Basketball, cricket, football, netball and rugby have started postponing and cancelling competitions in Hawke's Bay due to the threat coronavirus is posing.

Pre-emptive measures from the codes range from abandoning all competitions and tournaments although some are retaining training and talent programmes within acceptable boundaries of engagement.

All the codes were unanimous that protecting the health of the community was paramount to any other agenda. Most winter codes are embracing the Saturday, May 2, deferral guidelines from the Government.

They are encouraging their members and affiliates to support each other in following the official Covid-19 government guidelines in visiting the www.health.govt.nz website.

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Basketball Hawke's Bay general manager Chris McIvor says they didn't hear from Basketball NZ so they made their own decisions on how to tackle the pandemic. Photo / file
Basketball Hawke's Bay general manager Chris McIvor says they didn't hear from Basketball NZ so they made their own decisions on how to tackle the pandemic. Photo / file

BASKETBALL

"We've heard nothing from Basketball New Zealand so we've made out own decision," says Basketball Hawke's Bay general manager Chris McIvor.

McIvor said Basketball HB had cancelled all junior club and school miniball competitions for the remainder of term 1, effective immediately.

It had reached the decision after discussions with numerous schools and families as well as considering the mindset of other codes in the province.

"What we haven't stopped is team trainings as well as our rep programmes but we'll just keep an eye on that, too."

McIvor said individual players were at liberty to elect not to participate at their discretion.

"The well being of our players, coaches, referees, volunteers, supporters and the wider basketball community is our top priority," he said. "We ask all basketball providers in the region to follow in regards to intended competitions and events."

McIvor and a couple of Basketball HB board members had met to nut out worst-case scenarios.

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"There's a lot to digest but we are forecasting for the chance that we may lose all the year now in case we lose large parts of what we do," he said.

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CRICKET

Hawke's Bay Cricket has scuttled the book-end of its summer season after seeking advice from Central Districts Cricket and New Zealand Cricket.

All primary and intermediate school, secondary schoolboys and girls and club cricket have been cancelled.

That includes programmes such as Super Star Cricket, Yeah Girls and coaching development sessions. Practices and training are out, too.

HB Cricket chief executive Craig Findlay has asked clubs to consider the merits of going ahead with prizegiving functions as well.

Findlay said HB Cricket had cancelled its junior and senior gong ceremonies although they were looking at arrangements to present awards to prize winners.

"We'll have to work that out so we haven't really discussed that yet but we'll continue to give trophies that have been won," he said.

The premier men's club limited overs semifinals were scheduled for this Saturday and the final the following Saturday. A couple of other lower grade divisions winners remain undecided.

Findlay said it was possible the senior prizegiving ceremony might be staged in September when the 2020-21 season would be launched, combined with its annual meeting, provided the Coronavirus landscape becomes suitable.

"We have 135-odd years of history in Hawke's Bay Cricket so we want to continue to present trophies," he said.

He is waiting to hear officially whether Innovate Electrical Napier Technical Old Boys will still be in the hunt for a historic national club championship treble in Auckland next month.

"My guess is the tournament won't be happening but will it happen another day? Yeah, who knows."

The CD qualifying Gillette Cup tourney in Palmerston North, he said, had been postponed because of NZ Cricket restrictions on air travel and overnight accommodation, as it had done with the four-day men's domestic Plunket Shield.

Findlay said the NZ club champs appeared to be on their last legs as an inaugural Twenty20 event because hosts Cornwall CC, of Auckland, were intending to keep it going.

"I'd love to host it here if they pulled out but we haven't talked to anyone about it," he said, believing McLean Park would be an ideal venue provided the current hosts lift the bails off.

"I was there in 1995 in their first tournament and I was going to play in this tournament so what can you say," said the veteran who had helped out the Texans this summer.
Findlay was relieved to have got as far as cricket could this summer.

"All the winter codes possibly aren't even going to kick a ball this year."

Central Football Federation CEO Darren Mason says they managed to play a one-off Hawke's Bay secondary schools' futsal tourney but everything else is out now. Photo / file
Central Football Federation CEO Darren Mason says they managed to play a one-off Hawke's Bay secondary schools' futsal tourney but everything else is out now. Photo / file

FOOTBALL

The beautiful game, tentatively, won't kick off until May 2 aligned with some other codes, according to Central Football chief executive Darren Mason.

