New Zealand’s top Year 7 and Year 8 school cricket teams are gearing up for a hard fought national finals tournament in Palmerston North next week.
The MILO Cup (boys) and MILO Shield (girls) tournaments see the leading four teams in each competition vying for top honours over two days of cricket.
The MILO national primary school competitions – now in their ninth year – have been a major part of New Zealand Cricket’s junior cricket development since their inception in 2000. The competitions provide exciting opportunities for primary and intermediate schools to enter their Year 7 and 8 first elevens into these prestigious contests.
This year 348 schools entered the competitions – 220 in the MILO Cup and 128 in the MILO Shield. The competition is played across the school year, with schools competing within their Major Cricket Association to determine regional winners.
The top school from the association with the most entries automatically qualifies for the national finals. In both the MILO Cup and Shield this year that honour went to the winners from Canterbury. Their runners-up and the other five association winners then played off against their adjacent associations to decide the other three finalists in each contest.
The four finalists in each of the competitions meet in Palmerston North on December 8-9 at Fitzherbert and Ongley Parks. On the first day of the two-day national finals the four schools in each tournament play each other in 25-over matches for the MILO Shield and 35-over matches for the MILO Cup. On the second day the two winners in each event contest the title while the two losers play off for third and fourth places.
The finalists for 2008 include:
MILO Cup: Medbury Preparatory School [Christchurch], Waimea Intermediate [Nelson], Southwell School [Hamilton] and Hereworth School [Havelock North]
MILO Shield: Heaton Normal Intermediate [Christchurch], Tai Tapu School [Christchurch], Viscount School [Auckland] and Raroa Normal Intermediate [Wellington]
In the MILO Cup, Waimea Intermediate is returning from last year’s finals. Medbury Preparatory School and Hereworth School have both appeared in previous finals, but for Southwell School it will be their first appearance at a MILO national finals tournament.
In the MILO Shield Viscount School return from last year and have previously won the title in 2001. Heaton Normal Intermediate was in the finals in 2005 while Tai Tapu School and Raroa Normal Intermediate will be making their first appearance at this national level.
The national tournaments will be officially opened at Fitzherbert Park, Palmerston North on Monday, December 8 at 9.15am, with the first day’s matches starting at 10.30am.