The start of a festival of cricket

Sideline Sid
Sports correspondent & historian
www.sunlive.co.nz

The start of summer later this week welcomes the start of a festival of cricket at the Bay Oval at Mount Maunganui.

In just over a decade, the Blake Park ground has gone from a wasteland to hosting some of the best cricket players in the world.

The Black Caps have faced the might of South Africa and Sri Lankan players in the last two years, with more to come in the next couple of months.

The smash and bash of Twenty 20 cricket returns to the Bay Oval during December.

Three games in the McDonalds Super Smash will take place, with the mid-afternoon starts and holiday crowds likely to attract good sized crowds through the gate.

T20 cricket is a recent phenomenon in New Zealand, with the NZ Cricket competition first decided in 2007.

The shortened version of the game is perfect for the current generation, who are time poor, with the all-action encounters concluded in three hours.

The SKYCITY Northern Knights have plenty of players from the Bay of Plenty Cricket pathway in their ranks and will square off with the Otago, Auckland and Canterbury over an eleven day period, kicking off on December 18.

Bangladesh pay a visit to the Bay Oval in early January 2017 and will meet the Black Caps in two Twenty 20 internationals.

While Bangladesh is often considered the easy beats of the international game, they have enjoyed a test victory over England recently and can be considered an emerging force in international cricket.

Later in the season the New Zealand White Ferns will take on Australia Woman in one-day action.

Earlier this year the two long-time rivals played out a spectacular three game one-day series for the trans-Tasman trophy known simply as "The Rosebowl".

New Zealand set up the three game title race, winning the first match in a thriller to the wire, before Australia came back to win the last two games and take the trophy back across the ditch.

The series again highlighted the Bay Oval outstanding batting and bowling wicket blocks with plenty of wickets falling and three centuries smashed in the series.

Last weekend, again saw a myriad of runs blasted to the boundary at the Bay Oval, when the Bay of Plenty senior men's team took on Northland in a Fergus Hickey Rosebowl match.

Bay of Plenty, who are the defending Fergus Hickey title holders, dominated day one posting 350 runs.

Tom MacRury blasted 142, to post back to back centuries in the Bay uniform. Not to be outdone, two Northland batsmen got into the high scoring stakes with three figure scores apiece.

The game finished in a draw, when the heavens opened late on day two, with Northland denied the opportunities to take home first innings points.

One of the best virtues of the Bay Oval is the sand base that dries out really quickly after deluges of rain.

In the early days of the Bay Oval, rain turned the ground into a virtual lake during a NZ Cricket T20, but a few hours later the players were able to play on the Mount ground.

Seeya at the Bay Oval

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