Orewa travelled to Westlake as the surprise 4th seed on 29 points to contest the first Championship semi-final and finished well beaten 64-5 with a late consolation try. Orewa captain Jed Melvin was everywhere leading his troops but the Westlake side played as a team, were well drilled, clinical, counter-attacked on every turnover and just piled on the points as opportunities arose. As top seed on 63 points Westlake was always going to take the W and with 13 wins and only one draw (against Takapuna), it was inevitable. In the second semi-final, Takapuna led 12-3 at half-time in front of a huge crowd and took the game to Rosmini to finish at 24-3 and book a place at QBE Stadium next Thursday 16 August at 5.10pm. In the Plate semi’s Rangitoto travelled to Whangarei and continued their late and good form to win 15-12. Massey won by default over Birkenhead and will host Rangitoto in the Plate final on Saturday 18 August.
Westlake has won the title 15 times and Takapuna shared the title once with Massey in 2007. Westlake has been in the final 23 times in 34 seasons and Takapuna just the once. The weight of history lies with Westlake to take the 2018 title but Takapuna will be wanting to cause the upset. It will be a great occasion with passionate, vocal and numerous supporters from both schools. It will be a fitting curtain-raiser to the opening Mitre 10 Cup fixture for 2018 – North Harbour hosting neighbours Northland.
For the first time the Secondary School Girls 10 aside final will be the curtain-raiser to the Boys 1st XV 1A final this year at 4.05pm Thursday 16 August on QBE Stadium. There is one more round of games on Monday 13 August which may decide the 2nd place for a 1 vs 2 final. Rangitoto are in front on 40 points with Long Bay on 35 and Massey on 30. In the last games Rangitoto play Long Bay and Long Bay will be looking for a win against unbeaten Rangitoto or a close loss bonus point, whilst Massey face lowly Birkenhead and will want a bonus point win to tie with Long Bay on competition points whom they beat in the round robin – the tie on competition points will mean Massey go through having won the round robin game.
Great photographs by John Rau and Simon Harmer as usual