COVID-19 Update: 9th September 2021

I hope you are all keeping safe and well and that the move to Alert Level 2 has provided some hope for elimination of Covid 19 in the coming weeks or months.

Whilst we appreciate that this will be disappointing news for some of our members, we have reluctantly made the decision to cancel the remaining 2021 winter netball competitions except for SUPER 12 1v2 games of each division and SUPER 8 Top 4 Semis and Finals effective immediately.  This decision has by no means been made lightly, however, we believe it is best to provide certainty to our netball community as soon as possible. This was an extremely difficult decision and is not an easy message to deliver, knowing many players, coaches, managers, officials, and parents will be devastated, along with the HB Netball Staff and Board.

We have based this decision on the following:

• There is still uncertainty as to what the requirements and guidelines are of Delta Level 2. Sport NZ are working closely with the government to confirm what the new requirements mean in the sporting context therefore NNZ is unable to provide us with any further information until those have been confirmed and communicated.

As one of the larger Netball Centres in NZ, the overall welfare and safety of our members is always a priority and unfortunately time is not on our side.

With a minimum one week return to play training/preparation requirement from Netball NZ, it means the timing for any remaining games would need to push out starting dates even further.

• We are aware that we are getting close to a sport transition period where many of you will be preparing for other codes in the coming weeks.

• In consultation with other centres around NZ, majority of them have made the decision to cancel the remaining 2021 competitions.

• We have been advised by some schools that their focus is the health and wellbeing of their students, their academic priorities and adhering the Delta Alert Level 2 guidelines, which means sticking within their own bubbles at school, limiting return to play training opportunities.

• With the uncertainty of when the majority of the country will move to Alert Level 1 and what Delta Alert Level 1 will look like, continuing to delay competitions, we believe, is not in the best interest of the netball community.

• Some of you might be wondering about the results of the survey that was sent a few weeks ago, asking for feedback about competitions. This information was helpful at that point in time, however as time has gone on, along with other feedback we have received directly from schools and clubs, there are a number of them who are not comfortable to continue, given the time delay and other priorities.

To some it may seem unfair that some SUPER 12 and Super 8 games can still go ahead. This decision was based solely on these competitions being able to be played in a controlled venue. There is still work to be done on these competitions to ensure that we are working alongside the Government Delta Level 2 Guidelines. More information will go directly to the Club/School Liaisons.

We are acutely aware that other codes will endeavour to complete their season, but please be mindful of the extremely large numbers within the Hawke’s Bay Netball competitions, which makes this a far more difficult task, with the restrictions to bubble sizes and venues across Hawke’s Bay.

We are grateful that we have been able to complete two rounds of netball this year (in most cases) and hope that you are able to celebrate this also. Ending the majority of our competitions now means the current standings are the final placings for the season. Hawke’s Bay Netball have medals and certificates for the grade winners and certificates and a ball for runners up. We will organise to get these out when it is safe and will be in touch.

Staff will now focus on Summer Netball Leagues and other initiatives and programmes across Hawkes’s Bay to enable more netball to be played before the end of the year.

With over 1014 Teams having competed, and 5695 games scheduled by Hawkes Bay Netball in the last 12 months we would like to thank all Players, Coaches, Managers, Officials, Staff, and Volunteers for your patience, and we look forward to seeing you back out on the courts as soon as it is safe.

Stay safe and look after one another.