Big Bay out


BLACKCAPS v Sri Lanka, Bay Oval @ Mount Maunganui, 5 January 2016

The boutique grounds just keep coming. There was near as dammit a full house at Bay Oval, and it was brilliant. Despite looking a little low toward the end, the pitch yielded almost 600 runs and the pace bowlers were still able to get wickets – that’s pretty good these days innit? The setting is magnificent and the boundaries are a decent size. For a new international ground, the logistics were pretty good, a lack of EFTPOS terminals at the bar to start aside. 

The big crowd stayed ’til the end before wandering off to the bach or the beach happy and full of sun. BOP cricket have built it and the people came. It’ll be chocka for the T20. 

Martin Guptill was in fine touch without really cutting loose, and there were great hands from Kane Williamson and encouragingly, Ross Taylor and Luke Ronchi. The pitch took turn, with Ish Sodhi in particular getting a couple to go very sideways. Sri Lanka possibly missed out by not bringing in an extra specialist spinner.

The speed gun at the ground didn’t seem to be working second innings, but Trent Boult looked fast and dangerous to me, while Matt Henry well deserved his five wickets – he has a knack for getting batsmen to chop on, doesn’t he?

Bay Oval is BYC for Kane and Trent

The BLACKCAPS are very, very committed in the field, with full length dives on the boundary, great leaps in the infield and superb catching,  Williamson, Sodhi, Henry Nicholls and Adam Milne all took theirs very well in a swirling sea breeze late in the day. This was lead by Williamson, with his busy, focused style of captaincy – he played his hand and his bowling changes very well.

A bouquet – the NZ boundary fielders make every effort to get all the youngsters’ (and the occasional adult’s) signature bats signed between balls. It’s heartwarming stuff, those kids will be back.

A brickbat – much work goes into the game presentation, but of your five senses, your ears are entirely hostage to the ground DJ these days. Fans are either having their ears pinned back by music or in a state of stunned silence, with precious little room for chanting or banter inbetween. Seated directly in front of a speaker, as most people seem to be, I tried to conduct a logistics phone conversation with home during the last drinks break with this shit in one ear for the duration – difficult and annoying.

It’s rare to see people engaging with the music at ground in its current format – if we must have music can we have less, at a lower volume please?

Still enjoying the novelty of a beer while watching cricket again.

Author: Richard Irvine

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