Wednesday 27 April 2011 | Published in Regional
The 500-strong crowd at Araura College squeezed in tight around the volleyball courts on Monday afternoon to watch the action packed and intense Cook Islands News Easter 4x4 volleyball grand finals.
After a day of rapid fire and thrilling games by the 52 teams Tamanu Beach and Pacific Resort emerged again this year as the top two womens teams on Aitutaki.
The same two faced off in the 2010 grand final but the tables turned on Monday in favour of Pacific Resort.
It was dubbed the battle of the resorts with the game neck and neck in the early parts of the first 10 minute half.
With vocal supporters behind them, Tamanu Beach lead by 7 points heading into the second and final spell of the game.
But it was a calm and strategically minded Pacific Resort side that forced the Tamanu Beach side to lose their cool with a couple of cheekily placed spikes.
Losing their cool was the undoing of Tamanu Beach as Pacific Resort pounced and let rip with more well placed hits to take out the 2011 Easter 4x4 championships title.
The tight game set the tone for the mens grand final between a relatively unknown mens team by the name of Pu Ava and a star-studded Maoate Contractors side.
Maoate Contractors used secret weapon and high flying spiker Pi David Jnr to rack up the points but Pu Ava replied with powerful killer spikes via Ben Samuel and Pokoina Paraea.
The game was point for point heading into the second half with an anxious crowd watching every move on court.
The scores were locked at 35-all at the end of the game as the tension mounted.
A final serve was called and Daniel Tutai of Pu Ava made sure his spike smashed on to dirt to seal his teams 2011 mens championship Easter 4x4 title.
In other divisions the Bone Fish boys were crowned the under 13 boys champion while the Pat Boys were thrilled with their second place ranking.
Rising Stars and Southern Stars were the two standout under 13 girls teams taking out first and second place respectively.
Telecoms Tele Buddies were too good in the under 16 boys taking out the championships with the Green Rebels happy with their runner up status.
The Easter Honey girls were the winners of the under 16 girls division closely followed by the Rainbow Panthers.
While all the golden oldies mamas had a fantastic time on court it was the Sunrise Quartets that were crowned champions and team Mama Res Inspirations winning second place.
Aitutaki MP Teina Bishop presented prize money sponsored by his family to the top womens team while major sponsors John and Liz Woods of Cook Islands News handed out prize money, trophies and sponsored products to the remaining champion teams.
A bigger and better tournament is being planned again for next Easter as the event, initially planned as a Cyclone Pat recovery project, fast becomes the biggest community event on Aitutaki.