Lockdown disruption to start of New Zealand domestic season

Canterbury celebrate a wicket Getty Images

There will be disruption to the start of the New Zealand domestic season due to the ongoing lockdown in Auckland.

The opening two rounds of matches for men's and women's sides from Auckland and Northern Districts will be delayed due to the current restrictions and the need to allow players adequate time to prepare.

Auckland Aces will need to wait until round three to begin their Plunket Shield season on November 7. Last season's Hallyburton Johnstone finalists Auckland Hearts and defending champions Canterbury Magicians will likewise make delayed starts to their campaigns, that will begin with a doubleheader weekend at Rangiora's Mainpower Oval on November 6 and 7.

"It's certainly been a challenge," Catherine Campbell, the NZC general manager of cricket operations, said. "I'd like to thank all six Major Associations and their teams, along with the CPA, for their assistance and cooperation.

"We've had to adopt a flexible approach to permit players to perform at their best and maximise playing opportunities - whilst of course complying with Government requirements, and ensuring the health and well-being of all participants are protected.

"The schedule has been changing right up to yesterday, and may well change again if Auckland's Level 3 Lockdown continues. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it - we're confident we have room in the schedule to make up matches as desired."

Reigning Plunket Shield champions Canterbury will get the season underway on October 23, hosting Central Stags at Hagley Oval, while at the Basin Reserve, 2019-20 champions the Wellington Firebirds host the Otago Volts.

Central Hinds and Otago Sparks kick-start the women's season on October 30 and 31 at Saxton Oval in what will be the first women's domestic matches to be played in Nelson.

The one-day Ford Trophy season will span November 30 to February 26. The Hallyburton Johnstone Shield Final take place on February 19, while the eighth round of Plunket Shield will begin on March 28 with the option of playing delayed fixtures in April.