to fifteen weeks each year over about five months.

The last games played in December had some interesting outcomes as well as some real surprises and with only three more games competition games to be played before the finals series commence the ladies will have to turn up to play if they intend to be in running for the finals. Each of the fourteen divisions have been quite evenly contested this season and so it is only in a handful of divisions that the finalists can clearly be defined.

The Premier division for one will be hotly contested with perhaps Datec the only surprise straggler after failing to defend the premiership last season. Margaret Embahe’s charges have had a hard time this season with staff movements in and out of the Datec business resulting in an attrition of core talent from the team and player combinations. This reinvention of themselves hasn’t really endeared itself on the teams and there has been some indicative absences and forfeits. Datec still remains a force to be reckoned with on paper and will need perhaps a solid season next year to return to the superstar circle again. There are three bank teams in the top flight, Westpac on their return to the big league, BSP last season’s champions and Kina Bank after a short sebatical in division 1 find themselves marked as real contenders for the big one.


They have been both unlucky and fortunate with their travel this season and were good enough to hold BSP out in their last encounter before the season broke for Christmas. As a result they are looking quite good while BSP is a little perplexed with what could be interpreted as some tough umpiring during that game. The attached images are just some images from that last game in 2016. Westpac in a decent close for 2016 dispensed with Fairdeal Liquors who were up until that game the giant killers of the comp and running fairly close to the ceiling in the division. 

The next three games are critical to all of the comp and we are looking forward to some excellent netball again. Let’s hope the ladies have been training and not too much of the festive spirit is still in the digestive system.




PCNC Biggest Formal Competition in Country

Posted by Near the Hoop on November 27, 2016 at 9:30 PM Comments comments (0)

With ninety one teams actively participating week in week out in the Private Companies Netball Competition, the PCNC easily takes on the title of the diggest formal competition of any sport in the country.

Played each Sunday at the the Rita Flynn Indoor Netball Stadium, the PCNC starts off as early as 9:00am and ends at approximately 5:00pm in the evening.  154 Divisions with 6 teams each means there is not much time for muching about at teh interchange or at fulltime to ensure all teams have a decent run.

Amazingly this season has started of with a real zest and the future looks good as both admin, management and umpire farternities work in tandum to make the whole thing work.

A new exective headed bu by Kori Toua from Hanuabada has looked to instill some transparency dicipline to the competitions operations which has been welcomed by the rank and file and still more want to join.  

There ar limitations to how much can be done with only the indoor facilities but that is still being decided on but for now it manages with 14 divisions and six teams to a division.

Datec Look to Rebuild

Posted by Near the Hoop on November 27, 2016 at 10:10 AM Comments comments (1)

If there was a team that you could say was struggling this season, you wouldn't have to look much further than the premier division and the great competitors Datec Limited.

After defending and loosing the premier grand final to BSP in March this year, Datec has been ravaged with staff movements that has changed the whole prospects and profile of the team.  Something which stalwart player/coachMargaret Embahe clearly is attempting to reinvent to keep in touch with teams in the PCNC's senior most level of competition.

Margaret still has a decent roster of competent players, it is just the combination of these that need to be tweeked to again make the bluejays a force to reckon with, but in the meantime, inspiring the team to even turn up on a Sunday is a challenge for some of the young players and for the last several weeks Margaret has been called on to (reluctantly) play to make up the numbers.  It hasn't been an outright disaster as the these ladies can play netball alright, it is just that they are mostly playing out of positions they are comfortable with this season and so the rebuilding process proceeeds.

The loss of Rachel Kapi especially with her poise near the hoop is the first notable absention in the blues team and a litany of mid court players no longer participating has Datec in a purple patch at the moment while Margaret Embahe works out combinations that will revitalise the Bluejays.  Nancy Kapi, normally a defender, has been pushed to the front and is holding her own in PCNC.  If anyone can do it, it is Margaret so all eyes are on her for the time being.  

Just One of Those Days for BSP

Posted by Near the Hoop on November 27, 2016 at 8:10 AM Comments comments (1)

It was just one of those days when you know its going to be a hard day at the office but after what happened the week before when a mix up meant BSP's Premier Division team would have to take the court without uniforms for the first half of a pretty herendous game against a fired up Fairdeal Liquors, you would have thought things may change for the reigning premiers as they focused on taking on former premier division contemporaries, Kina Bank.

