Three teams from last year’s Gillette Cup Secondary Schools Cricket Tournament have made it through to the finals at Fitzherbert and Manawaroa Parks in Palmerston North from December 7-10.
Last year’s winners Christchurch Boys’ High School and runners up Hamilton Boys’ High School, along with Palmerston North Boys’ High School, will battle it out in the finals.
Defending champions, Christchurch Boys’ High School, have their sights set on retaining the title.
“Last year we weren’t considered a favourite, however this year we’re seeded number one, so there’s more pressure,” says coach Robert Dunne. “Our plan is to replicate the form of last year’s player of the tournament Matt Rowe. He stepped up and performed for the tournament, and we’re encouraging all the boys to do the same this year.”
With the loss of 2008 Gillette Cup Player of the Tournament, Adam Milne, and Opening Bowler Bevan Small, Palmerston North Boys’ High School (PNBHS) have their hopes pinned on eight new players and four returning from last year’s team.
Coach Paul Gibbs says, “We lost eight out of our twelve players from last year. Most of those eight had actually been in the team for three years since Year 11. This year we have a younger team, so this will be good experience for them. One of the four returning players, Phil McCredy - our left arm fast bowler, broke his hand yesterday taking a return catch, so he is pretty disappointed to be ruled out for the rest of the tournament.”
PNBHS has won the Gillette Cup title three times and holds the record for the school with the highest number of qualifications into the finals – a record 13 times in 21 years.
Last year’s runners up, Hamilton Boys’ High School, are returning with four players from the 2009 team in this year’s first eleven.
The finals will provide intense competition with Christchurch Boys’ High School defeating PNBHS on day one of the tournament.
In 21 years the tournament has seen 63 players go through to play first class cricket. Most notably is 2007 Gillette Cup Player of the Tournament and recently named BLACKCAP, Kane Williamson.