Tai Tapu takes on the big schools
A Canterbury school is defying the odds at the year 7 and 8 national cricket tournament in Palmerston North this week.
Tai Tapu School, near Christchurch, has 300 pupils, much fewer than the other schools at the tournament.
Tai Tapu has only 16 intermediate girls, with 13 taking part in the girls' section of the tournament.
It is also the only primary-intermediate school at the competition.
"They're a bunch of girls who are very sport-orientated," coach Chris Els said.
"They always had to punch above their weight."
Els has a class of 24, with 16 girls and eight boys.
Of the other three girls, one is in Australia representing New Zealand in showjumping.
The other three schools in the NZC Shield girls' competition are all intermediates.
Auckland Intermediate Normal School has more than 600 pupils, Christchurch's Heaton Intermediate School has more than 550 and Havelock North Intermediate School has more than 600.
Els said the country school had come via the long route to get to the tournament.
It was their second year together and they were keen to do well after just missing out last season.
"It's been one of those years," Els said.
"A very sporty class these girls. I think the advantage for these girls, they have been with each other since they were five."
Yesterday, Tai Tapu scored 83 for five to win by five wickets with three balls to spare when they dismissed Auckland for 82.
In the boys' NZC Cup finals, the teams are John McGlashan College (Dunedin), Tauranga Intermediate School, Medbury School (Christchurch) and Hutt International Boys' School.
The Manawatu Standard