A marathon season of international cricket at the Bay Oval at Mount Maunganui has been recognised with a New Zealand Cricket Turf Management award for the best international short-format pitches in the country.
In 13 years since the first sod was turned on March 1, 2005, on former wasteland at Blake Park, the Bay Oval has been transformed into an international cricket venue that has earned the praise of players, coaches, officials and cricket fans alike.
Last season, Bay Oval turf manager Jared Carter and his team were in match-day mode on numerous occasions as the immaculate oval hosted 15 international short-format matches.
They began with two Under-19 Cricket World Cup warm-up matches preceding the Black Caps-West Indies game in early January, followed by six round-robin Under 19 Cricket World Cup games and the final which all attracted worldwide attention, before the Black Caps squared off against Pakistan and England.
The international encounters were rounded out by two White Ferns matches against the West Indies women.
The pitch of the year awards are based on the information and data collated from the feedback from player surveys, match reports and ICC reports over the 2017-18 cricket season.
"It's a great honour to receive this award, especially as there are so many venues producing top quality pitches around the country," Carter says.
"I am lucky to be part of a great team of staff and volunteers looking after the ground who all share the vision to make the Bay Oval the best venue in the country. Special thanks to David Johnston and Kyle Dovey.
"It's been a massive team effort, not only on the ground, but from [Bay Oval general manager] Kelvin Jones and his team to get the lights and other venue upgrades completed, which has allowed us to have all of these high level matches allocated to the region."
NZ Cricket's general manager grounds and facilities Ian McKendry says the awards recognised the outstanding contributions made by turf management teams responsible for the preparation of cricket surfaces across all New Zealand venues.
"The quality of cricket surfaces is an important part of the development and enjoyment of our players at all levels, from the community game to the high-performance pathways of domestic and international cricket women's and men's competitions," he says.
NZ Cricket 2017-18 Turf Management Awards
International Short-Form Cricket Pitch — Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui
International Long-Form Cricket Pitch — Hagley Park, Christchurch
Domestic Long-Form Cricket Pitch — Eden Park No 2, Auckland
Domestic Short-Form Cricket Pitch — Basin Reserve, Wellington
Club/School Cricket Pitch — St Paul's Collegiate, Hamilton