Bay Oval
Bay Oval
Bay Oval

In the Media


Beyond the Bay Oval Lights - Its a Wrap for the year.

The third and final ODI between the Black Caps and India brings down the curtain on another sensational season of international cricket at the Bay Oval. What an international season it has been, with two heavyweights of world cricket in England and India paying visits to the Western Bay of Plenty international cricket venue.

Back in November, Bay Oval history was made with the historic first test between New Zealand and England, fought out over five days of pulsating cricket. Bay Oval Turf Manager Jared Carter did a superb job in preparing a wicket, that saw a massive 1165 runs and all twenty England wickets fall, during the course of the five days play.

BJ Watling's double century and the Black Caps first innings mammoth score of 615 for the loss of nine wickets, will live in the memory of Kiwi cricket fans well into the future. An added bonus for local fans was the two home grown heroes in Kane Williamson and Trent Boult both in action.

The icing on the cake was the return of the Indian super stars for the T20 International and the final ODI. The third ODI resulted in the Black Caps sweeping India three zip, the first time any international team had achieved the feat in over three decades.

Since the Bay Oval hosted South Africa in 2014, many of the superstars of the game have been on show at the Mount Maunganui international cricket ground. The likes of England's Joe Root and Ben Stokes, along with Virat Kohli and his band of international super stars, gave Bay Oval fans a glimpse of the world best cricket players in the last six months

Few could have imagined the wealth of cricketing talent that would visit the Bay Oval when the first sod was turned on the new ground in March 2005. 

However there would be a few in attendance at this seasons Bay Oval international action, who could cast their memories back over four decades when the first group of world cricket stars came to Tauranga.

On the 8th November 1978, two groups of the best cricket players in the world came to town, with a World Series Cricket (WSC) match played at the Tauranga Domain outer oval in front of present-day Otumoetai Cadets club rooms. 

World Series Cricket was a breakaway professional cricket competition orchestrated by Australian television mogul Kerry Packer. During 1976, after the Australian Cricket Board refused to accept Channel Nine’s bid to gain exclusive television rights to Australian Test matches, Network Nine’s Kerry Packer set up his own series by secretly signing a number of the best players in the world and, in so doing, turned the cricket world on its head.

WSC became a reality because of two main factors - the widespread view that players were not being paid enough money to make a living from cricket and the inability of Packer to secure the exclusive rights to screen Test cricket.

The matches, which ran in direct opposition to the established international cricket matches, changed the face of cricket. The WSC was the start of the professional era as we know it today. One significant change was the introduction of coloured uniforms, which are features of One-Day and Twenty 20 cricket matches of the modern day.

Packer set up WSC by secretly signing such players as the English captain Tony Greig, Australian captain Greg Chappell and the West Indies skipper Clive Lloyd. The three captains were the key to signing the rest of the players. During the years of WSC the teams involved were WSC Australia, WSC World X1 and WSC West Indies.

There is an interesting story about how Tauranga became one of the three New Zealand venues for what was often referred to as the World Series Circus. The Tauranga Netball and Tennis organisations, who were searching for funding for the (then) new pavilion at the Cliff Road courts, approached a professional fundraiser. The fundraiser was also a promoter of the WSC tour of New Zealand and suggested the match as a fundraising venture. This is how the WSC came to what was then one of the country’s smaller cities. The local organisers approached Tauranga Cricket for assistance, which created some problems. With the WSC being in opposition to the New Zealand Cricket Council, restrictions were placed on local cricketers. However, local cricket administrators quietly and unofficially assisted the organisers.

Fifty six-ball overs per side were played, which was another innovation in the days of eight ball overs. The charges of the day make interesting reading: $4.00 for adults and $1.00 for children.

Never before had such a galaxy of world stars appeared in Tauranga. The WSC Australian team featured such household names as Dennis Lillee, Greg Chappell, Ian Chappell, David Hookes and Rod Marsh. Tony Greig led the WSC World X1 with stars such as Barry Richards, Lawrence Rowe, Michael Procter, John Snow and New Zealand’s own superstar Richard Hadlee. 

For the record the World X1 batted first and were dismissed for 178 in the 46th over, with the Australian X1 all out for 94. West Indian Lawrence Rowe, batting at four, was in majestic form, posting 52 runs in 63 minutes. South African opener Barry Richards gave his side a solid start by grabbing 36 runs, while Colin King reached 27 before dismissal. Australian X1 express bowler Dennis Lillee returned the best bowling figures of 3/15, with Kevin Walters and Greg Chappell taking two wickets apiece.

The Australian X1 reply never really got going, with opener Bruce Laird and Ian Chappell both returning to the pavilion with the score on seven. Ian Davis, who was the other opening batsman, stuck around to top score with 30 runs, with Kevin Walters being the only other Australian X1 batsman to reach double figures.

To the delight of the crowd of around 3,000, Richard Hadlee, the sole New Zealand player, did considerable damage with the ball for the World X1. He was immediately in action, being all fire and venom in the first over and taking Bruce Laird’s wicket in his second over. He came back later in the game to remove the last two Australian batsmen, leaving the Australian XI all out for just 94 in the 37th over.

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