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30 September 20: Double sporting coup for Hamilton

New Zealand’s first international netball event since the outbreak of COVID-19 will happen in Hamilton.

In October New Zealand’s world champion Silver Ferns will play three tests against Commonwealth Games gold medallists England, at Hamilton’s Claudelands Events Centre.

Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate said she was really pleased to hear the announcement last Friday from Netball New Zealand (NNZ).

“Hosting these international games will be a big boost for the city and the wider region because it’s going to pull people into our city before and after the games. And having more people out and about is great for our hospitality, accommodation and retail sectors who have had a really challenging time this year,” Mayor Southgate said.

“My daughters are huge netball fans and we love going to highly competitive and entertaining international games. Netball has huge support locally and after the difficult year we’ve all had, netball fans will be thrilled to see top-tier games back in our city. It’s going to put the focus back on Hamilton as a top sporting venue and that’s fabulous.”

All three tests will be played at Hamilton’s Claudelands Events Centre on Wednesday 28 October, Friday 30 October, and Sunday 1 November. This will be the seventh time Claudelands Events Centre has hosted the Silver Ferns and organisers are expecting sell-out crowds.

All costs in relation to the England team’s quarantine and tour expenses will be covered by NNZ.

But it’s not just netball fans who should be excited, with New Zealand Cricket announcing their international and Super Smash schedules for the New Zealand 2020-21 summer – with Hamilton’s Seddon Park set to host several top-tier matches.

The BLACKCAPS will host the West Indies at Seddon Park in the first international test from Thursday 3 December to Monday 7 December, followed by the second T20 match against Pakistan on Sunday 20 December. The team is scheduled to return to Hamilton in March 2021 for the final T20 against Bangladesh.

The WHITE FERNS are also looking forward to an exciting summer of international cricket, with the England women’s side confirmed to visit New Zealand in February and March, and discussions ongoing regarding a visit from the Australia women.

While the Government has so far granted approval for the first two incoming teams, New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White was confident the other inbound tours would receive the green light.

“I’m thrilled to be making this announcement today, given the uncertainty and difficulties over the past six or seven months,” he said.

“We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the New Zealand government for helping us navigate this complex process, as we do to our commercial partners and especially Spark Sport and TVNZ, for their patience and understanding.

“Hosting these tours is incredibly important to us for two reasons: international cricket brings in revenue that funds the entire game of cricket in New Zealand and, also, it’s crucial that we look after the fans of the game and sport in general, especially during these difficult times.”

Mr White said NZC was aware of the challenging circumstances in which many New Zealanders had found themselves in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis and would be cutting the price of a GA adult ticket by almost half, to acknowledge this.

“It might sound counter-intuitive to be lowering ticket prices at a time of great additional cost and expense to the game, but we think it’s the right thing to do.”

Seddon Park will also play host to a number of Northern Spirit and Northern Knights home matches in the Super Smash 2020-21 season.

Ticket details for the netball and cricket will be announced soon.