In the Media


Bay of Plenty cricket fans who caught the Plunket Shield match at the Bay Oval over the Labour weekend break, got to watch a good example of four day cricket at its best.

The first class encounter between the Wellington Firebirds and the Auckland Aces, was unusual in that the Wellington side had a (theoretical) home game advantage. Firebirds manager Glen Pocknall said with the Basin Reserve unavailable they looked at the several North Island first class venues before deciding on the Bay Oval.

“The better weather in the Western Bay of Plenty is likely to produce a result and our accommodation is just a short walk away from the ground”. “The on and off field facilities are of a high standard with the nets giving us options of training on grass or artificial surfaces”.

“We were here for pre-season training two years ago and were well aware of the qualities of the ground. The venue provides all-in-one base for us with everything at close quarters”. 

The match that went four days, was a testament to the Bay Oval wicket, with over a thousand runs scored and 34 wickets taken. On day one the Firebirds won the toss and elected to bowl first.

Led by four wickets from Brent Arnel (4/57) the Aces were removed for 269, with Michael Guptil-Bunce (50) and Jeet Ravel (49) the leading run scorers for the Auckland side.

The match was delicately poised, after Wellington were dismissed for 273 in their first turn at bat, to give the “home” side a four run advantage. Stephen Murdock became just the third major association batsmen to blast a century on the Bay Oval main ground, when he posted 109 off 184 balls. Further Bay Oval history took place during the Wellington first innings, with Aces bowler Lockie Fergusson taking just the second five wicket bag at the Mount Maunganui first-class ground.

Auckland set the Firebirds at target of 275 to win the game, when they were bowled out for 278 in their second innings. Individual honours belonged Rob Nicol (49) with Brent Arnel (4/47) grabbing a second four wicket haul while Jeetan Patel (4/76) also took four wickets.

The Wellington victory was set up by an opening stand of 106 from Luke Woodcock (98) and captain Michael Papps (57). Hamish Marshall in his first game for the Firebirds and Stephen Murdock both reached the thirties, with the Wellington victory coming in the seventy-first over.

Plunket Shield @ Bay Oval 22/25 October 2016 – Result
Auckland Aces 269 (ML Guptil-Bunce 50, DS Hutchinson 48, JA Ravel 47; BJ Arnel 4/57, HK Bennett 3/64, JS Patel 3/79) & 278 (RJ Nicol 49, DJ Grobbelar 40, TS Nethula 39, DS Hutchinson 38; BJ Arnel 4/47 JS Patel 4/76)
Wellington Firebirds 273 (SJ Murdock 109, TA Blundell 42; LH Fergusson 5/44) & 275/4 (LJ Woodcock 98, MHW Papps 57, HJH Marshall 39, SJ Murdock 31)
Result: Wellington won by six wickets




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