Sports correspondent & historian
A New Year Test Match, the visit of the Dutch team to engage in T20 combat with the Black Caps, and seven games in the ICC Women's World Cup provide a smorgasbord of international cricket at the Bay Oval this summer.
Test cricket returns to the Western Bay of Plenty international cricket ground, with the Black Caps taking on Bangladesh in a five day encounter that kicks off on the January 1 2022.
The Black Caps will be chasing a third straight win at the Bay Oval in the traditional form of the game, after test match cricket was allocated to the Blake Park in the 2019-20 season.
Who can forget the dramatic finish to the first test at the Bay Oval, where the New Zealand representatives bowled out England in their second dig on day five, to claim an innings and 65 run win
The delights of a Boxing Day test, accompanied the Black Caps second five-day international at the Bay Oval, when Pakistan paid a visit last season. Again the test went to the fifth day with the New Zealand team grabbing a 101 run victory. The undoubted highlight was a home town century, crafted by the Blacks Caps inspirational skipper, Kane Williamson.
In today's time poor world, a proliferation of one-day cricket and twenty-overs per side encounters, has relegated the longer form of first-class cricket in New Zealand to the shadows.
The Bay Oval, recently hosted a Plunket Shield match between Northern Districts and Canterbury that vividly highlighted the twists and turns of the first-class game.
Northern Districts elected to bat and were removed for a relatively modest 187. ND captain Joe Carter, playing at his Western Bay home base top scored with an unbeaten 87, which included bringing up a major milestone of 3000 first class runs.
The momentum firmly swung in favour of Northern Districts when they rolled the visitors for 82. Another Western Bay resident, in Brett Randell, led the ND bowling attack with four wickets at a cost of 32 runs.
A further twist in the match came in Northern Districts second turn at bat when they were bowled out for just 123 runs.
This set Canterbury what looked to be a real uphill battle of requiring 229 runs for victory. Canterbury dug deep into their player resources and got home with two wickets to spare.
The final result showed that four days of scheduled cricket gives batsmen time to regroup after the loss of quick wickets. Bowlers likewise have time to refine their techniques and never say never with the ball in hand.
The other side of the coin, in the delights of one-innings per side cricket, will be on display when the ICC Women's World Cup hits town in March 2022. Mount Maunganui, will attract a worldwide television audience of millions, after being allocated the opening-game of the Women's World Cup on March 4 2022.
A yet to be known qualifier, will meet the White Ferns in the first encounter of the month-long tournament. Women's cricket heavyweights in England, India, South Africa and Australia, will all stop off at the Western Bay ground during the tournament.
Bay Oval cricket patrons will get to make up their own minds about the best form of the game - with a test match, a T20 international and the Women’s World Cup, on display at the Western Bay of Plenty cricket ground during the first three months of 2022.