Favourites contest 2008 North Island Schools final

8 Oct 2008 – The winners and runners-up of the Auckland Secondary Schools Curling competition battled it out again in the finals of the 2008 North Island SS Championships held at Paradice, Avondale on 4-5 October.

The three Girls, one Mixed and six Boys teams played in two pools of five. Auckland SS Boys winners Massey High won their pool as did runners-up Kelston Boys Red, but both had a scare in their pool games. Massey were neck-and-neck with Epsom Girls Farley for much of their match before easing out to an 8-5 win, while Kelston Boys Red scraped home 5-4 against a determined Long Bay College Boys team.

In Sunday night's final Massey (Keswick Pearsen, Will Armitage, Sam Brady, Brad Pearse) came from 3-1 down after 3 ends to slowly assume control. A 3 in the fifth end was the turning point and they took the title 8-3 against Kelston Red (Kieran Ford, Brett Sargon, Raegan Lupi, Arnold Mataika).

Both teams in the Girls Final finished second in their pools. Baradene College (Lee-ande Hill, Florence Ng, Marilyn Tan, Katherine Yip) reversed the result of the Auckland SS Girls final when they led all the way for a 6-3 win over Epsom Girls Grammar Ku (Lisa Ku, Courtenay Kay, Monica Stone, Vanessa Bradley).

In the play-off between the third placegetters in each pool, Epsom Girls Farley beat Long Bay Boys 5-2, and in the 4 vs 4 playoff Henderson High won a close match 5-4 over Long Bay Mixed, who took home the trophy for the Mixed teams championship.

One disappointing feature of the competition was the state of the ice. The hours of overnight preparation by Auckland Curling Club members was spoiled somewhat when the ice plant at Paradice failed to keep pace with the spring temperatures. The end of all three sessions suffered from very heavy conditions as the ice deteriorated, evidenced by the number of blank ends near the conclusion of some games.

Seven teams from Auckland travel to the NZ Secondary Schools competition in Naseby, Central Otago on 9-11 October, where they hope to meet with conditions more conducive to good curling.