This week BSP were expected to pull back the covers and let loose to get back in the groove.  Their oponents, Kina Bank, who are also working out attack combinations after some key staff movements this year, needed to also bring home a decent scalp to keep their aspirations at the Premier level alive.  Fairdeal Liquors have been the quiet achievers for the senior most division as to date they have knocked over most if not all of their major opponents and as a result, they are sitting fairly highly in this seasons early rankings. 

Kina, and now BSP need to pull themselves together and start impresing with wins but as you would have it, it suddenly becomes a tall ask when nothing you do works out.  For BSP, this situation must be starting to be a concern as three teams are now packed close together on the leader board and it may be a struggle in round 2 to haul the the others in without stressing. 

Last week it was the uniforms and a loss to boost as Fairdeal dispenses with the green machine without too muchof a fight.  This week the doldrums continued for the green machine as Kina stood their patch and played some excellent netball.  Rata Raula was better settled into the primary shooters role for this game and her accuracy and combinations out front with veteran attack Kula Iamo kept the score ticking over a lot more fluently.

BSP had the game in their sights even in the dying seconds as Jaqueline Hape scrounged for a better position to shoot in the key, but as you would have it,  time was called at the most inappropriate time and the befuddled BSP shooter was left starring at Vele Iamo and Renagi Mulina for assurance that all was not lost.

As it turns out BSP and Kina had to share points for a draw that could easily have been a win for the green machine.  Kina on their part had a great game but will need to sort out their midcourt passing delivery to their attacking pair and rework combinations that Angela and Kula had crafted into a science up front.

Samoa Bag Bronze in Tight Game

Posted by Near the Hoop on July 21, 2015 at 2:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Samoa held on against the tenatious Cook Islands Black Pearls to claim Bronze at the Power Dome on Saturday morning. The Samoans managing a modest 54 - 49 scoreline which reflects better than how they really faired as the Cook Islanders took every ounce of sweat from their Polynesian cousins, relenqishing the win only in the last two minutes or so of the game.

The lead changed hands several times as the two maintained a neck to neck game all the way to the finish.  At one stage it seemed the Cook Islands had found the Samoans measure and would wear them down but the ladies in Blue dug deep to keep composed, slowing the game at critical junctures and returning to the basics that resulted in points.  It was only just before full timet that they powering home. .

The Samoans held onto a very slim lead in both the first quarter and half time but went into the final down on points and looking at a very pumped up Cook Island side intent on upseting the apple cart.

They managed to take the lead back after a turnover early in the final stanza and had the presence of mind to keep the Cook Islanders at bay, holding on to that lead despite the frantic efforts of the Green machine to overrun them.  A turn over in the last minute of the game allowed Samoa ad safety net and the smallest of marjins and victory.  An entertaining game to the finish.

Gold Eludes Grasp of the Pepes

Posted by Near the Hoop on July 21, 2015 at 1:00 AM Comments comments (0)

The Pepes missed out on taking home Gold on Saturday afternoon as Fiji turned in their A game in the medal final to blast away our Pepe's showing exactly why they are ranked 7th in the world.   In front of a perochial PNG home crowd, they imposed their will on an awestruck Pepe's outfit never really moving out of third gear and using all their avaialble players to upset PNG in their quest for Gold at these games.

The Pepe's opened the game very much abreast of their arch rivals and even traded nets in the early part of the game. They only trailed the Pearls by a few nets at the first exchange much to the delight of the home crowd and the anticipation then was that it could be a tight finish but then the Fijians decided in the second and third quarters to drive home a message and for a short stint of perhaps 10 minutes the Fijians just went to town opening up a 10, then 15 and for a short while an 18 net advantage over PNG and from then on it was never likely for teh Pepe's to claw back the deficit.

PNG definitely had the goods and lets not take anything away from the Pepe's effort, they put everything into the game especially the two defenders near the hoop. They played their hearts out however the Pearls just used their height, reach and endurance advantage and when they weaved a bit of the Bula magic into the mix it wasn't long before shazam,  the game was over red rover.........

PNG's percentage was high given the amount of ball and pressure Tiata Baldwin and captain Lua Rikis were under, and when they had the ball they were doing things, but the agility and continued high gear the Fijians played at simply overwhelmed the Pepe's today.

Final score PNG 51 Fiji 68

Fiji were deserved winners of the gold as PNG had to settle for Silver.

