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Sports gear up for June start

Dalefield could start their championship defence on June 6. PHOTOS/FILE

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Wairarapa sport could be up and running within a fortnight if the government announces an increase in the numbers allowed for gatherings.

Sports organisations had been planning for groups of up to 100 people, which would have allowed for team trainings to fully get under way, only for the number to be restricted to 10 when Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the move to covid-19 Alert Level 2.

Already sports bodies are anticipating an increase, with most hoping that the limit will be lifted to at least 50, which would permit full team trainings and competitions to start.

Wairarapa United could kick-off their Central League season on June 13.

Capital Football are one of the sports planning for a June 6 kick-off for most grades.

The Central League, in which Wairarapa United play, will start on June 13, with pre-season friendlies to be played on the first weekend of June. The 10 teams will contest a full two-round league, extending the competition into mid-October. United narrowly avoided relegation in the 2019 league.

The Wairarapa United women’s side will kick off their campaign on June 6 with a quarterfinal in the Kelly Cup knockout competition. The eight-team W-League will start the following weekend and will consist of two full rounds. United were second on goal difference to Wellington United Diamonds in 2019.

Capital Division Four, where the Douglas Villa Magpies will play after winning promotion at the end of last season, will remain a 10-team league to be played over two rounds starting on June 6, with one midweek round.

The Wairarapa Local Leagues will remain as divisions of six teams with competition also starting on June 6. The structure of the season is still to be confirmed but will likely be of two or three full rounds followed by a cup competition.

The first weekend in June will also have the start of the Capital Football women’s division one and the under-17 boys’ competition, in which Wairarapa United play.

Douglas Villa have also had teams play in regional age group leagues, but president Cory Burling confirmed the club had withdrawn their regional 12 and 13 year age group teams for this season due to the truncated nature of the competition.

Wellington Hockey are also targeting a June 6 start date for the men’s and women’s premier leagues.

The Dalefield teams are expected to be among the favourites when play does get under way. The men won the title in 2019, earning their third championship in five years, while a young women’s team finished a credible third.

The men’s team started training last week with one session in Wellington and the other at Clareville. Manager Bernie Lett said the 10-person limit made it a bit difficult with him also having to remind players of the social distancing requirements.

The Wairarapa Hockey Local Leagues could also get under way on June 6. Hockey Wairarapa executive officer Kelly Govan said that is dependent on feedback from the clubs and how the competition can work around the requirements under the Level 2 restrictions.

The start date for club rugby is dependent on today’s government announcement.

The format for the Wairarapa-Bush club rugby season will become clear after the Council of Clubs meet on Wednesday night.

Chief executive officer Tony Hargood said the start date was highly dependent on the government announcement.

“The clubs have provided feedback so it will be a case of what works well,” he said.

“There is still a high probability of representative games but these won’t happen until after the club rugby finals are completed.”

Hargood said all the clubs had gone through their return to play protocols.

Netball Wairarapa had previously indicated their competitions are unlikely to start until the start of school term three, after July 20.

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