MEREWETHER batsman Jono Dunn fell narrowly short of appearing at the 2016 Twenty20 World Cup qualifiers when Vanuatu were beaten by Papua New Guinea in the final round of the East Asia Pacific Trophy on Sunday.
Thanks to some solid batting from Dunn at the top of the order, Vanuatu breezed through their matches in Lismore against the Philippines, Cook Islands, Fiji, Samoa, Indonesia and Japan before going down to PNG by seven wickets.
Dunn gave Vanuatu a strong start at Oakes Oval when he belted a six in the opening over.
But on the next ball he was caught and bowled for six by PNG's Willie Gavera.
Vanuatu eventually limped to 9-96, before PNG made 3-97 in response in 12 overs.
The victory progressed PNG to the T20 World Cup qualifiers in Scotland and Ireland next year, where they will have a chance to earn the right to play the International Cricket Council's full member nations in India in 2016.
"It was a good week, but we were disappointed about losing," Dunn told the Newcastle Herald.
"Next time hopefully."
Dunn travelled to Vanuatu for a pre-tournament training camp before heading to Lismore.
Dunn was the seventh-highest run-scorer at the EAP Trophy, with 177 at an average of 29.50.
His knocks of 61 off 48 balls and 71 off 43 deliveries guided the South Pacific island nation to victories over Samoa and Indonesia respectively.
Dunn was also one of the two Vanuatu players selected in the team of the tournament.
The one-time Merewether first-grader has played predominantly in second grade in the past two Newcastle district cricket seasons and has failed to reach double figures in five innings this season.
"I got a few runs up in Lismore, so hopefully I can bring a few back to Merewether," he joked.
Dunn was born in Vanuatu and moved to Australia in his teens. His parents still live there.
English and French are widely spoken in Vanuatu, as well as their local language, Bislama.
"I spoke that language before I spoke English, and when I'm playing with all the boys we speak that," he said.