By STEVE SPINKS
AN East Asia Pacific XIwith little experience on turf wickets came up short against Far North Coast in the representative cricket match at Oakes Oval, Lismore, last night.
The visitors tested a strong FNCline-up before losing by four wickets.
FNC(6-162)overcame East Asia Pacific (161) with four overs to spare.
Outstanding young Lismore batsman Tom Cooper starred with 68 not out, sharing a match-winning partnership with all-rounder Brett Ruttley (32 not out).
Earlier, the East Asia Pacific middle-order had staged a remarkable comeback.
It looked glum early, as Casino paceman Al Nowlan (3-33) ripped into the top order.
At one stage he was on a hat-trick.
East Asia Pacific were 3-15 and then 4-38.
However, a gritty knock by Papua New Guinea batsman Chris Amini (30) got his side back on track and they eventually reached their total of 161.
Amini was the captain of the PNG Under-19 team last season that competed in the Under-19 World Cup.
He was joined by Munir Ahmed, who scored a fluent 39.
Ahmed is a 36-year-old Japanese representative originally from Pakistan.
He moved to Japan as a 15-year-old and married a local girl.
But the best knock of the night came from lower-order batsman Navu Maha, who belted an entertaining 45.
He hit four fours and two sixes, but should have been rewarded with many more as the well-grassed Oakes Oval prevented a number of boundaries.
Maha is a talented all-round sportsman. He also captains the PNGAFLteam and is a handy rugby union player.
Tintenbar-East Ballina quick Luke Shay (2-16 off nine overs) and Norths-Goonellabah RSL spinner Steve Lockhart (2-23 off 10 overs) supported Nowlan well.
East Asia Pacific fast bowler Dunu Eliaba had an impressive early spell and will no doubt push for final selection for the Australian Country Championship.
Eliaba plays regular first grade cricket in Auckland and he snapped up Eastern Districts batsman Bruce Jobson to snare the first wicket for the visitors.
However, the pick of the East Asia Pacific bowlers was 16-year-old Vanuatu off-spinner Andrew Mansale, who took 2-28 from 10 overs.
After all the hoo-haa over the type of ball to be used last night, organisers opted for the the yellow balls.
However, they were the cheaper variety four-piece, and two balls were used in each innings from either end.