Whanganui sporting codes were put into juggling mode late in the week, eagerly awaiting news of alert levels in the wake of the community spread of Covid-19 in Auckland.
With the Government's announcement on any changes to alert levels not until 5.30pm on Friday, teams yesterday were hoping level 2 restrictions would be retained outside Auckland, allowing some fixtures to go ahead although an early call was made to cancel all junior football.
However, senior games could go ahead under level 2, allowing play to continue in the Lotto Central Federation League, Yorb Horizons Premiership, Women's Federation League and Whanganui Roly Taylor Championship.
In anticipation of remaining at level 2, spectators have been excluded at the away fixtures to be played this weekend to meet the 100 person maximum gatherings allowed.
Off the back of a 5-1 thrashing of Isle Construction Massey University in the first home game of the season last weekend, GJ Gardner Homes Whanganui Athletic still lead the Central League with 24 points, 2 points ahead of second-placed Peggy Gordons New Plymouth Rangers.
Athletic are having an outstanding season, losing just one match after nine games played. They now face Levin in yet another away fixture this weekend.
Meanwhile, Versatile Wanganui City lead the Horizons Premiership after beating Japac Homes Hokowhitu 3-0 by default last week. The 3-nil score is the default scoreline under competition rules.
Coach Kelvin Francis said his lads were ticking over smoothly this season and while they led the premiership, it was by only two points.
"We are playing very well, but leading by just two points, it could be by further," Francis said.
They may get the chance to add to their lead this weekend in an away fixture against Massey University Reserves.
GJ Gardner Homes Whanganui Athletic Reserves beat Red Sox Reserves 4-1 last weekend to place them third in the table on 21 points, just four points adrift of City on 25 with Placemakers PNBHS first X1 splitting the pair on 23 points.
Athletic play Hokowhitu at Wembley Park today.
After a points and games won record-breaking 2019 season, Team Ritesh Wanganui Women have slumped to the bottom of the table in the Women's Federation League.
The Matt Calvert-coached side has won only one of the 10 games played this year.
"It hasn't been the best season, but then again we lost a few big characters and big players from last season," Calvert said.
"It has been a challenging season rebuilding with a mix of new fine young players and older, more experienced women. It's all about offering a pathway for the players to become the best they can be and advance on to higher grades.
"For that to happen you need all the support you can get and that's just not happening in many ways this year."
Team Ritesh play Taradale in Taradale on Sunday. Taradale have won three of their 10 games played so far.
The Whanganui Men's hockey team have an important promotion/relegation match against Palmerston North Boys' High School in Palmerston North this weekend. This match will also be played without spectators.
Whanganui suffered an embarrassing 6-nil thrashing by Levin last week.
Player/coach Craig Ritani said he was without a number of key players last week through illness and injury, but he was back to reasonable strength again for this upcoming important clash.
The Manawatu men's premier competition has been split into groups midway through the season and this weekend's match will determine which side plays out the remaining five pool games in Premier A or Premier B.
"I have my best player back from injury and a few new promising young players from Collegiate and Whanganui High School for this weekend's important game," Ritani said.
"It's always good to have fresh new young legs."