Not only was there another record crowd at the grounds – a record 72 teams registered for the event and all played with extreme enthusiasm from the under 13 boys and girls grade right up to the golden oldies mama and papas division.
After a day of non-stop volleyball action with some high octane spikes and deft touches seen – the teams were whittled down to just the best of the best in the quarter and semi-finals.
In the open men’s division – competition was tight among the 20 teams that registered with defending champions the Flyers, Kua Kite C, Aquila A and Tautu Blues emerging as the top four teams in the semi-finals.
Aquila A were too strong for the impressive Tautu Blues where the Flyers dispatched their opponents Kua Kite C to head in to the grand finals to defend their title against an amped up Aquila side.
With all eyes turned to the one court – the two top men’s team squared off cheered on by their staunch supporters.
Team Aquila A, which included big smasher Mau George, Dawn Tare, Paogo Fepuleai, Isamaela Toanui and sub Junior Vaireka looked in control in the first 15 minute half of the final match.
In fact at one point they lead by a 6 point margin until the experienced Flyers upped their game to equalise.
The experienced Flyers line up of Pi David, Tiraa Arere, Mano Tekopua, Alex Roa and sub Rere Mataiti seemed frazzled in the early stages of the game however, after a quick switch of sides for the second 15 minute half – they regained their confidence and began to play their game.
The lead see-sawed putting the crowd on edge as the two sides went point for point until the 10 second count down when Aquila A realised they just didn’t have enough time to take the win with the Flyers defending their title by winning the game 57-56.
In the women’s grand final – Aitutaki islanders sighed a small sign of relief that defending champions Hit Me, made up mostly of Rarotonga players bar two Aitutaki women, had been knocked out in the quarter finals.
It was a match of the ‘former champions’ in the women’s grand finals with 2010 women’s champion Are Tamanu squaring off with 2011 champions Eyes Belt from Pacific Resort.
The fun-filled match had the crowd in hysterics with a couple of characters on court acting out as only Aitutakians can in a grand finals game.
In the end Are Tamanu were just too slick, amassing more points than their opponents to win the women’s division.
It was certainly another fantastic event that was enjoyed by the island with food vendors at the school keeping the hungry athletes well-fuelled.
Congratulations to Rere Mataiti and his organising team for another wonderful and well run event.
Cook Islands News will bring your full results from the rest of the grades and more photos throughout the week.