In the Media
Boxing Day test reward for Bay Oval.
By Peter White
Bay Oval hosted its first cricket test match just 13 months ago.
Now the world class Mount Maunganui venue is the setting for the much anticipated Boxing Day test between the Black Caps and Pakistan beginning on Saturday at 11am.
Bay Oval General Manager Kelvin Jones is delighted the venue has so quickly become one of the highest rated cricket grounds in New Zealand.
“It is certainly beyond anything we hoped for to get a Boxing Day test so soon. We always thought we would make a very good venue with the location being a holiday town but to do it just one year after our first test match is a dream come true,” he says.
“It is great that the powers that be in NZ Cricket have recognised us for what we did a year ago and we have been seen to be worthy of taking the next step of hosting the premier date on the cricket calendar.”
Turf Manager Jared Carter has played a pivotal role in Bay Oval’s success since taking up the role in 2010.
He has been the driving force behind the emergence of one of the best wickets and outfield in international cricket.
And crucially last year he produced a result wicket with a win to New Zealand over England on day five.
Kelvin says they are looking to get a little more pace and bounce for the Boxing Day test than was the case against England.
“With the Plunket Shield games played here we have seen that so we know it is possible. Jared works well with the weather conditions we have and I think it is going to be a really good cricket wicket this time round.”
With the ground’s capacity up to 10,000, spectator comfort and safety is front of mind for match organisers with Bay Oval offering elevated grass banks and a unique picnic atmosphere.
The ongoing tree planting will provide further shelter from the Mount Maunganui sun and more food and water outlets are available than before.
Black Caps captain Kane Williamson and Trent Boult both grew up in Tauranga and will again be crowd favourites, with Papamoa resident Neil Wagner now claiming local status after making his debut for Bay of Plenty last month.
Kane has been part of the Bay Oval story since day one.
In March 2007 he hammered 131 for Bay of Plenty Under-19 verses Waikato Valley in just the second game played at the ground.
Black Cap fans would love to see him do the same to the Pakistan bowlers at some stage during the Boxing Day test.