Twelve of New Zealand's top association teams contested the illustrious Wisden and Slazenger Cup from the 25th to 27th May. The 2023 edition was held at the Auckland Badminton Stadium (99 Gillies Avenue, Epsom), with all twelve courts in action across the three days of competition.
The pinnacle Inter-association competition will see all twelve teams begin in a qualification round, with the winning teams progressing into the Division 1 Wisden Cup, and the defeated teams, contesting the Division 2 Slazenger Cup. The teams compete in a 12-match round robin format, with five rounds of ties across the three days.
The 2022 Wisden Cup winners, North Harbour 1 will no doubt be looking to defend their title, as they meet newcomers, Nelson in the qualification round.
The 2022 Slazenger Cup winners, Waikato, will challenge for a place in the Wisden Cup, as the face sixth-place Canterbury in their qualification round. View the full qualification draw here.
Members of the New Zealand squad and NZ Junior Team are sprinkled across North Harbour, Auckland, Counties Manukau, Waitakere and Wellington North teams - leaving the stage set for a fierce competition across all the courts!
After a thrilling qualification round, we saw our 12 association teams split into their respective Wisden and Slazenger Cup round robin pools. Auckland 2 vs Counties Manukau was the highlight of the qualification round, with several thrilling matches. Auckland 2 came away with the win 8-4. Otherwise, qualification was a reasonably unsurprising round with the top 6 ranked teams proceeding through to the Wisden Cup.
- North Harbour 1
- Auckland 1
- Auckland 2
- North Harbour 2
- Wellington North
- Counties Manukau
Wisden and Slazenger Cup participants have now been decided and teams carefully plan ahead for their remaining five ties of the competition. Round one in the Wisden Cup produced some amazing performances, with top ranked team North Harbour 1 leading from the front, sweeping Canterbury 12-0 in an outstanding display. In the Slazenger Cup, the tie between Wellington and Otago had an exciting finish with Otago successfully edging out the victory, final score 7-5 to Otago.
- North Harbour 1 def. Canterbury - 12-0
- Auckland 1 def. North Harbour 2 - 8-4
- Auckland 2 lost to Waitakere - 3-9
- Waikato def. Nelson - 8-4
- Wellington North lost to Counties Manukau - 3-9
- Wellington lost to Otago - 5-7
In round two of the Wisden Cup all of the predictable associations came out on top. Auckland 2 vs Canterbury being the closest of all three fixtures with Auckland 2 taking it narrowly 7-5 over Canterbury. Another fantastic performance from North Harbour 1, saw them defeat North Harbour 2, 12-0. Nelson and Counties Manukau both had convincing wins over their opponents, while Otago vs Wellington played a tough tie finishing with Wellington as victors, 7-5.
- Auckland 1 def. Waitakere - 9-3
- Auckland 2 def. Canterbury - 7-5
- North Harbour 1 def. North Harbour 2 - 12-0
- Wellington North def. Otago - 7-5
- Wellington lost to Nelson - 4-8
- Waikato lost to Counties Manukau - 4-8
In the Wisden Cup round three, the two front runners of the competition, North Harbour 1 and Auckland 1 both dominated their opponents, coming away with easy victories. The last fixture however, between North Harbour 2 and Waitakere, proved to be the tie of the competition thus far. With just one game in it, North Harbour 2 were able to take the victory. In the Slazenger Cup, Waikato, Counties Manukau and Wellington North all came away with victories.
- North Harbour 1 def. Auckland 2 - 12-0
- Auckland 2 def. Canterbury - 11-1
- North Harbour 2 def. Waitakere - 6-6
- Waikato def. Wellington - 10-2
- Wellington North def. Nelson - 7-5
- Counties Manukau def. Otago - 8-4
On Saturday morning we saw the penultimate round begin, with teams starting to solidify their positions for gold, silver or bronze. In the Wisden Cup, Auckland 1 and North Harbour 1 both coasted their way into the final round, where they will match up against each other to fight for the gold position. Bronze is still anyone's game with Auckland 2, Waitakere and North Harbour 2 all in contention. In the Slazenger cup, Counties Manukau and Wellington North both secured victories, inching them closer to gold while Waikato and Otago will be fighting for a podium finish.
- North Harbour 2 def. Canterbury - 9-3
- Auckland 1 def. Auckland 2 - 11-1
- North Harbour 1 def. Waitakere - 11-1
- Counties Manukau def. Nelson - 10-2
- Wellington North def. Wellington - 9-3
- Waikato lost to Otago - 6-6
The Wisden and Slazenger Cups for 2023 wrapped up with some thrilling finals. North Harbour 1 performed strongly against Auckland 1 to claim the Wisden Cup, while Waitakere's win over Canterbury gave them a sniff of the bronze medal, however North Harbour 2 managed to hold their nerve to defeat Auckland 2 by one game, claiming third. In the Slazenger Cup, Counties Manukau continued their dominance, securing the title with a convincing win over Wellington. Wellington North and Otago also secured wins, earning themselves silver and bronze respectively. Wellington will now have to fight for survival in an end-of-season playoff against the top division three teams, who will certainly be hungry for promotion.
- Auckland 2 lost to North Harbour 2 - 6-6
- North Harbour 1 def. Auckland 1 - 9-3
- Waitakere def. Canterbury - 8-4
- Wellington lost to Counties Manukau - 2-10
- Waikato lost to Wellington North - 5-7
- Otago def. Nelson - 8-4
Congratulations to the 2023 Wisden Cup winners, North Harbour 1; and Slazenger Cup winners, Counties Manukau.