The 2017-18 Plunket Shield competition went in to the final day with Central Districts holding a narrow four-point lead over the Wellington Firebirds.
After both sides picked up maximum bowling points, Central were bowled out for 99 – short of any batting bonus – and Wellington would’ve been hoping to haul back those four points with some batting bonuses of their own.
It wasn’t to be as Wellington lost, Central winning the Plunket Shield again after a four year break.
|2009-10||Northern Districts||Plunket Shield reintroduced; final abolished|
|2000-01||Wellington||Shell Trophy replaced by State Championship|
|1999-00||Northern Districts||Final abolished|
|1992-93||Northern Districts||Final introduced|
|1991-92||Central & Northern Districts||Finished on same points|
|1974-75||Otago||Plunket Shield replaced by Shell Trophy|
|1956-57||Wellington||Northern Districts join|
|1950-51||Otago||Central Districts join|
|1940-45||-||No competition due to World War Two|
|1921-22||Auckland||Round robin competition begins|
Although it is the premier cricket trophy in New Zealand today, that wasn’t always the case for the Plunket Shield. From 1974 to 2009, the Shield was replaced with sponsor trophies and changes to the format were experimented with, including finals matches. During this period, the Plunket Shield was twice used as a North v South trophy before finding a home at the New Zealand Cricket Museum until it’s 2009-10 reintroduction.
Since the Plunket Shield became contested through a round robin format in 1921-22, Auckland have taken it home for the winter on 23 occasions. Along the way, they also set a record for defenses through a four-season period of domination in the years prior to World War Two.
While Wellington are next on the list for overall titles, Canterbury’s 2016-17 win put them just one back. Unfortunately for Wellington, they have not held the Shield aloft since the 2003-04 season. At that point, Canterbury were five titles behind them.
Although they’ve gone fourteen years since spilling the sponsor’s product, Wellington’s drought is nothing in comparison to Otago’s. The last man to hold the Plunket Shield aloft in Dunedin was Warren Lees, who captained a team that included Brendon and Nathan McCullum’s father, Stu. Southerners probably take little solace in the fact they’ve finished second six times in the intervening years.
|Team||Titles||Longest Streak (Seasons)||Last Title|
|Canterbury||19||2 (1996-98 & 2013-15)||2016-17|
|Central Districts||10||2 (1966-68)||2017-18|
|Northern Districts||8||2 (1991-93)||2011-12|
|Wellington||20||2 (1960-62 & 1981-83)||2003-04|
Following Lord Plunket’s presentation of a cricket trophy in his name to the New Zealand Cricket Council in 1906, there was much debate about who the first holders should be. The initial intention was to present it to the side with the best record in the previous season. Auckland then proposed the touring Marylebone Cricket Club should chose the winner. In the end, however, a vote was taken among NZCC board members and Canterbury were presented with the trophy.
From that presentation through to the end of the 1920-21 season, the Plunket Shield was a challenge trophy. The holders during this period are detailed below. For more information on the origins and history of the Plunket Shield, read Lord Plunket’s Shield.
|1906-07||Canterbury||New Zealand Cricket Council award Shield to Canterbury; no challenges|
|1907-08||Auckland||Won in only match of season|
|1908-09||Auckland||Defended through 2 challenges|
|1909-10||Auckland||Defended through 3 challenges|
|1910-11||Canterbury||Auckland defended against Wellinton, lost to Canterbury|
|1911-12||Auckland||Canterbury defended against Otago and Wellington, lost to Auckland|
|1912-13||Canterbury||Auckland defended against Wellington, lost to Canterbury who defended against Otago|
|1913-14||Canterbury||Defended through 4 challenges|
|1914-15||Canterbury||Defended through 4 challenges, including Hawke's Bay's first Shield match|
|1915-18||-||No competition due to World War One|
|1918-19||Canterbury||Defended through 3 challenges|
|1919-20||Auckland||Canterbury defended against Wellington, lost to Auckland who also defended against Wellington|
|1920-21||Wellington||Auckland defended against Hawke's Bay and Canterbury, lost to Wellington; Hawke's Bay's last Shield match|