In the Media

Behind The Scenes At The Bay Oval No 3

Over the next couple of weeks, we are chatting to “OUR” people from the Bay of Plenty Cricket community, who greatly assist to make the Bay Oval Internationals a roaring success each summer.

Few teen-age bowlers in the country get the opportunity to bowl in the nets to some of the best international batsmen in the world. In the lead-up to the two Black Cap ODI encounters with India at the Bay Oval, a small group of Western Bay young bowlers have been selected to bowl in the nets to batsmen from both international sides.

The process to select the net bowlers started with a conversation between Bay Oval administrator Jenny Gough and Bay of Plenty Cricket Pathways Manager Tai Bridgman-Raison. Prior to the meeting, both teams have sent a list of the required bowling styles to the Bay Oval office. Contact is made with the potential net bowlers to confirm availability.

The list starts at Year Ten players with selection of the young bowlers, influenced by the value of bowling to some of the best batsmen in international cricket, in the development of the young bowlers in the future.

We talked to Tauranga Boys College Year 12 student Tommaso Pini, prior to going into the nets to bowl to the Indian side on Friday morning. The Bay of Plenty Coastland Junior and Senior secondary player said “essentially our role is to provide warm-up balls to the batsmen in the nets”.

“I have been lucky enough to have bowled in the Bay Oval nets to England, the White Ferns and Australian Women and several teams at last year’s ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup. Early in January we also had the opportunity to bowl to the Black Caps and Sri Lanka”. “The undoubted highlight has been bowling to England captain Joe Root, when they were here last year”.

“We get to meet and talk to some of the world’s best batsmen and it is an outstanding opportunity to further develop my bowling”.

At the other end of the spectrum, longtime Mount Maunganui premier all-rounder Nick Smith, was pressed into action utilizing his left-arm orthodox balls. Nick has been a regular Bay Oval net bowler over the years, having bowled to England, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and the Black Caps.

“The Indian team had a light net session of rotating half-hour intervals and I bowled in tandem with two of the Indian bowlers”. “Bowling to Indian legend MS Dhoni was special experience that I will treasure well into the future”.

“I found the Indian side very welcoming and courteous, with the batsmen complementing me when I bowled good balls”. “The added bonus was several small tips from the Indian bowlers on my left armers”. 

Western Bay of Plenty Net Bowlers
Tommaso Pini   Right-arm medium pace
Ethan O’Donaghue  Leg spin
Banjro Sidhu    Right-arm spin
James Naylor   Right-arm pace
Nick Smith   Left-arm slow
Mitch Fergus   Right-arm pace




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