Zone 1 of the Secondary School Premierships has attracted twenty three entries in the Boys Competition and twelve entries in the Girls Competition. With eighty five pool games alone, the North Shore Events Centre is operating fifteen hour days in order to complete the schedule. The top six teams in each competition qualify for Secondary Schools Nationals being held in Palmerston North in October.
Entering the tournament, the favoured Boys team in Pool 1 are Westlake Boys, the Daryl Cartwright coached Mt Albert Grammar the other likely qualifier for play-offs. In Pool 2 Rosmini are the clear favourites, Avondale the likely runners up although Leyton Haddleton’s St Peters Auckland and Mike Fitchett’s Dilworth may come into the equation. Pool 3 will be a close fought affair, Rangitoto and Auckland Grammar battling it out for top spot. Glenfield are skilled but too small to trouble the two big fish in this pool. Pool D is clearly the most open of the four pools. Onehunga are the favourites but all six teams in the section will fancy their chances of progressing.
The Girls competition, if all goes to plan, is likely to come down to a Westlake Girls v Rangitoto final. However, Avondale, Mt Albert Grammar, Auckland Girls Grammar, Carmel and Massey are all capable of causing an upset and will certainly like their chances of securing a spot in the top six and heading to Nationals.
Late on day one most games have gone to form. In Pool 1 Westlake are 2-0 but the real interest lies in the outcome of the fixture between Kristin and Sacred Heart to be played on day 2 (Thursday). Kristin secured wins against Mt Albert (48-47) and Takapuna (67-38) to put themselves in the box seat to qualify from the pool behind Westlake. However Mt Albert beat Sacred Heart 72-63 to keep their hopes alive and set up a count back situation should Sacred Heart prevail against Kristin.
Rosmini, Avondale and Dilworth are all 2-0 in in Pool B meaning St Peters, Northcote and Western Springs are almost certain of elimination.
As expected Rangitoto and Auckland Grammar both had a brace of large wins in Pool C and look certain to be the qualifiers from that section.
Pool D is likely to see Massey and Onehunga progress but Westlake B coached by school old boys Jordy Jamieson and Aramis Dennan may still have a say in the outcome.
I’ll be back tomorrow with more news.