The Hawke Cup is a cricket competition for New Zealand's District Associations. Apart from 1910/11, 1912/13 and 2000/01 the competition has always been on a challenge basis. To win the Hawke Cup the challengers must beat the holders on the holders' home ground.
Teams from New Zealand's four "main centres", Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin, have not usually competed for the Hawke Cup, although they did participate in the latter half of the 1990s. They were excluded again from the 2000-01 season. From 2000 to 2010 the team from Hamilton, New Zealand's fourth-largest urban area, was the most successful. Since then the title has changed hands numerous times, Manawatu, Hawke's Bay and recently Bay of Plenty being especially prominent. In 2012-13 Hamilton conceded the highest-ever score in the Hawke Cup of 701 against Bay of Plenty. Bay of Plenty defeated Hawke's Bay in the last challenge of the 2015-16 season and resisted all four challenges in 2016-17.
The Plunket Shield, New Zealand's premier cricket competition for its first-class teams, was inaugurated in 1907. In 1910 Lord Hawke donated a challenge cup for competition among the minor associations. The first match, in December 1910, resulted in a victory to Manawatu over Wairarapa. The first holders, decided in the final match of the 1910-11 season, were Southland.
Title holders, 1910-11 to 1999-2000
Note: The title can change hands more than once during a season. In 1927-28, for example, Wanganui took the title from Taranaki in the first match, held it for three matches, then lost it in the fifth match to Manawatu, who retained it in the last match of the season.
|Season||Holders at end of season|
|1985-86||Bay of Plenty|
|1996-97||Bay of Plenty|
From 1985-86 to 1994-95 the competition was called the U-Bix Cup; from 1995-96 to 1997-98 it was the Fuji Xerox Cup; in 1998-99 it was the National District Championship.
Nelson has the record for holding the Cup for the longest period and the most challenges. Between 1958 and 1965 Nelson resisted 28 challenges.
|Season||Challenge Matches||Holders at end of season|
|2000-01||Semi-finals Hamilton v Canterbury Country, Hawke's Bay v Bay of Plenty, Final Hamilton v Hawke's Bay||Hamilton|
|2001-02||Hamilton v North Otago, Hamilton v Hawke's Bay, Hamilton v Northland, Hamilton v Canterbury Country, Hamilton v Manawatu||Manawatu|
|2002-03||Manawatu v Hawke's Bay, Hawke's Bay v Northland, Northland v Canterbury Country||Northland|
|2003-04||Northland v Hamilton, Northland v Mid-Canterbury, Mid-Canterbury v Taranaki||Mid-Canterbury|
|2004-05||Mid-Canterbury v Canterbury Country, Canterbury Country v Nelson, Canterbury Country v Hamilton||Hamilton|
|2005-06||Hamilton v Taranaki, Hamilton v Northland, Hamilton v Southland||Hamilton|
|2006-07||Hamilton v Northland, Hamilton v Canterbury Country, Hamilton v Taranaki||Taranaki|
|2007-08||Taranaki v Canterbury Country, Canterbury Country v Hawke's Bay, Canterbury Country v Hamilton||Hamilton|
|2008-09||Hamilton v Hawke's Bay, Hawke's Bay v Northland, Hawke's Bay v Canterbury Country||Hawke's Bay|
|2009-10||Hawke's Bay v Manawatu, Manawatu v Bay of Plenty, Manawatu v Marlborough, Manawatu v North Otago||North Otago|
|2010-11||North Otago v Otago Country, Otago Country v Marlborough, Marlborough v Hawke's Bay, Marlborough v Hamilton||Hamilton|
|2011-12||Hamilton v Counties Manukau, Hamilton v Wairarapa, Hamilton v Nelson, Hamilton v Southland||Hamilton|
|2012-13||Hamilton v Bay of Plenty, Bay of Plenty v Manawatu, Bay of Plenty v Canterbury Country, Bay of Plenty v South Canterbury||Bay of Plenty|
|2013-14||Bay of Plenty v Hamilton, Bay of Plenty v Manawatu, Manawatu v Canterbury Country, Manawatu v Southland||Manawatu|
|2014-15||Manawatu v Taranaki, Manawatu v Northland, Manawatu v Canterbury Country, Canterbury Country v North Otago||Canterbury Country|
|2015-16||Canterbury Country v Buller, Buller v North Otago, North Otago v Hawke's Bay, Hawke's Bay v Bay of Plenty||Bay of Plenty|
|2016-17||Bay of Plenty v Counties Manukau, Bay of Plenty v Hawke's Bay, Bay of Plenty v Nelson, Bay of Plenty v Southland||Bay of Plenty|
Current players can only play a maximum of 4 Hawke Cup Challenge matches a season, and that is only for members of the team holding the Hawke Cup and defeating every challenger (first defence within their own zone and defeating the winners of the other three zones). Historically there have only been between 2 and 6 Hawke Cup Challenge matches every year for the holders, so it has been difficult for players to build much of a record unless they have been part of a strong team and have had a lengthy career.
