Northern Knights take on Firebirds

The Northern Knights will clash with the Wellington Firebirds at Bay Oval this week. File photo.

A Plunket Shield match at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui this week will bring the curtain down on an outstanding season of International and Major Association games at the Blake Park ground.

The four-day encounter between the Northern Knights and the Wellington Firebirds at the ND side's alternate home ground, sees the ND team sitting in third place on the standings, just five points clear of the Wellington representatives.

The Bay Oval has garnered a reputation as a ground that rewards batsmen who hit quality scoring shots as well as giving bowlers plenty of opportunity to take wickets.

During the course of the season there has been an avalanche of runs produced at the Bay of Plenty Cricket headquarters.

Wellington Firebirds Stephen Murdock posted the first century of the season at the Bay Oval, when he blasted 109 against the Auckland Aces, in a Plunket Shield encounter during October 2016.

The match was unique, in that with Wellington's home ground unavailable, the Firebirds had home ground advantage. Aces quick bowler Lockie Fergusson grabbed some headlines taking a five wicket bag in the game.

The Northern Knights Plunket Shield match-up with Auckland turned into a run fest in November. Knights batsmen Dean Brownlie top-scored for his team with a sparkling 143, with Western Bay resident Corey Anderson posting 130 runs. However the highest individual score of the match came from the bat of Black Cap master blaster Martin Guptill with 151.

The first International T20 between New Zealand and Bangladesh belonged to Black Cap batsmen Colin Munro, who smashed his way to 101 off just 54 balls. His big knock included seven 4's and seven big shots over the boundary ropes.

Australian batswoman Meg Lamming will have fond memories of the Western Bay of Plenty ground after she posted an unbeaten 104, as Australia retained The Rose Bowl during February. It was Lamming's third three figure score at the Bay Oval, following two centuries against the White Ferns last season.

Plunket Shield March 21-24 @ Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui – 10.30am start each day

Northern Knights v Wellington Firebirds



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Omokoroa Beach Wharf. Photo: Mike Berry. Send us your photos from around the Bay of Plenty. email: photos@thesun.co.nz