Tauranga Boys' College defended their Lone Star T20 Championship title at the weekend in a final dominated by drama.
In spite of being defeated by bottom of the table East Bay United in the last round of the qualifying rounds, Tauranga Boys' retained second place in the title race, when fellow contenders Mount Maunganui and Greerton were eliminated from contention in the final round.
The Tauranga students squared off against Cadets, who finished at the top of the qualifying series. The two Tauranga Boys' openers marched to the wicket full of confidence. However, key batsmen Mark Orchard fell for two, with the score at 3/1. Fellow opener Ben Musgrave took up the challenge and reached 28 before he was bowled by Colin Robb. Gareth Wallace then dug in and when he was caught for 34, the Tauranga Boys' side were in some trouble at 91/7.
Cadets ripped through the opposition tail, with just a further two runs being scored, with Tauranga Boys' forced to defend what looked to be a modest 93 runs.
Morgan Bidois took three wickets for 23 runs, with Viv Kingma and Colin Robb both bowling economically to finish with two wickets apiece.
With a good number of Tauranga Boys' supporters on the sideline, few could have imagined the damage that a foursome of Tauranga Boys' spin bowlers would inflict on the Cadets' batting line-up. Cadets lost their first wicket without a run on the scoreboard and they suffered another blow when Adam Peacock was forced from the field with injury.
Led by Ben Noakes, who grabbed four wickets at a cost of just 16 runs, the Tauranga Boys' bowlers had Cadets on the back foot throughout the encounter. At 26/6 Cadets were in desperate trouble. A rearguard action from No6 batsman Matt Hill, who top scored with 18 not out, wasn't enough as they lost their last four batsmen for 8 runs, to be removed for just 58 and thus handing a joyful Tauranga Boys' College side, what had earlier seemed unlikely back to back Baywide T20 Championships.
In the last preliminary round played in the early afternoon, East Bay United posted their first win of the Baywide T20 competition when they beat Tauranga Boys' College.
The Tauranga Boys side batted first and reached a solid 150/7 with Ben Musgrave top scoring with 38.
An 88-run opening partnership between Alex Yates (55) and Richie Millesen (50) got the Eastern Bay team away to a flyer. However, they still needed 12 runs in the last over and got home with the last ball of the match.
The nail-biter between Cadets and Mount Maunganui resulted in Cadets getting home by a solitary run. Cadets posted 139/4 with Mount Maunganui finishing their turn at bat a run behind Cadets, who went on to contest the championship final. Adam Peacock top scored with an unbeaten 48 for Cadets with Dale Swan in good touch for the Mount to finish with 45 runs.
Te Puke extinguished Greerton's hopes of making the final when they posted 148 and then bowled Greerton out for 124.