Summer Season Schedules Announced
Top quality, free sporting entertainment is coming to Napier, Nelson, Palmerston North and New Plymouth this summer as the Central Stags get ready to defend two of New Zealand's major cricket trophies.
The bulk of the new season’s dates for both the Stags and Central Hinds have just been announced, with the reigning Ford Trophy and first-class Plunket Shield national champions set to open their 2023/24 domestic summer on Labour Weekend (20-23 October) with an away match in Auckland.
However, it’s one of just three away fixtures in the Stags' first-class cricket calendar — with the balance of five matches all at home for the defending champions, due to Wellington’s inability to host a fixture between the teams at the Cello Basin Reserve this busy season.
The Stags’ home fixtures begin at Nelson’s Saxton Oval, scene of the team’s memorable first-class championship title win at the end of last summer; and ends at Napier’s McLean Park, with a trip to Palmerston North in between.
The 10-round, one-day Ford Trophy is meanwhile an even split between home and away fixtures, taking the team to New Plymouth’s Pukekura Park as well as Nelson, Napier and Palmerston North.
The Central Hinds will meanwhile host two Hallyburton Johnstone Shield doubleheader weekends this summer, opening their season in Palmerston North on 18 November.
The Hinds finish their one-day regular season at Pukekura Park in mid-February, with fingers crossed for a berth in the national Final later that month — the top two of the six national teams proceeding to the annual showdown.
The Hinds’ one-day programme is also completely free admission, while details of the Stags' and Hinds’ joint Dream11 Super Smash T20 programme are still to be unveiled, but will slot in as usual over the peak holiday season.
The Viv Stephens Memorial Trophy, currently held by the Central Hinds, will go on the line again in Wellington at the Basin this summer.
The special trophy is up for grabs whenever the Hinds and Wellington Blaze meet for the first time in a Hallyburton Johnstone Shield season, and commemorates the late, Foxton-born first captain of the Hinds in 1979 who, as Viv Sexton, represented both teams, as well as New Zealand's WHITE FERNS.
Entry to all Hallyburton Johnstone Shield, one-day Ford Trophy and Plunket Shield first-class home matches is free admission every game for the Central Districts public, providing a chance to see hometown heroes and international players up-close as they perform in hard-fought matches.