Everything suggests it was a nail-biting finish and, for all sense and purpose, it was.
But it needn't have been for Ruahine Motors Central Hawke's Bay after they bowed out of their Central Districts knockout segment in Palmerston North on Saturday to make the cut for the New Zealand Club Championship in Auckland.
The Colin Schaw-coached CHB lost by an agonising two wickets to New Plymouth Marist United at Manawaroa Park after the Taranaki side eclipsed CHB's 227 all out in 50 overs with 231-8 in the 49th over.
"The difference was we bowled 15 wides and they gave us only four," Schaw lamented as the victors went on yesterday to clinch the final from Levin Old Boys to earn the right to fly the CD flag at the national champs.
Gifting a shade under three overs is a sin at that level of competition and what complicated matters for CHB was Schaw's belief that his troops needed an innings of at least 250 after son Scott Schaw won the toss and padded up.
"I think everyone realised it's a different level from the premier club cricket we play here. It was very much like playing a Chapple Cup (CD one-day competition) match," he said.
Opener Sam McConville scored 85 runs and Hamish Lewis added 45 while Henry Hunter, Scott and Angus Schaw contributed scores in the 20s.
Marist bowlers Jason Barret took 3-44 and brother Sam Barrett chimed in with 3-34.
Openers Dean Robinson (47 runs) and Jason Meuli (42) got the opposition to a great start with a 91-run, first-wicket partnership.
Leith Johnston made 40 and Jarred Cunningham added 36 to hold their nerves as Digby Phllips (3-44) and Angus Schaw (3-37) were CHB's pick of the bowlers in their maiden trip in the quest for national glory.