Summer starts at Bay Oval
The eyes of the cricket world will again focus on the Bay Oval, with the visits of Bangladesh and South Africa, to the Western Bay of Plenty international ground over the summer.
While there will be worldwide attention when Bangladesh and South Africa continue the very best reputation of the Blake Park international venue - there is much more to the Bay Oval than just international cricket.
Developed from a wasteland of sand and scrub nearly two decades ago, the ground has hosted a variety of community and grassroots cricket events.
Community events have included ‘Christmas in the Park’, the ‘Relay for Life' and is the ongoing hub of the AIMS (Association of Intermediate Schools) Games.
Bay Oval Trustees and Management have fostered grassroots cricket at the ground, since the first WBOPCA B Grade game between Mount Maunganui and Te Puke in March 2007, tested the readiness of the wicket for regular play.
A very big carrot for Western Bay of Plenty grade cricket players, is the chance to play on the Bay Oval, when championship finals take centre stage.
The first for the current season was fought out just before the holiday season break, when fierce rivals Mount Maunganui and Cadets battled, out the WBOPCA Division One and Two T20 championship title.
The two finalists had seen off the challenges of the twin Baaj Sports sides before meeting to decide the twenty-over per side competition.
Over the past half-century, since Cadets and Mount Maunganui first went in battle in the cricket arena, it is unlikely that there have been few more dramatic finishes between the two sides that sit on either side of the harbour bridge.
Mount Maunganui won the toss and batted first, with former Bay of Plenty representative bowler, Andrew Hoogstraten, going on the attack to belt 62 off 45 balls at the top of the order.
Mount skipper, Nathan Walker, played a captain's knock with 37 runs with Daniel Smith also getting to the thirties before being dismissed.
Cadets were set a target of 165 for victory and made a strong start, with Logan Murray (38) and Sam Owen (47), producing a 76 run opening stand. Jamie Coombe kept the momentum going with a hard fought 24 runs batting at five.
Quick work in the field, saw the Mount orchestrate three successive run-outs which swung the momentum back in the favour of the home side. Needing one run to tie the encounter, with three balls remaining in the contest, a fourth run-out sealed Cadets fate with the Tauranga Domain based side stranded on 163.
2023-24 Bay Oval ICC International Games Schedule
29 December 2023 Black Caps v Bangladesh
31 December 2023 Black Caps v Bangladesh
ICC Test Match
4-8 February 2024 Black Caps v South Africa