After a thrilling final day of the 2016-17 Plunket Shield competition, Canterbury have enhanced their standing as the leading First-Class association in New Zealand with their third title in four years. 


 

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.

SeasonWinnerNotes
2016-17Canterbury
2015-16Auckland
2014-15Canterbury
2013-14Canterbury
2012-13Central Districts
2011-12Northern Districts
2010-11Canterbury
2009-10Northern DistrictsPlunket Shield reintroduced; final abolished
2008-09Auckland
2007-08Canterbury
2006-07Northern Districts
2005-06Central Districts
2004-05Auckland
2003-04WellingtonFinal introduced
2002-03Auckland
2001-02Auckland
2000-01WellingtonShell Trophy replaced by State Championship
1999-00Northern DistrictsFinal abolished
1998-99Central Districts
1997-98Canterbury
1996-97Canterbury
1995-96Auckland
1994-95AucklandSemi-finals abolished
1993-94CanterburySemi-finals introduced
1992-93Northern DistrictsFinal introduced
1991-92Central & Northern DistrictsFinished on same points
1990-91Auckland
1989-90Wellington
1988-89Auckland
1987-88Otago
1986-87Central Districts
1985-86Otago
1984-85Wellington
1983-84Canterbury
1982-83Wellington
1981-82Wellington
1980-81Auckland
1979-80Northern Districts
1978-79Otago
1977-78Auckland
1976-77Otago
1975-76Canterbury
1974-75OtagoPlunket Shield replaced by Shell Trophy
1973-74Wellington
1972-73Wellington
1971-72Otago
1970-71Central Districts
1969-70Otago
1968-69Auckland
1967-68Central Districts
1966-67Central Districts
1965-66Wellington
1964-65Canterbury
1963-64Auckland
1962-63Northern Districts
1961-62Wellington
1960-61Wellington
1959-60Canterbury
1958-59Auckland
1957-58Otago
1956-57WellingtonNorthern Districts join
1955-56Canterbury
1954-55Wellington
1953-54Central Districts
1952-53Otago
1951-52Canterbury
1950-51OtagoCentral Districts join
1949-50Wellington
1948-49Canterbury
1947-48Otago
1946-47Auckland
1945-46Canterbury
1940-45-No competition due to World War Two
1939-40Auckland
1938-39Auckland
1937-38Auckland
1936-37Auckland
1935-36Wellington
1934-35Canterbury
1933-34Auckland
1932-33Otago
1931-32Wellington
1930-31Canterbury
1929-30Wellington
1928-29Auckland
1927-28Wellington
1926-27Auckland
1925-26Wellington
1924-25Otago
1923-24Wellington
1922-23Canterbury
1921-22AucklandRound robin competition begins

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 puts 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 thirteen 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.

TeamTitlesLongest Streak (Seasons)Last Title
Auckland234 (1936-1940)2015-16
Canterbury192 (1996-98 & 2013-15)2016-17
Central Districts92 (1966-68)2012-13
Northern Districts82 (1991-93)2011-12
Otago1311987-88
Wellington202 (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.

SeasonWinnerNotes
1906-07CanterburyNew Zealand Cricket Council award Shield to Canterbury; no challenges
1907-08AucklandWon in only match of season
1908-09AucklandDefended through 2 challenges
1909-10AucklandDefended through 3 challenges
1910-11CanterburyAuckland defended against Wellinton, lost to Canterbury
1911-12AucklandCanterbury defended against Otago and Wellington, lost to Auckland
1912-13CanterburyAuckland defended against Wellington, lost to Canterbury who defended against Otago
1913-14CanterburyDefended through 4 challenges
1914-15CanterburyDefended through 4 challenges, including Hawke's Bay's first Shield match
1915-18-No competition due to World War One
1918-19CanterburyDefended through 3 challenges
1919-20AucklandCanterbury defended against Wellington, lost to Auckland who also defended against Wellington
1920-21WellingtonAuckland defended against Hawke's Bay and Canterbury, lost to Wellington; Hawke's Bay's last Shield match