Sunday, June 7

Golden oldies rugby mini festival in Rarotonga

Twelve local and overseas teams joined in the fun at the two-day golden oldies rugby tournament in Rarotonga over Queen’s Birthday weekend.
Brisbane Budgies, Tauranga Old Stars, Lunchtime Legends, Grafton Big River Bullrouts, Tawa Toads, Stokes Valley Gangsters and Manukau Mudlarks were joined by Aitutaki Happy Feet, Avatiu Nikao Mongoose, Takitumu, Takuvaine Legends, Tupapa-Maraerenga and the lone Kevin Murphy (origin unknown – by me at least).
Saturday began with a march past of the teams. Then a minute’s silence was held in honour of Duncan Barrowman of Manukau Mudlarks, who was tragically killed in an accident on Friday.
Once play got under way many of the teams were ‘fruit salads’ with players from a mixture of sides.
As Cook Islands News reported, “This certainly spiced up the festival with visiting players relishing the chance to play with and against the country’s prime minister Jim Marurai and foreign affairs minister Wilkie Rasmussen who donned the black and white
jersey of Tupapa.”
Deputy prime minister Sir Terepai Maoate, a stalwart golden oldie, was also there playing for Takitumu.
Another local star was ‘Mama Mongoose’ – Ake Hosea – a regular player for the Avatiu Nikao Mongoose team.
In golden oldies rugby everyone’s a winner and, as is the golden rule, all games ended in a six-all draw.
The weather on Saturday was brilliant but I can’t speak for Monday because by then I was in Auckland for a few days R&R (rest and retail therapy). Actually the weather in Auckland was great; sunny all day and not a cloud in the sky. Cold, mind you, but you expect it in winter and dress accordingly. It stayed like that until Friday morning when fog rolled in but it was clear at the airport and didn’t stop the return flight to Rarotonga.
A pity because back in the Cooks it was cold and wet, had been raining for days with more to come and the road home was thick with mud where trenching work had got bogged down.
Ah, the pleasures of a tropical island paradise!