The sport of bocce is alive and well at the Santa Maria Di Prata Club on Walnut Grove Avenue in Cranston.
On a recent summer night, Team Giovanotti – which is made up of Johnston residents – tested its mettle again Team Azzuri Di Prata on the clay courts located behind the Italian-American Society in what players like David Slinko called “a friendly yet highly-competitive three-game match.”
To say that players on both squads take playing the game of bocce seriously would be an understatement.
Team Azzuri – the Rhode Island Bocce League’s 2017 champion – took on Team Giovanotti, who as Johnston Police patrolman Slinko wanted it known “is enjoying the title of 2018 league champs.”
However, on this night, Team Azzuri Di Prata took two of three games despite being in sixth place in the Rhode Island Bocce League.
Members of Team Giovanotti have been playing together for the past 10 years. Slinko proudly noted, “We are currently holding onto first place and planning to repeating as the Rhode Island Bocce League’s 2019 champions.”
Team Giovanatti is made up of Johnston residents Frank Riccio, Silvio Conte, Anthony Sesaro, John Ricchio and Slinko.
Both Team Giovanotti and Team Azzuri – which consists of Domenic Petrarca, Alfonso Cambio, Antonio Piccirillo and Gaetano Nocera – play out of the Santa Maria Di Prata Club.
The Rhode Island Bocce League was formed in April 1935, and this year features 144 players from four different Italian-American social clubs and organizations throughout the state –Santa Maria Di Prata in Cranston, St. Anthony’s Club and Club Fontegrega Club in Providence, and Warwick Veterans Club in the Natick section of Warwick.