Pepe's Hold on to beat Samoa - Pacific Games 2015

Posted by Near the Hoop on July 16, 2015 at 10:15 AM Comments comments (0)

The PNG Pepe's impressed on Wednesday evening when they held on to win a tight contest against Samoa in their pool match in front of a very parochial home crowd.  In the audience this eveing was the PNG Prime Minister, Hon Peter O'Neil and Mrs O'Neill, PNG's Sports Minister, Hon justine Tachenko and the Minister for National Planning and Monitoring, Hon Charles Abel.  The trio were seated court side and enjoyed a very focused performance by the national side.  Samoa have always been a nemesis for PNG, and the best of competitive rivals but Wednesday night belonged to PNG, as captain couragous, Lua Rikis led her charges with absolute resolve to provide fans a wonderful display of fast and furious netball.

The Pepe's had to claw back a 6 net deficit in the first quarter to lead at the break 30 - 28 and held onto the lead for both the 3rd quarter and full time in what was a nailbiting encounter.  3rd Qtr, 46-43 4th Qtr, 62-54.

It was a valiant effort and by no means a walk through the park as the Samoans worked as hard as they could to counter and overhaul this narrowest of margins and a relieved Lua Rikis had nothing but priaise at how the Pepe's held fast against a fast finishing flash of Blue much to the glee of a obvliously PNG home crowd. 

PNG play Fiji on Friday.

Too Big, Too Strong - Fiji Takes Pacific Series Championship in Style

Posted by Near the Hoop on June 9, 2011 at 7:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Fiji showed the City of Port Moresby yesterday why they are the Pacific Netball Champions and ranked 5th in the world in the sport.  Too big and too strong PNG’s Melanesian cousins put on display agility and strength at the expense of agallant Pepe side and in front of a very parochial PNG home crowd.

Fiji had the game under its control right from the first whistle, forcing the Pepe’s into turnovers early in the first quarter and scooting off to a comfortable lead in a blink of an eye. Aggressive defence by the Fijian midcourt had the Pepe’s in all sorts of bother but PNG’s strength near the hoop with Lua Rikis and Maleta Roberts finding the net in the late exchanges of the first quarter brought the best out of anappreciative home crowd.

It didn’t take much to set the crowd alight and each time thePNG attack found its way into the Fijian zone and every time the ball was lodged in the net, the roar of the fans resonated miles away.

For three days, Fiji’s dominance of the game in the South Pacific was on full display for fans of netball to see and marvel at.  The Cook Islands, Samoa and their very professional approach to the pregame and post game warm up and warm downs, not a feature of the game in PNG, certainly had netballers reflecting on their own practice.   The confidence they exuded would no doubt make them competitive at next months World Championships in Singapore.


Above: action int the PNG red zone as raid after raid kept Nisha Omi (GK) and Lama Lui (GD) busy but to their credit PNG made a contest of each posesion.

Playing at this level and especially with our Pacific neighbours has always been a physical tussle.  Veterans like Lua Rikis and Maleta Roberts knew what was waiting for them before they even stepped onto the court.  Fiji are big, especially in the forward and defensive pockets and the only way to get possession in this game is to claim the ball.  The contest between the shooters and defenders throughout the series, let alone this game, is another element of the game absent at the local club level, so the reaction of netballers watching the game was an interesting one as Fiji muscled and outtussled PNG for possession.   This part of the game at international level is physically draining and must have been an eye opener for many proponents of the sport that espouse the non contact nature of the game and was certainly a talking point by spectators as they left the stadium.

A confident President of Netball Fiji, Mrs Bogidrau, commented during day two of the  tournament that the Championship of this tournament was pretty much assured and the focus now for Fiji was Singapore.

Leading by example, captains Matila Waqanidrola (GK) for Fiji and PNG’s Lua Rikis (GA) worked hard to push their charges to work aggressively for the ball, so it was not surprisingly that the contest between the two when they did cross paths was a very physical one, in an athletic context of course.   On court as they do off it, the two have a healthy respect for each other as athletes. 

PNG’s midcourt, obviously still a work in progress afte rMona Lisa Leka’s retirement, showed up a lack of structure and space options,something the Cook Islanders, Samoans and Fijians quickly took advantage of over the three day tournament, making the going hard work for our centre/wing attackand wing defence/centre combinations.   It was here that PNG conceded the majority of its turnovers.

