All round talent Niroa Kamana of winning freshman squash team Tourism Cook Islands takes time in between his grand finals games to help buddying athlete Rain Nicholas enjoy squash. 21090708
After more than 12 weeks on court and Covid-19 delays – squash freshmans shredded their newbie tags in the Freshman Squash Tournament finals.
Exhilarating finals on Thursday night last week had
spectators on the edge of their seats and supporters in full voice of support
as the tournament semi-final and finals were played out.
With 16 teams registered it was always going to be a tough
battle for all teams.
However, body on the line matches saw team Kai n Co
confidently led by twins Raita and Maeva Rongo, supported by their partners and
colleagues, Team Tourism with a full contingent of Love a Little Paradise
supporters and reserves players, the slick and vocal Vaiana’s Crossdressers, and
the BSP Wild Force (one of three BSP teams in the tournament) crew rise to the
occasion and into the top four playoff.
Vaiana’s Crossdressers, ably led by captain Sebon Nicholas
and husband Ant Wills, supported by the talented and former squash player Ed
Herman and national netballer Luciana Matenga, turned up for the finals meaning
All four players had to go through one man to reach the
finals spot in Kai n Co’s solo beast Maeva
Rongo, who epitomised “taking one for the team”, or in his
case taking four for the team.
Despite the daunting prospect of his solo challenge, young
Maeva showed no nerves and without a word of complaint got on with the task
making team Vaiana’s sweat.
However, team Vaiana’s were just too slick and determined to
secure a final spot – although Maeva certainly gave them a great run and warm
up for the final show of the night.
In the second semi-finals of the night it was the pink army
of Team Tourism versus the green army of the BSP Wild Force, with neither side
giving an inch in what resulted in a run of tie-breaker matches.
In the end, regular training sessions paid off for Team
Tourism with young Niroa Kamana steering the team into the finals against team
Vaiana, in what was an epic showdown that had everyone enthralled.
Each of the four final show-down matches were nail bitters
with tie-breaker games bringing out the absolute best in every player with some
long and ruthless rallies getting spectators off their seats.
It could have been anyone’s title to win – however it was
the grit of Team Tourism that saw them across the line to win the overall
competition 6-3 against the tenacious Vaiana’s crew.
Congratulations to Team Tourism’s core players led by the
all-round talent Niroa Kamana supported by the fast-improving Vainepoto
Tangaroa,m and experienced sportswoman Carlene Mapu, and indeed the entire Love a Little Paradise
Congratulations also to team Vaiana’s Crossdressers for a
brilliant tournament bringing their A-game every week and contributing to
helping newbie squash players get their eye-in the sport.
For his courageous one-man beast of a performance – Maeva
Rongo of Kai n Co earned the most valuable male player of the tournament while
Vainepoto Tangaroa of Team Tourism won this title for her great efforts on
Kathyleen Araitai of team Palm Grove was most improved
female player while young Avatiu Eels junior rugby player Jordan was the most
improved male squash freshman player, showing talents beyond his short time on
the squash court.
Next on the squash calendar is the squash opens and
nationals being planned for later in the year.