In cricket it sometimes takes only one man's performance to swing a game, and for Northland it was Jacob Cherrington's second innings century.
Cherrington stepped up to give Northland a sniff of winning their third and fourth play-off at the Northern Districts Secondary Schools tournament in Gisborne against Counties Manukau after going into the final day 62 runs behind, smashing 12 fours on his way to 101 and Northland's 60-run victory.
Cherrington was the dominant figure in several handy partnerships on Friday which allowed Northland to declare at 242 for 9, boosted by some late big hitting from Nick Stobart.
Having set Counties 181 for the win, Northland's bowling and fielding was again on the mark, like it had been all week, and never allowed Counties into the contest.
Northland must have saved their best form of the week to last as they reduced Counties to 32 for 5 at one stage, with pace bowlers Max Trimble, Kurtley Watson and Nick Stobart snaring seven wickets between them.
David Armitt and Adam Ogle also managed a wicket each and Eden Crawford contributed with a direct hit run out, Counties eventually being bowled out with 10 overs to spare for 120.
Northland's coach Neal Parlane said he was happy with how his team finished, but would have preferred a stronger showing earlier in the week.
"It's nice to finish on a high but we don't want to gloss over the rest of the week," said Parlane. "It [the start of day two] wasn't looking good, but we knew we had the best bowling attack in the competition so just needed a few batsmen to score some runs."
Parlane said Northland's trouble with scoring runs wasn't a case of lack of ability but rather technique and basic skills.
"A bit of cricket knowledge in terms of batting plans and how to structure an innings [would have helped]. Now that we've got four or five guys in Northland who have been around a bit, hopefully we can help these guys get cricket smart."
The tournament was won by Bay of Plenty Coastlands who earlier in the competition proved too strong for Northland.
Cherrington was Northland's leading scorer with 169 runs, while Kurtley Watson totalled 101. Stobart claimed the most wickets, 13, with Trimble taking 9, Crawford 8, Watson 7 and Armitt 6.