New Zealand’s top secondary school girls’ teams from 2007 are back to defend their shared title at the New Zealand Community Trust Girls’ Cricket Cup in Taupo next week.
New Plymouth Girls’ High School and Havelock North High School shared the title last year when rain washed out the final day. The two sides are among the eight teams contesting this year’s national finals tournament – the 15th in the history of the event – being held for the first time in Taupo at Owen Delany Park, starting on Monday 15 December.
The NZCT attracted more than 120 schools this year. The final eight teams include the winners in each Major Association area, plus the runners-up of the two associations with the most entries, which this year are Auckland and Central Districts. The finalists are Epsom Girls’ Grammar School, Baradene College (Auckland), Waikato Diocesan School (Hamilton), New Plymouth Girls’ High School, Havelock North High School, Wellington Girls’ College, Burnside High School (Christchurch) and St Hilda’s Collegiate (Dunedin).
Baradene College and St Hilda’s Collegiate are making their first appearances in the NZCT finals, while the other six schools are all returning from the 2007 finals. New Plymouth Girls’ High School are in the finals for a record 12th time and have won the trophy six times – the last five in a row. Not far behind is Epsom Girls’ Grammar School with 10 appearances and four titles.
The NZCT Girls’ Cup is a critical component of the player development pathway for secondary school girls – half the current White Ferns have played in NZCT finals in the past. They include Haidee Tiffen, Aimee Mason, Sara McGlashan, Ros Kember, Suzie Bates, Maria Fahey and Rachel Priest.
The eight schools in the finals are divided into two pools of four teams. Within each pool the teams play a round-robin contest over the first three days, with the teams then ranked on performance. On day four cross-over matches take place between the two pools to decide the 2008 NZCT champion and final placings for the tournament.
The NZCT national finals tournament will be opened at Owen Delany Park at 9.15am on Monday 15 December and the first round 40-over matches will get under way at 10.30am.