The Milky Way won the social grade title at the Boxing Day Touch tournament on Saturday. PHOTO: MELINA ETCHES/20122819
The annual Boxing Day Touch Tournament saw close battles in social and open grade finals.
RBDC and The Milky Way were crowned the champions at the
Vodafone “Back to local Roots” Boxing Day Touch Competition on Saturday at The
Swamp in Avatiu.
The Milky Way claimed the social division after overcoming
Remix in a tough final.
Team Remix coached by local legend Billy ‘Bush’ Tuaivi made
it into the final beating newbies Called 2-1 in the semi-final.
The other social grade semis saw The Milky Way and Bandits
go to a drop off to determine the winner.
Both teams scored a try each in their opportunities of six
touches so it was down to the next team to score and claim the win. A poor pass
from the Bandits resulted in a hand over to The Milky Way who managed to speed
around the Bandits defence to score and secure their place in the final.
In the final, The Milky Way continued its winning streak to
beat Remix by 3 touch downs to 2, taking home the social grade title.
Prime Minister Mark Brown taking part in last weekend's touch tournament. PHOTO: MELINA ETCHES/20122816
In the open grade, eventual winner RBDC defeated
Taokotaianga comfortably by 4-0 in the semi-final. The other semis saw
Untouchables battling hard against Peter Marsters-led NMT Sea Eagles. The
Untouchables eventually ran out victors 2-0.
In the final, dark horse Untouchables came out firing and 10
minutes into the game, the side led 4-2. The Untouchables dominated both on
attack and defence with brothers Steven and Cajun Willis controlling play. A
stray pass from RBDC saw Daimzel Rongokea sprint the length of the field to
score, taking the Untouchables further into the lead.
Not panicking, RBDC fought back and an intercept from Mafu
got the team back on track, giving the experienced Conrad Piri and Geoff
Halston combining with youngster Genesis Piri and Jeremy Campbell an
opportunity to bounce back.
PHOTO: MELINA ETCHES/20122828
They worked superbly on the five metres providing the
comeback by scoring three quick touchdowns in a row to take them ahead of the
Untouchables and win the tournament by 5-4.
Cook Islands Touch president Daphne Brown said: “It was an
excellent hot day of Touch with the full 16 teams turning out fully kitted in
their team uniform colours to take on the 2020 Vodafone Boxing Day Touch
“Some teams headed to the Avatiu Field early to put up their
team marquees to claim their team camp around the field. All teams played four
games and others went on to play five and six games. It was good to see a great
mix of players participating in the competition and an increased number of
The introduction of the social grade provided an opportunity
to teams wanting to learn the game, play for fun and be with their friends and
family, said Brown.
“It proved to be an excellent category. It was a good fit
for the teams in the grade and they thoroughly enjoyed themselves. The eight
teams in this grade all played three round games and then headed into the
business end of the quarter finals.”
The open competitive grade saw a good number of regular and
national Touch players “spread themselves out amongst the teams in the grade to
provide an even level competitive playing field providing the crowd with
skills, speed and sheer brilliance”.
PHOTO: MELINA ETCHES/20122832
“Cook Islands Touch would like to thank its major sponsor
Vodafone Cook Islands and supporting sponsors Te Aponga Uira and Palace
Takeaways for their tremendous support and making it a special day for
everyone. Congratulations and meitaki maata to all the teams and volunteer
referees that took part in the 2020 Boxing Day Tournament.”
Individual MVP awards were won by – MVP male – Genesis Piri
from team RBDC; MVP female – Daimzel Rongokea from team Untouchables; Best
Dress Team: Palmerston Patriots and Best Try: Daimzel Rongokea.