A group of Northlanders helped New Zealand Croatia claim the inaugural Cook Islands Premier League tournament in Rarotonga.

Northland cricketing legend, and former Northern Knight, Joseph Yovich delivered a Twenty20 batting master class against the Cook Islands' national team.

Batting at first drop, Yovich powered his way to two T20 centuries - sending his lofted straight drives into the surrounding village during last week's competition.

Yovich's biggest T20 hundred came from only 36 balls as he surged to 125 from 46 deliveries, as New Zealand Croatia powered to 289-5 in their first encounter with the Cook Islands national men's team.


Yovich had lodged his opening century off just 33 balls when the side met Cook Islands' domestic league champions Pukapuka in the CIPL opener.

Set a target of 261, Pukapuka had got off to a flying start before four Northlanders combined to clamp down and stop the Pukapukan charge at 182-8.

Longtime Northland representative Darron Goodwin's 3-37 led the way, supported by 2-23 from City's Adrian Smith-Hodgson, 1-35 from his club mate Brad Bennetto and 1-38 from former Kaipara offspinner Matt Vujcich.

Yovich, who captains New Zealand Croatia, said the week was enjoyable and the experience had been positive - with New Zealand Croatia being a relatively new team.

"The men also have made visible strides in their technique and overall competitiveness since we first played them in 2013. Northern Districts Cricket has been proactive for many years in fostering Cook Islands Cricket with training gear and programmes - that was how I first formed a connection with the Cooks, on a visit with the Knights."

The invitational tournament is the brainchild of Cook Islands Cricket chief executive and expat Kiwi Alister Stevic.

New Zealand Croatia will play their first fixture in Whangarei this summer, in February.