The final stage for Bay Oval to be a truly world class facility takes place tonight
The Knights host the Auckland Aces in a Burger King Super Smash Twenty20 game that begins a bumper summer of cricket under lights at the Mount Maunganui venue.
The Black Caps are set to play the Windies and Pakistan in Twenty20 internationals then a full 50-over match with England in February. The Oval will be the main host venue for the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup in January and early February with the women's White Ferns rounding out a summer to savour against the West Indies.
The transformation of the Bay Oval in the last three years has been dramatic.
A major step was the opening of the handsome pavilion in January 2014 with an extension to the circular ground banking increasing capacity to more than 10,000. The final piece in the jigsaw was the installation of the state-of-the-art replay screen and lights to enable Bay Oval to compete for matches with the other grounds in New Zealand.
Bay Oval Cricket Trust general manager Kelvin Jones has been at the centre of the whirlwind journey since first class cricket was played next door at Blake Park a decade ago.
"Ultimately the project started for me then when we knew we needed a venue. There are a lot of emotions ahead of the match with a lot of it fatigue. We challenged ourselves to get to this stage, not just with the lights. The ground has been transformed over the last six months to be probably one of the best grounds, if not the best ground, in the country," Jones said.
"So many people have worked so hard and everyone here is just fizzing. It is really exciting and also a little bit of apprehension as you want to see it do well. We are absolutely confident everything will go well and exceed all expectations."
Bay of Plenty Cricket chief executive Chris Rapson, who has also been there from the start of the Bay Oval development, says the new flood lighting at Bay Oval is the first cricket venue in the world to make use of LED technology.
"Those who attend the match on Saturday will witness history in the making. I know all will be impressed with the quality of the lights and the ongoing developments at Bay Oval," he said.
"It will be a great night to be part of the action."
Burger King Super Smash T20, Knights vs Aces
Bay Oval, Saturday 7.10pm, Gates open 6pm
Tickets adults $15, children 5-14 free entry
Dean Brownlie (c), Daniel Flynn, Brett Hampton (Bay of Plenty), Brent Arnel, Peter Bocock, Anton Devcich, Daryl Mitchell (Hamilton), Nick Kelly, Ish Sodhi (Counties Manukau), Ben Laughlin (Australia), Brett Randell, Tim Southee (Northland), Tim Seifert (Waikato Valley).
Night cricket at Bay Oval 2017/18
Burger King Super Smash
December 16 Knights v Aces 7pm
December 27 Knights v Aces 7pm
December 19 — 21 New Zealand Under 19 v Zimbabwe (U19 CWC warm-up matches) 2pm
January 1 Black Caps v West Indies (T20) 7pm
January 3 Black Caps v West Indies (T20) 7pm
January 28 Black Caps v Pakistan (T20) 7pm
February 28 Black Caps v England (ODI) 2pm
ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup
January 13 New Zealand v West Indies 2pm
January 14 India v Australia 2pm
January 16 India v Papua New Guinea 2pm
January 17 West Indies v South Africa 2pm
January 19 India v Zimbabwe 2pm
January 20 New Zealand v South Africa 2pm
February 3 ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup Final 2pm
March 16 White Ferns v West Indies Women (T20) 2pm