Bay of Plenty skipper Peter Drysdale had broken his finger during Saturday's second day of the weekend's Hawke Cup challenge in Napier against Hawke's Bay, but didn't want the opposition to know.
But on Sunday, the 27-year-old's smile camouflaged any pain he might have harboured as he clasped the symbol of minor association cricket supremacy for a celebratory photograph with his elated men after a six-wicket victory at Nelson Park.
"We came down here with one goal, as every challenger does, and that is to take the cup back but that doesn't always happen because it's always a massive team thing," Drysdale said.
"Whatever happens within that - personal failure, personal success or injury - is all part and parcel of that so unfortunately I didn't have to bat today or field so I'm lucky it's not too sore apart from being broken," he said.
The silverware left for the Bay and it'll take some time for the Pay Excellence Hawke's Bay team to erase that feeling of emptiness but, suffice it to say, it was a splendid summer for a predominantly young group of men under coach Colin Schaw and captain Jacob Smith.
Drysdale said it was a great toss to win on Friday and felt, overall, they had the better of the conditions.
Smith revealed he would have bowled had the toss favoured him.
On reflection, the BOP skipper said the partnership between unwanted ND Knights player Jono Boult (94 runs) and No9 Campbell Thomas (45) to stop the rot that had set in on day one with the loss of 15 wickets.
"They took it away in our favour and that put time pressure on Hawke's Bay because with a bit more time they would have had a better chance because it wasn't beyond Hawke's Bay today," he said, after the hosts lost first-innings points on Saturday when BOP were 318 all out at tea in a defiant stance.
A grinning Drysdale, who had dropped to No9 from No1 because of his broken finger, said losing their opening batsman, Tim McRury, for a two-ball duck was a "nightmare start".
"That's the sort of thing that gets the opposition up and it was a great catch and it was really well read for Jake [captain Smith] to have a man at leg gully or leg slip," he said.
But it was a false dawn for the holders in their first defence since taking the cup off North Otago in Oamaru a fortnight ago, after they declared at 361-5 in 60 overs.
No4 Graeme Tryon's unbeaten 143 runs was too little, too late but a promising sign of things to come from the side.
Smith felt BOP brought a strong side down, but his men would grow from the loss and experience to, hopefully, bounce back next summer with a win again.
Drysdale and coach Graeme Aldridge had complete faith in their troops, mindful they had to ensure the pressure didn't get to them in the run chase.
Boult, felt Aldridge, was "hard done by and pigeon-holed a little bit "when it came to first-class cricket for ND.
"He's shown maturity. I know he's got it and he knows he has but to come out under pressure and do it for us is phenomenal on day one and two with the bonus for us."
He said the challenge was now to hold on to the cup, which meant a lot to them.