Hawke's Bay Hockey will stage an eight-match finals day in Napier on Saturday all-but behind closed doors as it reaches what has become a dream to complete its 2021 season despite the pandemic.
The games were to set to have been part of a 15-match finals day on August 22 but the event had to be called off when New Zealand went into level 4 lockdown three days earlier.
The association has been wondering ever since whether it would get the chance to celebrate the end of the season in the usual way this year, and probably would have had to cancel altogether if they were unable to get them out of the way before the end of September.
A year ago the 2020 finals were able to be played before crowds, as alert levels eased after a lockdown that disrupted all winter sports, including delaying the starts of some competitions.
Hawke's Bay Hockey had wanted to avoid encroaching on the seasons of summer sports.
Competitions officer Jill Suckling today confirmed the plans to go ahead under level 2 conditions, with no general public and numbers limited only to players and small numbers of supporters, named beforehand for lists kept at the gates on the basis of no name-no entry, to keep within the constraints of the "bubbles" for outdoor events.
Games on the two pitches will have staggered starts from 11am, with participants being able to enter the park 15 minutes before the games in which they are involved, and being required to leave immediately after their game is completed.
The standard precautions of level 2 will be in place, including contact tracing processes, and mask and self-distancing obligations.
The grades not involved in Saturday's matches are being decided on placings at the end of round-robin matches during the season, Suckling said.
"Hawke's Bay Hockey felt it was important to be able to facilitate these matches being played, even within level 2 restrictions," she said.
Spectators would still be able to watch the games from outside the perimeters of the two hockey stadium.
The draw for the games is:
Cape Physio Pitch: 11am, Women Div 3, Bay Kowhai v Akina Paewai; 12.45pm, Women Div 2, Bay Evergreens v Central Hockey Prems; 2.30pm, Men Div 1 (third/fourth), Central Hockey Premier v Taupo; 4.15pm, Women Div 3 (third/fourth), Central Hockey Reserve v TAS Blue.
Big Save Pitch: 11.45am, Men Div 3, Central Hockey v Akina Campbell; 1.30pm, Men Div 2, Bay 2 v City United; 3.15pm, Women Div 1, Bay Ferns v HNHC Prems; 5pm, Men Div 1, Bay 1 v Akina Waapu (A).