Rachel James and Jarrod Porter: Couple were in Cuba when COVID started spreading

EXOTIC POSTCARD: Rachel James and Jarrod Tickle in Havana, Cuba. Photo: Supplied
EXOTIC POSTCARD: Rachel James and Jarrod Tickle in Havana, Cuba. Photo: Supplied

Rachel James and her partner, Jarrod Tickle, were blissfully unaware of the growing threat of COVID-19 early last year, as they absorbed the erstwhile and unique charms of Cuba.

The Werris Creek couple were on the island as part of a month-long overseas trip in January 2020, and they didn't have a phone service or internet access.

"So we didn't know about it [COVID] until they asked us about it at the Canadian border on our way home," Rachel, 24, said. "We were pretty lucky to get our trip in before everything started."

Before travelling to Cuba, the couple visited London and Paris.

Now back home, they are preparing for the long-awaited restart of Group 4 on May 1. James and Tickle play league tag and reserve grade, respectively, for Werris Creek.

James became part of the Magpies family via her relationship with Tickle, the elder brother of Magpies first-grade player-coach Cody Tickle.

SNAPSHOT: James and Tickle in ... Well, you know where. Photo: Supplied

SNAPSHOT: James and Tickle in ... Well, you know where. Photo: Supplied

It's a relationship that began when she followed some of her friends, who were playing league tag for the Magpies, to the Commercial Hotel in Werris Creek one day.

Tickle, who grew up in the Creek, was there and introduced himself to James. The rest, as they say, is history. The couple now live together in Werris Creek, James's home of some six years.

PIES TIME: James and her good friend and Werris Creek teammate, Dayna Porter, in the scorer's box at David Taylor Oval this month. Photo: Mark Bode

PIES TIME: James and her good friend and Werris Creek teammate, Dayna Porter, in the scorer's box at David Taylor Oval this month. Photo: Mark Bode

"Yes, I am," James replied when asked if she was waiting for Tickle to propose.

James - a teacher at Quirindi Public School - joined the Magpies in 2019. Playing for the club has added another potent element to her Werris Creek experience.

She won the Magpies' players' player award in 2019.

GOING BIG: James has fun with the famous landmark.

GOING BIG: James has fun with the famous landmark.

Werris Creek was "a beautiful place to live", she said, adding: "If you ask anyone I know, I tell 'em it's the best place to live."

Teaching was also a "beautiful" experience, she said.

"I love going in each day."