‘It’s great these lights are *finally* up,’ said Neil Craig, NZC board member and a driving force behind developing Bay Oval, while being interviewed on the big screen mid way through England’s innings.
The ‘finally’ indicates the ambition for this ground. Competition is getting fierce among the new breed of boutique grounds that includes University Oval, Hagley Park and Saxton Oval (not to mention Queenstown, Whangarei, New Plymouth and arguably the Basin, now it’s been opened up to white ball cricket). But the Bay’s oval has moved fastest to get those all-important lights, and was rewarded with the popular holiday period T20s, along with Napier’s only scheduled international game thrown in.
It’s not hard to see more ODIs against the big guns coming here after 8000 or so punters packed in on a Wednesday night, and day / night Tests were mentioned more than once in conversations on the grass banks. It’s an easy ground for punters to get around and find a spot that suits on the banks, and the food on offer is top class, including sportreview.net.nz-endorsed Tag Burger. The Mount looks bloody fantastic on SKY’s drone shots too.
I’m certain the building won’t stop there either, this ground has built up a serious head of steam. A new stand next?
As for the cricket, it was pretty enjoyable. For England. They fielded like the Kray Twins chasing down a debt, and their batsmen did to us what Ross Taylor and Tom Latham did to them in Hamilton, finding gaps and play it risk-free. It was classy stuff, and this series looks like a tough assignment for both teams, and an intriguing one for the fans.