John is a senior reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

Black Caps game a time for Bay to shine

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Kelvin Jones, Bay Oval Trust general manager. Photo/file
Kelvin Jones, Bay Oval Trust general manager. Photo/file

Tauranga is heading towards its first ever sellout cricket match for tomorrow's one-day international decider against Sri Lanka at Bay Oval.

"It will be our biggest one-day international without a doubt," Bay Oval Trust chief executive Kelvin Jones said. "This is huge for us. It is a series decider and if we get a sellout crowd it will be the biggest crowd in the series."

Read more: One on one with Black Cap Kane Williamson

Mr Jones said there would be no better way to show New Zealand Cricket and everyone else that Tauranga was crying out for high-class entertainment - and that the oval could provide it.

"We have seen the worst of the weather, so people should be getting their tickets early."

He was sure there would still be gate sales but people should arrive early to make sure they did not miss out.

The untested capacity of the oval was 8500-9000.

Tomorrow's ODI and Thursday's Twenty20 against Sri Lanka will be Bay Oval's third and fourth cricket internationals since the Caps' two ODIs against South Africa in October 2014.

Mr Jones said getting good crowds to games of this calibre was important. Bay Oval had to keep making its case to New Zealand Cricket that Tauranga could deliver high-class events.

"We want to continue to develop the ground, including getting lights, and it is critical to show that there is a lot of interest in the games."

A big range of food stalls including Thai cuisine would be available, along with activities for kids and a Mills Reef tent with a big screen.

"It is about the whole experience. When people see the ground all dressed up, they will be blown away," he said.

Bay of Plenty Cricket chief executive Paul Reid said the two internationals would raise cricket's profile and inspire kids to get involved. Seeing the Bay's Black Caps Kane Williamson, Trent Bolt and Corey Anderson on their home turf would be pretty good.

"We want to make sure it goes really well. The more successful it is, the more chances we will get to secure matches of this sort in the future."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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