Tauranga Intermediate School moved a step nearer to defending the New Zealand Cup title that they claimed last year, when they won the regional NZ Cup playoff at Mitchell Park in Tauranga on Friday against fellow Western Bay school, Aquinas College.
The primary team from Aquinas batted first and were dismissed for 63. Sean Dykes top-scored with a gritty 25, with Tauranga Intermediate captain Mikaere Leef producing his team's best bowling figures, returning 2-12.
Following on from their form the previous day in thrashing Cambridge Middle School, Tauranga cruised to an eight-wicket victory. David Rout was in good form, posting 25 runs, while Leef added an unbeaten 17.
The two Western Bay sides had crushed their Waikato opponents the previous day to reach the final.
Aquinas put bat to ball to finish their innings with 170 runs against Morrinsville Primary. Sean Dykes was in majestic form and smashed an unbeaten 60 to put his side in the box seat. Sam Wylie and Jared Schneebeli both made solid contributions, reaching the 30s.
Morrinsville Primary quickly came and went at the crease, with the Waikato side dismissed for just 34. Louis Robinson bowled superbly to take four wickets at a cost of just six runs, while Brendan Fletcher and Jared Schneebeli returned identical figures of 2-5.
Tauranga Intermediate were just as dominant in their encounter with Cambridge Middle School. The Western Bay side smashed 144 for the loss of two wickets. Marcel Collett took the game by the scruff of the neck, smashing 57, with Rout posting 38.
Led by Rout, who was almost unplayable with the ball, the visitors were all out for 37. Rout finished with the remarkable figures of 5-4, while Taylor Kite grabbed two wickets.
Tauranga Intermediate now advance to the Northern Districts finals to be played in Waikato on October 29.
In other schools cricket news, Tauranga Boys' College advanced to the next round of the Gillette Cup after beating Gisborne Boys' High School.
Batting first, Tauranga Boys' posted 177, with Tom MacRury (70) and Connor Fifita (53) leading the way. Gisborne were rolled for just 95 to give the Tauranga side a big win. Fran?ois Potgieter and James Boys took two wickets apiece.
Tauranga Boys' now play the winner of the ND Gillette T20 competition in a game that must be completed by the end of October.