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Otara Scorpions share the love

Saturday 9 April 2022 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Local, National

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Otara Scorpions share the love
The visiting Otara Scorpions 8 Ball Pool team. From left: To be engaged - Vincent George and Jennifer Walters, celebrating their 36th wedding anniversary - Mata and Vicky Tearii and celebrating their first anniversary - Tina and Joseph Benioni. MELINA ETCHES/22040808

Since 2012, the visiting Otara Scorpions 8 Ball Pool members who are associated with the Otara Scorpions Rugby League have built up a special relationship with the Cook Islands, writes Melina Etches.

In the past, the team would visit the Cook Islands every two years but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, travels that had been planned two years ago were scrapped.

Cook Islander Joseph Benioni, who is a member of the team, said this time around the group of 26 hung up their boots and instead travelled as a pool (billiard) team with scheduled matches with Trio’s, Mongoose, Ngatangiia and Turtles pool teams.

“Unfortunately, some of the Mongoose and Turtles members were in isolation. And we got caught up in island tactics, we were told to be at Trio’s early at 3pm for our pool game … we were too early and it was so hot, by the time we played Trio’s walloped us,” Benioni laughed.

Mongoose team member George George said: “It’s been a long time coming and we are pleased they are here and it’s great to see them. It’s been fantastic to hook up again with the Scorpion, but this time it was on much friendlier playing terms, not rough like on the rugby field.”

Several Cook Islanders are part of the group. George was also pleased to meet up again with his cousin George Tiera.

Celebrations have been happening throughout the team’s visit, three members celebrated birthdays and love seems to in the air for some with several rejoicing their wedding anniversaries.

Hailing from Avatiu, Benioni said he had planned to get married to his now wife Tina in Rarotonga, because of Covid they had to change plans and ended up marrying in New Zealand.

The Benionis will visit Aitutaki soon to celebrate their “late” honeymoon.

His sister Rakei also travelled with the group on her “first trip ever” to the Cook Islands and is currently enjoying Aitutaki, he added.

Mata and Vicky Tearii raised a toast to 36 years of marriage and an engagement is coming up for Vincent George and Jennifer Walters.

The group also generously donated $400 to Autism Cook Islands. “We wanted to help a community organisation and since we are here during Autism Awareness month, we chose their charity,” said Benioni.