Playoffs still on but closed to the public

Dunedin will still host the Super Smash cricket elimination finals on Thursday but they will be closed to the public.

The women’s game, between the Otago Sparks and the Auckland Hearts, will start at the University Oval at 4.10pm, following the Canterbury-Wellington men’s game at noon.

Otago cricket boss Mike Coggan said two access points would be used at the ground for groups of 100 people to comply with rules under the Red light setting.

"It will effectively be invite only, by the time we get the four teams and some members and sponsors in," Coggan said.

"There won’t be public sales, and it will be a quite low-key event.

"It’s going to be a bit of a logistical challenge but our priority is the safety of those involved."

The Highlanders are set to make an announcement today about their Farmlands Cup pre-season clash with the Crusaders in Weston on February 4.

A crowd is obviously out of the question but there is talk the game will go ahead, possibly with only a corporate tent or two to comply with the gathering limit.

The Crusaders were supposed to play the Hurricanes in Blenheim a week later but that game has been moved to Christchurch.

More sports events have been postponed or cancelled, but many sporting codes are still assessing what they can do under the Red light setting.

The New Zealand Ice Hockey Federation has postponed its Triple Star Camp, which was scheduled to be held in Dunedin on February 11-13 and include a Champions Cup game open to the public.

A federation spokesman said the decision to postpone the camp was unanimous due to health and safety risks, along with the operational challenges of holding the camp under Red settings.

The disruption a positive case would cause within the camp and wider hockey community was one factor considered, he said.

Also called off is the popular annual Spartan 10s rugby tournament in Dunedin that raises funds for charitable causes.

Spartans Rugby Club chairman Michael Dobson said organisers mulled over "every conceivable possibility" for holding the February 19 event.

"Trying to run a tournament with so many restraints was going to be tough already, but is now nigh on impossible.

"It’s a very disappointing decision we had to make. But there was no way of doing it under Red light constraints."

The Spartans had attracted a star-studded team to enter the tournament including former All Blacks Pita Alatini, Luke McAlister, Rico Gear and Kees Meeuws, under the coaching eye of Paul "Ogre" Miller.

Coast to Coast organisers are still investigating options to host part of the annual multisport classic.

The two-day individual and teams races have been cancelled.

However, organisers are exploring the feasibility of continuing with Longest Day and mountain running events as there is a chance they can be held using separate pods.

Otago softball has decided it can hold its annual invitational tournament, to be played at Hancock Park this weekend, under the Red settings.

Vaccine passes will be compulsory for players and spectators, there will be separate bubbles, and masks must be worn.

The National Basketball League is finalising plans for the 3x3 Cup to be played at Stadium Southland on February 10-12.

"Red allows us to play the competition, with no crowd," NBL general manager Huw Beynon said.

"We hope to do so as it’s 24 hours of basketball on Sky Sport, but it will depend on financial implications as well as, of course, the number of cases among staff and players."

The South Island club rowing championships will still be held on Lake Ruataniwha this weekend.

Vaccine passports will be enforced, zones of 100 people will be maintained, and no spectators will be allowed at the venue.

Horse racing will continue throughout the region with vaccine passports required and hospitality pods for 100 people.

There is harness racing at Wyndham (tomorrow) and Invercargill (Saturday) this week, and gallops at Wingatui (February 5) and Ascot Park (February 10.)

-- hayden.meikle@odt.co.nz

 

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