Sandra is a senior crimes and justice reporter for the Bay of Plenty Times.

Scene set as Bay ready to cash in on pitch-perfect venue

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Spectators at the New Zealand Black Caps v South Africa game played at the Bay Oval in 2014.
Spectators at the New Zealand Black Caps v South Africa game played at the Bay Oval in 2014.

Today's Black Caps One Day International decider against Sri Lanka is shaping up to be Tauranga's biggest "without a doubt", according to Bay Oval Trust chief executive Kelvin Jones.

Mr Jones said ticket sales were going well, with more than two thirds sold, and lots of last minute requests, which was encouraging.

"If we don't get a sell-out crowd, I'm sure we will be close to it. Traditionally we get a big walk up crowd and lots of pre-sales at the last minute, so we expect to be close to capacity."

Mr Jones said there would be some gate sales, but people needed to arrive early so as not to miss out.

The untested capacity for the oval was 8500 to 9000, he said

"The pitch was ready three days ago and looks perfect. I think there should be plenty of runs in it for sure, so there can be no excuses from the players."

Mr Jones said the weather forecast was also for fine weather which came as a "huge relief".

The gates opened at 9.30am and the match started at 11am, with seven-and-half hours of "awesome cricket" ahead if the decider lasted that long, he said.

Mr Jones said there would also be plenty of off-field entertainment and activities, too.

That included a two-person band, the Mills Reef tent area with a big screen and a NZ Post area with plenty fun activities for the kids, including a big bouncy castle and "Have a Go" cricket. A big range of food stalls, including Thai cuisine would also be available.

Mr Jones said the aim was to create a "fun, family-friendly, carnival-like atmosphere".

From an international and national perspective, with Sky TV broadcasting and a large viewing audience expected for the match, the exposure for Tauranga and Bay of Plenty cricket would be "huge".

"Apart from an All Blacks game, this is the next biggest thing to profile the region on the international stage," he said.

The ANZ ODI series title decider would showcase the skills of some of the world's best cricket players. On Thursday, the two teams would again compete at the ground in a T20 international contest.

It is not only the chance to see the Bay's own superstars Kane Williamson and Trent Boult in action on home turf but could be the last chance to see Brendon McCullum walk out on to the headquarters of Bay of Plenty Cricket, Mr Jones said.

Food, drink, and seating items allowed into the venue:

* Non-alcoholic beverages in sealed plastic bottles up to 1 litres.

* Small amounts of non-commercial food such as sandwiches, fruit, potato chips, crackers, biscuits and cakes.

* Empty plastic water bottles (also up to 1 litre ) to be filled using water provided by the venue

* Soft-sided chilly bins

* Low fan chairs no more than 20cm in height

* Full-sized collapsible deckchairs in some areas on a first-come, first-served basis.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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