With the sound of leather on willow, the roar of the crowd, and the energetic commentary over the mic—there’s nothing quite like a game of cricket to bring people together.
Here in the Western Bay we are lucky to have an international cricket venue that is a focal point for both cricket lovers and players alike.
The Bay Oval at Blake Park, Mount Maunganui stands today as a premiere venue, ready for its first test match this year. But it has come a long way to make it to this exciting point in history.
What was once unused fields back in 2005 has transformed thanks to big picture thinking, dedication and support. With grass embankments that can seat 10,000 people, state of the art lighting shining down on the oval, and a modern pavilion providing outstanding facilities, the Bay Oval truly makes its mark on the world stage.
TECT Goes into Bat for the Bay Oval
In 2010, the Bay Oval Cricket Trust came to TECT for funding towards the development of the cricket oval and pavilion, with a dream to bring first-class cricket to the region. Plans were made to expand the facility to include public toilets, power, water, changing rooms, players viewing areas and more. TECT went into bat for the Oval with a $1 million grant to help make this happen.
An additional $300,000 donation from TECT in 2014 enabled the Bay Oval Cricket Trust to make some building alterations, embankment extensions, improve screens and the scoreboard. In 2017, a further TECT grant of $1 million went towards the installation of LED lighting; significantly expanding opportunities to host international and televised matches.
Most recently in 2019, TECT funding was sought to upgrade the facility to enhance spectator experience, including the expansion of spectator seating embankments, security fencing, ticketing locations and more. These initiatives will serve to build on the success of Bay Oval, making it an outstanding ground for players, officials and visitors.
Bay Oval General Manager Kelvin Jones says without TECT’s support, the Bay Oval wouldn’t exist in its current state today.
“TECT has been the largest single capital funder of the Bay Oval. The Bay Oval is a great example of what the community can do if it works together—TECT funding has been the catalyst to achieving so much of that.”
Bay of Plenty Cricket administers the largest association of player numbers in New Zealand (over 7,700). While the Bay Oval will be predominantly used for cricket, other sporting codes will have use of the grounds during the off-season.
Milestones Put the Oval on the Map
In the Bay Oval’s relatively short life, there have been many milestones. From hosting its first International in 2014 to lighting the ground and hosting the U19 World Cup under lights, to sell-out crowds watching India play the Blackcaps.
But what really stands out as an accomplishment, Kelvin says, is how the Bay Oval showcases our region.
“There is a great sense of pride that you feel in local residents when images of our beautiful city are beamed out to a massive worldwide audience. The ground then transcends cricket—we are literally helping put Tauranga on the map.”
TECT Trustee Amanda Sutcliffe says the Bay Oval is a significant community asset that TECT has been proud to back over the years.
“The number of international and national games the Bay Oval has secured, and will continue to secure well into the future, provides Tauranga with fantastic international exposure and positive economic impact.
“We are delighted to be a part of that and look forward to seeing what the future holds for the Oval; be that more test matches, concerts or grassroots sports events. The possibilities are endless.”
To learn more about the Bay Oval and to keep up to date with upcoming games, visit https://bayoval.co.nz/.