As international sporting events and competitions are being cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, Northland's sporting codes are also at risk of postponement or cancellation.

Late yesterday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced gatherings of 500 or more people held outdoors or indoors should be cancelled to slow the spread and reduce the number of people infected.

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This applied to non-essential events including sporting and religious events, but excluded school or university events.

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Ardern said further mass gathering guidelines, to be released later in the week, should give certainty for events like large weddings.

She said gatherings of people under 500 could be allowed "under certain circumstances", such as where close contact can be avoided.

Cricket:

Next week's inaugural two-game series between New Zealand's Māori under-19 and Australian indigenous under-19 cricket teams in Whangārei has been cancelled.

The Australian team was set to fly into New Zealand on Saturday and with games scheduled for Monday and Wednesday next week, New Zealand's self-isolation rules would prohibit the games from being played.

New Zealand Cricket network and participation advisor Andrew Tara said he would wait until there was more clarity regarding coronavirus' impact in New Zealand before rescheduling the series.

In Northland's club cricket competitions, only two rounds of games were left across the region's junior and senior competitions.

Northland Cricket Association general manager Stephen Cunis said if a government announcement prohibited games from being played, they would likely be cancelled rather than postponed.

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Cycling

The annual BDO Tour of Northland cycling event, set to start on Thursday and end on Sunday, has also been cancelled due to the risks surrounding coronavirus.


Triathlon

The annual Bay of Islands Sanitarium Kids Weet-Bix TRYlation, set for March 29, was cancelled in an announcement yesterday. The cancellation was also imposed on triathlons set to be held in Palmerston North, Hibiscus Coast and New Plymouth due to the Government's mass gathering guidelines and Sanitarium's own assessment of the risks to the community.


Rugby:

Northland Rugby Union community rugby manager Clark Lewis confirmed the three senior winter competitions (premier, north zone and south zone) and its under-18 competition would start on March 28 as planned, unless the Government or New Zealand Rugby restrictions were put in place.

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Whangārei was also set to host a Super Rugby match between the Blues and the Jaguares from Argentina on April 18. Given Sanzaar's recent decision to suspend Super Rugby for the foreseeable future, it was likely this fixture could be cancelled.

We might not see Blues cult figure and Kerikeri man Tom Robinson playing in Northland in April after all. Photo / File
We might not see Blues cult figure and Kerikeri man Tom Robinson playing in Northland in April after all. Photo / File

Football:

Northland football development officer Dave Alabaster said things were business as usual but he expected communication from New Zealand Football today concerning club football.

Alabaster confirmed he was preparing for the possibility that the start of club season, set for early April, could be cancelled.


Hockey:

Hockey Northland chief executive Grant McLeod said he was waiting on a government announcement before making any decisions on the future of club hockey.

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McLeod said he had not had any directive from Hockey Northland and the seven senior grades set to start this weekend, which would feature about 650 players, would go ahead as planned.

Northland's premier hockey grades did not start until late April and junior competitions did not start until May. McLeod said he expected anyone who felt sick or unwell to avoid any games.


Rugby League:

Rugby League Northland community manager Phil Marsh confirmed it would be business as usual until a government announcement directed otherwise. Marsh said he hadn't received communications from New Zealand Rugby League about club competition changes due to coronavirus.

The premier competition, contested by six clubs this year, was set to start on April 18. A nines tournament between the six premier clubs, possibly joined by some Auckland clubs, would be held on April 4 in Dargaville.

Northland's junior rugby league programme also started on Sunday at the Otaika Sports Park for local clubs. Marsh confirmed the programme was set to continue for 12 weeks and normally featured about 200 people at the ground.

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School sport:

Northland's school sport could also be affected by a government announcement with the summer tournament week set to start on March 30.

School Sport New Zealand released a statement on Sunday and said it would update schools in relation to mass gatherings and sport events once new information from the Government was available.

According the School Sport New Zealand website, the upcoming tournament week would feature 26 competitions played across the country by about 12,000 students.

In Northland this week, age-group futsal competitions are set to be held at Whangārei's ASB Stadium. Today's under-14 boys and girls competitions had been cancelled due to low numbers.

Tomorrow's under-16 boys competition and Thursday's under-19 boys competition would go ahead, while both girls competitions were cancelled due to low numbers. Friday's mixed competition was set to go ahead.

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Northland Sports Awards:

Event lead organiser Joey Yovich said the annual Northland Sports Awards, which would attract up to 400 people on April 3, would go ahead at this stage, but was dependent on any government announcement on mass gatherings.

Yovich said he could not confirm if the awards would be postponed or cancelled if a government announcement prohibited the 400-person event from taking place.


Northland Horse Trials:

This weekend's Northland Horse Trials at Whangārei's Barge Park was set to go ahead unless a government announcement dictated otherwise.

Eventing Northland president Dion Watts said if the event, which had over 300 entries as of yesterday, exceeded a government announcement regarding mass gatherings, the event committee would make a decision if it would be held.

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In that case, Watts said it would have to financially feasible to run the event.

This weekend's Northland Horse Trials could at risk of cancellation, Northland rider Freya Topper seen here at last year's trials. Photo / File
This weekend's Northland Horse Trials could at risk of cancellation, Northland rider Freya Topper seen here at last year's trials. Photo / File

Maunga Mayhem Mud Run:

This Saturday's Maunga Mayhem Mud Run, a Maungatapere School fundraiser, was also under advisement but going ahead at this stage.

Maunga Mayhem organiser Hayley Taylor said she would keep an eye on any government announcement before a decision was made to cancel the event. As of yesterday, just under 500 people had registered for the event, not including spectators and event staff.

Taylor said if a government announcement prohibited the event taking place, she would prefer to postpone it until September or October as to not clash with the winter sport season.

Taylor confirmed registration money would be refunded if the event was cancelled.

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Rally of Whangārei

Rally of Whangārei media spokesman Lance Hastie said there was sufficient time before the annual rally, set for May 8-10, to make a decision on its future.

Hastie could not comment if the rally would be postponed or cancelled if a government announcement prohibited the event from taking place.

Hastie said New Zealand's two-week self-isolation protocols threw into question the appearance of Australian driver Mike Young, Northern Ireland driver Kris Meeke and a team of engineers from Japan, who were all set to attend the Whangārei rally.


Whangārei District Council sports grounds:

The council confirmed it would be guided by the advice from the Ministry of Health regarding any cancellations of sports events on its grounds.

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