IN sad news for basketball fans in New Zealand, Australia and Oceania-wide, New Zealand National Basketball League (NZNBL) Women’s competition has unfortunately seen their current season cancelled. The decision was made amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and with Auckland’s restrictions to remain in place for a further two weeks, league officials were forced to announce the cancellation of the remainder of the 2021 season.
The cancellation actually comes mid-season, as proceedings were kicked off in August, with the opening week of action taking place just before Auckland entered lockdown. The league was set for a big season, with the first week of games delivering plenty of exciting contests, but much like other sporting leagues around the world, the safety of the community continues to be the highest priority.
The season’s first seven games were able to be held prior to restrictions coming into place, with each team able to get some action in, and while the season was only postponed at this time, this would evidently be the last time the teams took the court for the year.
The league’s initial schedule would have seen all planned games completed by Christmas, but with the significant delays caused by lockdowns, this looked near impossible. Realistically, players would not have enough time to prepare for and play the remaining games.
Sal’s NBL General Manager Justin Nelson echoed the disappointment felt by the players, staff and fans, who have been starved of action for longer than many other basketball competitions around the globe.
“It’s unfortunate to be in this position, and further highlights why we need adhere to the rules and get vaccination rates up in the hope of no interruptions in 2022.
“I especially feel for the players and the fans and am sorry to them that we can’t continue.
“To have trained and prepared so hard, then played the opening round, to now sitting idle and hoping so much for a positive outcome. It’s frustrating.
“Unfortunately, the wave of emotions and anticipation hasn’t ended as we would have liked. We’ll now look to next year with renewed positivity.”
The league’s remaining competitive events such as the the Schick 3X3 Cup and the Schick 3X3 Christmas Classic are still expected to go ahead, with the former scheduled for early December.
Picture credit: NZNBL