As of last week, Mount Maunganui’s Bay Oval is our newest Test ground, and it’s certainly the most ambitious.
Impatient to get international cricket (tick), lights (tick) and now Tests, the only thing left must be a day/night Test, which can’t be far away.
Those drone shots coming in over Blake Park’s southern end, taking in the the oval, light towers and sprawling banks before cruising out to the peninsula, harbour and Mauao with maybe a cruise ship or two are probably the sexiest tourism advertisement for New Zealand since David Lange hit Oxford Union.
Crossing the bridge to the Mount makes you feel like you’re on holiday anyway, and with the option of throwing yourself in the ocean or strolling up to a number of inviting watering holes at close of play, it’s hard to beat as a day out.
Thousands of cricket tragics, families and the barmy army rolled up for all five days in the Bay of Plenty heat. I snuck over on the Monday afternoon for the end and there were thousands there anticipating a famous New Zealand win.
New Zealand is ridiculously well served for Test cricket grounds with Hagley Oval, University Oval and the Basin Reserve (the daddy of them all) jostling for fixtures with Northern Districts’ Bay Oval and Seddon Park (Whanageri would probably do a great job too). Auckland needs to get Western Springs sorted out and get in the game and fast.
You can’t beat a kick-the-jandals-off vibe for Tests. Grass banks let you mooch around where you please - following the sun, catching up with mates or perusing the hot dog options are no hassle.
We’re lucky to have these 'boutique grounds’ developing and pushing each other to get better. If you’re near the Bay of Plenty over the summer, I highly recommend getting to Bay Oval to see it done properly.
Thanks for reading - Richard
The week's best NZ sport content
BJ Watling’s Bay Oval double ton was deeply, deeply pleasurable. Steve Deane sings the praises of our ultimate team man, who modestly tells kids they should be like Brendon McCullum instead [Newsroom]
Ben Stanley has the story of another famous NZ innings, Mark Greatbach’s 146 not, where he defied the Australian attack in Perth over the course of about three weeks [NZ Herald]
Sportsfreak praises the New Zealand selectors, who got it pretty much all right at Bay Oval [Sportsfreak]
Ian Anderson reckons the current crop are our best ever NZ Test team - it’s hard to argue and hopefully there won’t be any doubt at the end of the summer [Stuff]
We need more women on boards - everywhere, but especially in sport where their voices haven’t been properly heard in the past and have a crucial contribution to make [Locker Room]
Argentinian skateboarder Milton Martinez is like the Tony Hawk game in real life. Stick around for the last trick.
Do you think ‘upgrade!’ every time you drop your phone? Here’s an ode to really, really cheap mobiles - or shitphones - that let you get hold of people but not rack up those screen time numbers [Medium]
We’ve been glued to mountain climbing documentaries. Specifically The Dawn Wall, which is on Netflix and Free Solo, which you’ll have to track down. They’re both about El Capitan, the vertical rock face towering over Yosemite National Park in the States. The latter in particular has several soil-yourself moments, as he’s climbing the thing WITHOUT ROPES.
Selected weekend fixtures
The second Test v England starts at 11am today at Seddon Park. Sure, there are no Test championship points up for grabs, but a great chance for a series win over the world *cough* champions *cough*. It’s on SKY
Bring back the gif
When you go out for one and someone suggests leaving after one.
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