Nevertheless, 18 players have scored more than 1000 runs and 8 players have taken more than 90 wickets.
The only current player who has more than 1000 runs is G.G. Robinson of Hamilton. (April 2008)
|Anderson R.W.||Northland & Southland||1970–77||16||31||6||255||1773||70.92|
|Spence D.V.||Hawke's Bay & Nelson||1949–67||34||51||8||151||1574||36.60|
The highest score in the competition is 272 not out, by Charlie Kinzett for Nelson against Marlborough in the 1933-34 season. The best bowling figures in an innings are 10 for 35 by Chester Holland for Wanganui against South Taranaki in 1922-23, the only time a bowler has taken all ten wickets in the Hawke Cup.
There are 4 regional zones in the Hawke Cup.
After a round robin within each zone, the winners of each zone get a Hawke Cup Challenge as part of the challenge series against the current holders on a rotational basis. For example 2010/11 holders North Otago played the winner of their own zone (Otago Country) in the first challenge (or the second place team should they win their own zone) followed by challenges by the winners of zone 3, 2 and 1. The team with the Hawke Cup at the end of the challenge series holds it for the winter. Hawke Cup games are played over 3 days. To win the Hawke Cup a challenger must beat the holder outright or win on the first innings on the holder's home ground.
Team of the Century
In January 2011, to mark 100 years of Hawke Cup cricket, an official "Team of the Century" was named. Selection was based on the player’s outstanding performances in the Hawke Cup and also on their contribution to their district while playing. In batting order:
- Mike Wright (wk) – Bay of Plenty
- Roger Pierce – Nelson
- Robert Anderson – Southland, Northland and Manawatu
- Richard Hoskin – Southland
- Brian Dunning – Northland
- Ian Leggat – Nelson and Hawke's Bay
- Barry Hampton – Nelson
- Dave Spence – Nelson
- Gren Alabaster (captain) – Southland
- Alistar Jordan – Taranaki
- Russell Merrin – North Canterbury
- Norman Gallichan (12th man) – Manawatu
These teams have played in the Hawke Cup in the past:
- The Marlborough Express, 10 October 1910, p. 7.
- "Wairarapa v Manawatu 1910-11". CricketArchive. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
- Martin, Wayne. "Nelson prominent in Hawke Cup top echelon". stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
- Martin, Wayne (21 February 2017). "Nelson hold an esteemed place in annals of Hawke Cup history". Nelson Mail. Retrieved 23 February 2017.
- "Nelson v Marlborough 1933-34". CricketArchive. Retrieved 23 February 2017.
- "Wanganui v South Taranaki 1922-23". CricketArchive. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
- "Hawke Cup Centennial cricket team named". New Zealand Cricket. Retrieved 22 August 2017.