The Bay of Plenty Cricket Player/s of the Month March Award has seen the Aquinas College First XI receive a rare team award. Aquinas College has become the first Bay of Plenty Secondary School to progress from the qualifying draw to the ND First XI Finals, which sees them competing against a number of Super Eight Cricket Schools.
Bay of Plenty Cricket introduced the BOPCA Player of the Month Award in 2006. The purpose of the award is to recognise excellence in Bay of Plenty Cricket during each month of the playing season.
The progress of the Aquinas College cricket pathway, in the thirteen years since the Western Bay of Plenty secondary school was established, is no better exemplified than Aquinas College qualifying for the ND (Northern Districts) NZ Cricket First XI Cup finals being played in Hamilton this week (27/31 March 2017).
The Secondary School Boys’ First XI Cup (First XI Cup) is a secondary school competition for Year Nine to Thirteen boys. The First XI Cup began in 1990 and is among the longest-running competitions in secondary school sport. The competition provides the opportunity for players to compete against some of the best school teams in the country with many Black Caps and first-class cricketers having made their name in this tournament.
Aquinas College faced a daunting challenge, in order to make the ND First XI playoffs in Hamilton, needing to win a minimum of six straight games. First up, they emerged triumphant from the Bay of Plenty regional qualifiers, defeating Western Heights High School, Bethlehem College and Mount Maunganui College.
The second phase of qualifying for the ND First XI Cup Finals, took place at the Bay of Plenty/Poverty Bay T20 Finals at the Gordon Spratt Reserve in Papamoa. Aquinas College reached 105 all out against Bethlehem College and then bowled them out for 87, to claim a hard fought 18 run win.
Gisborne Boys High School, who play Super Eight cricket were the last hurdle before the next step of the Aquinas journey. The Poverty Bay representatives mustered 106, before the Western Bay side got home with six wickets in hand.
The Aquinas journey to ND First XI Finals week, continued in Counties Manukau territory. A win against Hillcrest High School in their first game, qualified the Bay of Plenty winners for the ND playoffs. Aquinas bowled the Hamilton City team out for just 71 and cruised to a nine wicket victory. What was particular satisfying was that the Waikato Secondary School had knocked Aquinas out of last season’s qualifying title race.
Bay of Plenty Cricket Player of the Month Awards 2016/17
October Donovan Deeble (Element IMF Cadets CC)
November Tom MacRury (Bay of Plenty Senior Men’s Representative Team)
December Alastair Blackett (Bay of Plenty Senior Men’s Representative Team)
January Alex Lees (Bay of Plenty Senior Men’s Representative Team)
February Sean Davey (Bay of Plenty Senior Men’s Representative Team)
March Aquinas College First XI
Louis Robinson (Capt) Fergus Lellman (V-Capt) Carson Wills, George Catto, Darcy Hoskin, Finn Dempsey, Ben Woodrow, Joel Hayes, Sean Mullaly, Brendan Fletcher, Willow Purden-Winters, Cypress Purden-Winters, Toby Taylor.