New Zealand has had a domestic first-class cricket
championship since the 1906–07 season. It is currently known as the Plunket Shield
, reintroducing the name used in the early stages for the 2009–10 season.
The competition was instigated in 1906 with the donation of a shield by William Plunket, 5th Baron Plunket
, the Governor-General of New Zealand
. In its early years, the competition was decided by a series of challenge matches between five provincial Cricket Association sides, Auckland, Wellington, Canterbury, Otago and, on just two occasions, Hawke's Bay. The first winner was Canterbury. From the 1921–22 season, these sides (minus Hawke's Bay, which lost first-class status) played each other in a single round-robin series of matches. Two other teams, Central Districts and Northern Districts, entered in the 1950s.
Shell Oil became principal sponsor in 1974–75 and a new trophy was introduced. Games were played over three days during this period, with an over-limit on the first innings. In latter years the format was experimented with, introducing a shorter second round, various bonus points systems, and eventually a knockout final.
The format and the principal sponsor were changed in 2001–02 season. State Insurance (more commonly just called 'State') replaced Shell Oil. The competitions were renamed to reflect the new sponsor's name, so despite the fact that New Zealand does not have... Read More