When Kamo Cricket Club president Murray Coop answered the call to help out a premier team struggling with numbers, he didn't think he end up playing a starring role in their two-day match.
Kamo skipper Sam Walker, standing in for the absent Ben Hyde away in Taupo with Northland, won the toss at Kaipara and was soon rewarded by claiming a wicket in the eighth over after taking the new ball himself.
His next captaining decision proved to be a master stroke as he introduced Coop into the attack.
Making his first appearance for two years, Coop wound back the years and clean bowled Mark Dellow. In an unbroken spell of 12 overs, Coop and Richie Macpherson, bowling at the other end, broke the back of the Kaipara innings.
Coop claimed five wickets for 17 runs supported by Macpherson, who took 4 for 12 off 8.1 overs, to have the home team all out for 47 before lunch.
The Kamo openers had four overs to survive to get to the lunch break but unfortunately Ryan Smith was dismissed off the final ball of the session, caught and bowled by Aaron Satler. Kamo limped past Kaipara Flats' 47 to claim first innings points.
Kyron Dill's mammoth spell of 4 for 41 off 17 overs had Kamo in trouble at 50 for 8 but John Lynch (21) and Logan Miller (17 not out) put on an important partnership to take their team's score to 97 and give them a lead of 50.
Kaipara Flat's second innings followed the same lines as their first, with wickets tumbling regularly thanks to Kamo's spinners Sam Walker and Ryan Smith both claiming three wickets apiece. It looked like Kamo could claim an outright victory in the first day until Sean Beamish (19 not out) was joined at the crease by Gitesh Shah (31).
The pair put on a partnership of 47 before Shah was controversially run out off the last ball of the day, leaving Kaipara 87 for 8, with a lead of 37 runs.
In the match between City and Onerahi Central at Cobham Oval, Dwayne Bowden starred with the ball, picking up 6 for 43 off 13 overs after City won the toss and chose to bat on a tired but placid Cobham Oval pitch.
Bowden was too good for the City batsmen and was well supported by Tom Herman, who took 2 for 36.
Virtually all of the top order batsman got starts but failed to capitalise. Marco Annandale showed glimpses of his potential with a patient 27, but no-one could stick around and Chris Page was the last man out on 29 with the team total 138.
In reply, Jordan Antunovich and Craig Russell scored freely, putting on 94 for the first wicket. Gareth Blythe batted to his strengths to compile 45 runs and with 20 from Chris Harrison kept the momentum going.
A late run of wickets saw Onerahi finish the day 195 for 8. Chris Page was rewarded with 5 for 46 from 20. Tim King chipped in 2 for 37 and Marco Annandale rounded off a good day for him with 2 for 33.
Premier cricket returned to the Whangarei Boys' High School ground on Saturday for the first time in many years. Maungakaramea won the toss and had no hesitation in sending Zest Insurance Whangarei Boys' High in to bat on a green-tinged pitch.
Maungakaramea seemed to have made the right decision when Jason Morgan twice found the edge and wicket-keeper Bert Horner completed the dismissals. Mike Harris then bowled left-handed opener, Kashmir Harypursat, for 29.
With the innings in the balance at 52 for 3, a fine partnership of 108 between John Child (69) and Ben Smith (77) gave the school team the initiative. Child hit six fours and two sixes before falling to the Horner-Morgan combination.
Smith and 14-year-old Matthew Lobb added a further 77 before medium-pacer Craig Davie-Martin claimed the school captain lbw. Lobb continued steadily but his tail-end partners were cheaply removed by Davie-Martin. He was the last man out for a valuable 40 taking his side to 268.
After 93 overs of toil in the field, Maungakaramea had a tricky 14 overs to negotiate with the bat. They lost both openers before Dean Child and Bert Horner saw them through to stumps. With their Northland representatives back next week, Maungakaramea will resume on 33 for two wickets.