New Zealand’s Ford Trophy final postponed because of Cyclone Gabrielle devastation
A lot of the Stags players are based in Hawke’s Bay and Central Districts chief executive Lance Hamilton said Sunday’s final, which was to be played in Queenstown, was the last thing on players’ minds. No alternative date has been announced yet for the final.
“It’s a player welfare issue, first and foremost,” Hamilton said. “We have multiple players without power and water, who have only the barest of communication capability, and who are concerned for family members and friends. It simply wouldn’t be fair to take them away from their families at this time. We’re deeply saddened to see the devastation the cyclone has caused to our region and our hearts go out to all those impacted.”
Hamilton said that unlike the Stags team, the women’s Central Hinds side had only one plyer from the Hawke’s Bay area and the players were keen to proceed with their Hallyburton Johnstone matches against Canterbury in Christchurch this weekend.
NZC chief executive David White said he supported Central Districts’ position. “Lives have been lost, homes and businesses have been destroyed, large swathes of the region are under water, and a number of people are still missing,” White said. “We had no hesitation in agreeing to CD’s request. Our thoughts are with all the people in the Hawke’s Bay, and elsewhere, who are dealing with the impact of this disaster”.
The first Test between New Zealand and England started as scheduled in Mount Maunganui on Thursday, with the teams paying their respects for the lives lost during Cyclone Gabrielle.