Nuggets holding out hope

The Otago Nuggets uniform which may or may not be seen next weekend. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED
The Otago Nuggets uniform which may or may not be seen next weekend. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED
There is still some slim hope the Otago Nuggets fixtures against the Southland Sharks will go ahead.

The teams are scheduled to play two games at the Edgar Centre on March 28 and 29. But whether those fixtures happen or not will hinge on the developing coronavirus pandemic.

Sports like rugby, netball, football, cricket and hockey have postponed or cancelled competitions. Basketball New Zealand last night directed its associations to suspend all basketball until further notice.

Basketball Otago had already cancelled all basketball for the next month but the Nuggets are independent.

The franchise is rebuilding following a six year absence. It hopes to rejoin the National Basketball League next year and the games against the Sharks will be a valuable benchmark for the side.

Franchise spokeswoman Angela Ruske felt it was unlikely the games would go ahead.

However, the team was keeping its options open.

"Both teams would love to play, but a final decision is yet to be made on that," she said.

"Given the outbreak in Invercargill and Dunedin, we need to be safe.

"But we’ve left it open at this point because there is no financial risk for any team, so we’re just going to wait and see."

There is also the option of postponing the matches.

The Nuggets’ other big commitment is the National Basketball League’s (NBL) Southern Slam, to be stage in Nelson on the first weekend of April.

However, a decision on whether the NBL will continue as planned is expected soon. If the NBL is postponed or cancelled then most likely the Southern Slam will be called off.

If it goes ahead, the Nuggets will play the Nelson Giants on April 4, and the Wellington Saints on April 5.

"It is important from the point of view we have had so much excitement and interest ... and from a development point of view for young players to get out and compete against some of the best in the country."

The Nuggets have had a new strip designed but the Covid-19 outbreak in China has put its production on the backburner.

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