 Jessie Logo, having sat out the last two days on the bench must have been holding her breath and looked like she was going to burst when asked to warm up.  The young New Guinea Islander the first since the days of Kilala Owen, was surprisingly strong under the net in the secondquarter but clearly lacked the big game experience.  With one senior cap under her belt, she willno doubt mature and build up her own game style.  Her height and reach are attributes which will provide her with  opportunities if she sets her mind to it and goes on to use them.  LamaLua, Marypaul Buehler and Jessie all played above their personal bestthroughout the tournament despite what was always going to be a tough day atthe office.

Fiji also used up their full bench and were forced to make achange to their attacking line up after their lofty shooter, Elenoa Vatureba  injured her knee in the PNG zone in the secondquarter.

As expected Afa Rusivakula was always strong at the net forFiji as was Vatureba until her injury.

Fiji's record against Samoa on Tuesday morning was a tight tussle but again Fiji were able to run away with the game in the final quarter.  The Cook Islanders took the game to the Fijians in the second game of the series on Wednesday night but again the Fijian attack stepped up a notch late in the turn and also running away with that game.

The final score line in the final game against PNG 72 – 34, indicative of where the two countries are currently positioned in the world rankings.



Sports Scene take on Alu and Nisha.

Posted by Near the Hoop on April 29, 2011 at 8:40 AM Comments comments (0)

If you were watching EMTV last night you would have seen two smartly dressed athletes representing netball on the first segment of Sports Scene.  The pair, Alurigo Opina and Nisha Omi were making a splash as guests on the show after returning from Singapore two weeks ago.


Both PNG internationals had been invited to talk about their experience while under contract by Netball Singapore for a 5 weeks stint playing in Singapore's Super League tournament.

Alurigo Opina (left) and nisha Omi (centre) on set with Api Kassman.


Both stars conducted themselves well , even the tedy bear in corner, and discussed their exciting stay in Singapore with confidence.  Their foray into international netball was a first for PNG netball and hopefully a template for things to come in the future.


Last nights efort  is the first of what is expected to be series of appearances by netballers in the lead up to the Pacific Netball Series to improve the profile of the sport and to television's viewing public.  Alu and Nisha impressed so expect to see them appearing on several more segments.


Both Alu and Nisha have been selected in the new Pepe's lineup that will take on the queens of Oceania netball in early June.



Pepe Duo to Face Off in Singapore Super League

Posted by Near the Hoop on April 11, 2011 at 7:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Pepes defender Nisha Omi and centre Alurigo Opina are on target with their preparations in the lead up to national selections for the Pepes over the Easter long weekend, for the upcoming Pacific Series in Port Moresby in June, against Fiji, Samoa and the Cook Is.

The duo have turned in exceptional performances during the Singapore Netball Super league over the last 5 weeks and are now lined up against each other for the grand final show-down to be played on Saturday 16 April 2011 between the Nike Marlins and Blaze Dolphins. Nisha’s team the Nike Marlins will meet Blaze Dolphins, Alurigo’s team in the grand final and the encounter is expected to be another exciting one, with only several goals separating the two teams each time they’ve met during the season and in last Saturday’s major semi-final. The Pepes duo have been part of Netball Singapore’s bold move to include a foreign player in each of the 6 competition teams with players also having come from Fiji and Tanzania.


(above) Alurigo Opina and Nisha Omi playing for PNG at the recent

Commonwealth Games in New Delhi

According to the Head Coach of the Singapore National Team, Kate Carpenter, "both Alu Opina and Nisha Omi will feature for their respective teams in the Netball Super league grand final on Saturday. Alu's inclusion in Blaze Dolphins team has added a dynamic element to the centre court play, while Nisha has been best in combination in the defence circle in combination with Jean Ng, the Singapore National captain" In receiving the news, PNG Netball President, Julienne Leka-Maliaki welcomed the good news and expressed her appreciation to Netball Singapore for the opportunity provided to both players and PNG Netball, and is optimistic of continuing this partnership program with Singapore Netball in the future.

“The President echoed PNG Netball’s support and well wishes to the two girls, stating that netballers in the country are excited and encouraged by their outstanding performance and we look forward to their imparting the knowledge, experience and skills gained to their fellow members upon returning to PNG on 18 April 2011.

Story provided by Netball PNG