With the Chapple Cup men's representative tournament staged in Napier at the weekend the more cricket-savvy customers were unavailable for the Hawke's Bay premier men's club competition.
Well, everyone bar those who missed the cut and Napier Old Boys' Marist batting maestro Mathew Sinclair who delivered a century for his employers but to no avail.
With the absence of elite players all three 55-over English-style matches had nail-biting finishes at Cornwall Park, Hastings, and Ongaonga.
Cornwall v NTOB
Property Brokers Hawke's Bay senior men's representative coach Lincoln Doull didn't select him but Craig Herrick didn't despair as he claimed his second five-wicket bag this season to spearhead Complete Flooring Napier Technical Old Boys to an outright one-wicket victory.
"With Stevie Smidt away [with Bay reps] and Liam Rukuwai not bowling because of a shoulder injury we constructed our attack around Big Red [Herrick] so he was always going to bowl 16 overs," Tech skipper Morten Freer said, adding Doull had called up Herrick for the Chapple Cup final after an injury in a batsmen-heavy Bay team to defend their title.
Hosts Heretaunga Building Society Cornwall were in the game but fielders pushed to the ropes with 15 runs to get and a wicket in hand was baffling. Pace at the death rather than spin also was questionable.
Cornwall were skittled for 166 in 53.4 overs with Jayden Wiggins scoring 51 runs and Jerome Groots adding 33, including seven fours.
Herrick claimed 5-47 from 16 overs, including three maidens. Andy Thompson (12-1-32-2) and Ruan Markram (15-5-49-1) backed up well.
In reply, Tech compiled a patient 167-9 in the 53rd over with No 5 Rukuwai scoring 37 from 125 balls after Josh Paerau and Markram collected inglorious golden ducks.
Jazz Standen was the other rock, unbeaten on 40 from a defiant 163 balls.
"Liam batted really well but Jazz won the game for us on a slow and low pitch," Freer said, adding Williams hadn't done much in the previous two games as a batsman down the order and a non-bowler.
Cornwall's Liam Dudding emulated Herrick, taking 5-57 from 14 overs, including five maidens.
Veteran Jono Hall was Mr Frugal with 2-36 from 16 overs, including six maidens.
Havelock Nth v NOBM
On the adjacent Cornwall Park wicket, it was another humdinger as NOBM posted 217-5 in their allotted 55 overs on the platform of Sinclair's unbeaten 107, including a dozen fours and a six from 127 balls with Brendon Quinn adding 44.
Stu McVeigh was the pick of the Craft and Hern Havelock North bowlers with 2-36 from 11 overs, including two maidens.
In reply, the villagers eclipsed the total with 221-7 in 50.3 overs, thanks to the collective.
Ben Fair top-scored with 57, including 10 boundaries while James Taylor (36 runs) and Nick Ward (34) kept it ticking over until Jared Priest arrived to add a swashbuckling 40 not out from 44 balls for an outright three-wicket victory.
"We always had the belief to win," said Havelock North player/coach Todd Astill.
However, Astill rued a substandard fielding effort from dropped catches, including Sinclair in the 80s, and letting through a few in the field.
"We gifted them about 40 runs but we thought we could do it if everyone contributed," he said, adding it would be great to see rep players returning this Saturday to step up for their club sides to boost the scoring.
CHB v Taradale
At Forrest Gate Domain, in Ongaonga, hosts Ruahine Motors Ford Central Hawke's Bay had to settle for a winning draw after Taradale CC dug their toes in while chasing 229-8 in 55 overs.
Another player to miss out on Bay selection, Henry Hunter, opened for CHB with 80 runs from 102 balls, including six fours.
Zac Jones backed up with 31 not out.
Teenager Ben Stoyanoff, also missing the Bay boat, took 4-72 from 16 overs, including a maiden, but player/coach Baden Wilton claimed the frugality stakes with 2-43 from 16 overs, including two maidens.
The visitors' stubborn reply of 163-9 in 55 overs was built on the knocks of Luke Kenworthy (38 runs), V. Morris (31) and T. Mpofu (30no).