In the Media
New Training Facility at Bay Oval
Many of the visitors to this seasons international encounters at the Bay Oval, would have been intrigued by the big new structure adjacent to the scoreboard under construction. In this edition of Beyond the Bay Oval Lights we chat with Bay Oval General Manager Kelvin Jones, to find out about the new developments at the Bay Oval.
Tell us about the new training facility under construction at the Bay Oval?
The new greenhouse is the first of its kind anywhere in the world. We are essentially building it on behalf of New Zealand Cricket (NZC). It will allow for climate-controlled training all year round, on the grass. The facility has 24 grass training strips, with retractable walls and sides, as well as being fully automated.
The investment and ongoing support from NZ Cricket has allowed us to expand the Bay Oval Turf team. Devon Surrier has joined us. Devon was previously in charge of the Saxton Oval in Nelson, but is a local boy from Whakatane. Kyle Dovey has worked with us for a number of summers and now joins us fulltime, also. The extra knowledge and hands being much appreciated by our turf manager Jared Carter.
Why has the new facility been constructed?
With New Zealand's challenging winter climate, NZ Cricket has looked at a number of options for their teams to train in, predominantly through this period. Over recent years NZ Cricket has used a temporary marquee structure at their training base in Lincoln, near Christchurch. This was also trialed at the Bay Oval last winter. The difficulty with a marquee is that it is fully enclosed the whole time it is in place. Eventually, the grass will die through lack of airflow and light. This will be much easier to manage with the new structure.
It is also much bigger allowing for many more training days. Each of the 24 grass strips has a finite number of days, so we will be constantly preparing and moving to new strips. There will also be the opportunity for local rep teams to make use of the facility.
The facility will make the Bay Oval, New Zealand Cricket’s, North Island training base. This is a logical decision, when you consider the climatic advantages and the ever-growing number of Blackcaps in our region.
Who will run the day-to-day management of the new training facility?
It will be a jointly managed with NZ Cricket. NZ Cricket will be responsible for allocating training bookings and the Bay Oval team will be responsible for the day-to-day preparation and upkeep.
What other developments have taken place at the Bay Oval since the end of last season?
We have continued to grow and develop. Plenty of landscaping work has taken place with new plantings, paths and retaining walls. We are halfway through a new match day toilet facility that we hope to have operational by next summer. In the short term, it will be fully kitted out but requires additional funding for a sewerage pump station.
What developments are planned for the Bay Oval in the immediate future?
Bay Oval Trustees, have identified the most pressing need in the community is for a new indoor training facility. Design work and fundraising is underway, for a five-lane indoor training facility, which is much needed by the cricket community. We are pushing this hard, with the hope of being completed in time for the Women's World Cup in March 2022.
Where do we sit with NZ Cricket with further test matches at the Bay Oval (including day/night tests?)
NZ Cricket allocates matches based on a number of criteria. The success of both the Boxing Day Test and last summer’s International’s, undoubtedly put us high up the list for a test. Without a doubt, the support from the community for these games has played a big part. Whilst we are confident there are more tests in our future, we certainly don't want to take it for granted. As a venue, we need to keep growing and improving to stay near the top in a competitive environment.
Day/ Night test cricket is an interesting one. We certainly have the lights for it but timing is key. It may well be that day time holiday matches are a more attractive option for some, than night time. We would certainly be keen to host one though.
How much pressure do all the international games put on the management team?
We are a small team across the board. Undoubtedly most of the grounds we are up against, are better resourced than we are in terms of numbers. The advantage we have, is some very experienced and hard-working people, that know what's required to get the job done. It never ceases to amaze me what amazing people are attracted to support the Bay Oval, either as paid employees or volunteers. We are extremely fortunate to have them.