Following on from Monday’s Government announcement re Auckland’s Alert Levels, we have spent this week reviewing our options for Interclub play which is due to start next Saturday (13 November) for Juniors and Seniors, and the following Monday/Tuesday (15 & 16 November) for Midweek.
You might recall that our plan has always been to start play when gatherings of 50 people are allowed and Club Houses are fully open. This is at Alert Level 3, Step 3 at present. The current plan is for Auckland to move to Alert Level 3, Step 2 next week, which allows outdoor gatherings of up to 25 people. Current advice from Sport NZ is that Club Houses will be shut (with access for workers only), so won’t be available for players and a number of restrictions remain in place regarding equipment sharing (including tennis balls). A link to the Tennis NZ Guidelines follows: https://tennis.kiwi/assets/Covid/Level-3-STEP-1-2-3-Tennis-Activity-During-Covid-19-Alert-Level-Guidelines-3-11-21.pdf.
Tennis Auckland’s view is that Level 3, Step 2 is not conducive to Interclub play. The gathering limits applying to each venue, Club House closure, and border restrictions are unworkable for Interclub. We are also mindful that starting any Competitions before Christmas may result in us running Interclub under two systems - the current Alert Level and new Traffic Light framework, which is impractical (particularly with the vaccine mandates that may come with the Traffic Light system). Therefore, we have made the decision to CANCEL ALL PRE-XMAS INTERCLUB PLAY. The Competitions affected are:
- Pre-Xmas Junior Interclub – CANCELLED. (Post-Xmas Junior Interclub is scheduled to start 12 February 2022)
- Midweek Lead-in Interclub – CANCELLED. (Summer Midweek Interclub is scheduled to start 14 February 2022)
- Senior Interclub – POSTPONED. A short-format Competition is scheduled to start 12 February 2022
- Twilight Interclub – POSTPONED. A short-format Competition is likely to run over February and March 2022.
- SCARBRO Caro Bowl – POSTPONED. We are working on new dates for this Competition at the moment.
We hope that by February of next year, the proposed Traffic Light system will be in place and we will have a clear framework on how we can run the above Competitions safely. This also gives Sporting Bodies and Clubs more time to prepare and implement vaccination policies, so that all participants know what is required for Interclub.
We will email Senior Interclub Controllers next week asking for feedback on possible formats for the Senior Interclub Competition starting in February. Post-Xmas Junior and Midweek team entries will open in a few weeks, so keep a look out for those emails. We’ll also keep in touch regarding Twilight and Caro Bowl when we make decisions on the new dates.
These are unprecedented times and this is not a decision we came to lightly. We appreciate that many people are very keen to get back on court, and hope that players will continue to enjoy Club play until we get back into Competitive tennis next year.