"There'll be no training until two weeks prior to the starting of the season so that'll be on the 18th of April," said Mason, clarifying that was the recommendation.

New Zealand Football, he said, would be liaising with their federations once a week to discuss issues in an evolving environment.

The community plan for the code would be to try to ensure the season pans out but if it strayed past May 2 then they will look at all their mandates.

The federation had played a one-day Bay secondary schools' futsal tourney on Tuesday but everything else is out now.

"That encompasses everything, really — coaching courses, referee courses, training, futsal or any skills set programmes — so they're all binned for the moment," Mason said.

The national summer league also has been cancelled after 18 weeks. Leaders Auckland City FC, on 37 points, have been declared champions and awarded a place in the OFC Champions League for the 2020-21 season with runners-up Team Wellington.

Thirsty Whale Hawke's Bay United have finished in ninth place in the 10-team premiership.

NETBALL

HB Netball also is aligning itself with the May 2 government postponement protocol but its operation manager, Tina Arlidge, says school trials and trainings will remain the responsibility of the academic institutions because Netball NZ doesn't have any control over them.

That includes all community events, competitions, programmes, tournaments, workshops and player development programmes.

Affiliates have been urged to conduct umpire, official, player and committee meetings online where possible.

"Prior to that we were following the Government's below [numbers] ... so we're following, on a day-to-day [basis], whatever comes through from Sport New Zealand, our national body or the Government," Arlidge said.

The code was expecting to start its season early next month and had a qualifying tourney scheduled for the premier grade Super 8 competition on March 31. The club competitions also were starting early next month.

HB Netball operations manager Tina Arlidge (foreground) says they remain in limbo on whether their representative tournaments will go ahead. Photo / file
HB Netball operations manager Tina Arlidge (foreground) says they remain in limbo on whether their representative tournaments will go ahead. Photo / file

"What we're pretty much doing is delaying the start but hope to have the same number of games," she said, revealing a couple of weekends locked during school holidays in July might be used to absorb games from the delayed start.

"We may also reduce a couple of gradings but in all those plans we'll be trying to stay under the 500 [number]."

Arlidge said they were restricting games to venues, having breaks before rolling out another lot to keep numbers to a manageable level.

"We're kind of having to be a whole lot more innovative and creative in just keeping line with what's coming down from the top, really."

She said the Pettigrew-Green Arena guidelines would dictate to ensure they don't trip on fan and player requirements.

HB Netball have put up posters on the virus and is offering hand sanitisers.

"We've now got six weeks which will be the biggest break we're going to have, ever, with not netball [and] no workshops."

Arlidge said it had come as a shock but they were 100 per cent behind the measures.

"It's definitely not ideal for us but we're just working within the environment."

Netball, she said, was reliant on competitions for income but there were concerns on how they would sustain themselves if the situation dragged out.

Delivering netball was their game and they couldn't do everything via online, she said, realising it would be the same for many other codes.

With the ANZ Premiership played at empty venues, Arlidge said, the amateur zones would feel the trickle-down effect.

"We don't know if our rep tournaments will go ahead."

She said in the past week they met each morning but found the subject matter had been redundant because it had evolved overnight nationally and globally.

HBRFU chief executive Jay Campbell says with the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, impending changes were likely so they would continue to monitor the environment. Photo / file
HBRFU chief executive Jay Campbell says with the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, impending changes were likely so they would continue to monitor the environment. Photo / file

RUGBY

All rugby here has been postponed until Saturday, April 18, in line with the national decree.

However, it does allow for non-contact training to continue.

Hawke's Bay Rugby Union chief executive Jay Campbell said he was involved with union employees Gary Macdonald and Sean Davies to investigate ways to deliver the competitions.

"[The union] will advise these changes once we have time to digest the decision and look at the best options available moving forward," Campbell said in a statement.

He said due to the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, impending changes were likely so they would continue to monitor the environment.

"While I appreciate this is unsettling for many, this difficult decision was made on the advice of the Ministry of Health and is, in our opinion, in the best interests of the players, coaches, managers, referees, fans and volunteers of rugby at all levels of the game," he said.

"The health and well being of all those involved in this great game is always our primary concern."