The Bay Oval at Mount Maunganui will post another first this weekend, when Wellington meet the Auckland Aces in a Plunket Shield match, with the Bay Oval being a "home" game for the Firebirds.

Wellington's move to the Bay of Plenty has been brought about by their usual home venue being unavailable and the wish to play on another major association wicket block.

The match begins today and is set down for four days through to Tuesday with a daily start of 10.30am.

The Plunket Shield is amongst the oldest major sporting trophies in New Zealand. It was presented to the New Zealand cricket Association by the then Governor-General of New Zealand Baron Plunket in 1906.


The Plunket Shield was the first-class championship trophy until the mid 1970s, when it became the Shell Trophy, later to become the State Championship.

The Plunket Shield was reintroduced in the 2009/10 season, with the trophy awarded to the winner of the four-day competition between Auckland, Northern Districts, Central Districts, Wellington, Canterbury and Otago first-class teams.

The Bay Oval will celebrate a significant milestone during the 2016/17 cricket season, with the 80th NZ Cricket Major Association and ICC International match being played at the Mount Maunganui ground.

A Twenty/20 encounter on the December 7, 2007, between Northern Spirit and the Canterbury Magicians, welcomed the return of NZ Cricket Major Association games to Mount Maunganui.

On February 28, 2014, the Bay Oval received temporary ICC ODI status when Canada and The Netherlands played off for seventh place in the Cricket World Cup Q14. The awarding of the temporary ODI status was brought about as both countries held ICC ODI rankings. (Canada 210 lost to The Netherlands 212/2)

The first Women's International took place at the Bay Oval during March 2014, when the New Zealand White Ferns squared off with the West Indies in two T20 international contests.

History was made at the Bay Oval on October 21, 2014 when the Black Caps played South Africa in a one-day international, with the two sides backing up three days later.

While the South African visitors prevailed in both encounters, crowds in their thousands flocked to the Bay Oval in the two weekday matches.

NZ Cricket's use of Bay Oval continued on full throttle in the 2015/16 season, with two Black Cap encounters with Sri Lanka and the White Ferns three game ODI series against Australia.

The match between Wellington and Auckland will be the 75th International or NZC Major Association game played at the Bay Oval in less than nine full seasons.