Runs were scored, wickets fell and catches were taken during a unique Twenty20 cricket tournament at the Rotorua International Stadium at the weekend.
The inaugural Rotorua Little League Cricket T20 tournament was played on a portable, roll out Flicx cricket pitch in the middle of the main field at the stadium and the early evening games were played under lights.
The Year 7 and 8 teams who played in the tournament were the Whakatane Wizards, Taupo Rebels and two John Paul College teams, the Dragons and Thunder.
The four teams played a round robin before the top two, the Wizards and Thunder, played off in the final, which the Wizards won in a nail-biter.
The Thunder batted first and posted 90/2 on the back of a patient 44 runs off 49 balls from Cohen Stewart.
In a well-paced chase by the Wizards, it all came down to the final over, in which they needed to score nine runs to win. Step up Wizards batsman Ben Doogue. He got the over off to a great start with a four and a single, before getting back on strike and sealing the win with a four. Doogue finished the innings on 30 not out.
The Wizards started the tournament well, beating the Rebels and Dragons by 39 and 22 runs respectively. Doogue was the Wizards' top scorer in the first game with 40, while openers Ryan Schwass and Jack Clark set up the second win with a 46-run partnership.
The Thunder were also dominant on day one, beating the Dragons by 48 runs and the Rebels by a whopping 144 runs. Matthew Veitch top scored for the Thunder in both, scoring 36 against the Dragons and 41 retired against the Rebels.
Having lost to both eventual finalists, the Dragons picked up a one-wicket win against the Rebels in their final game, chasing down the target of 64 runs in 16.1 overs.
One of the tournament organisers, Crispian Stewart, said playing at the stadium and under lights created a great atmosphere for the young players.
"Saturday night was great - we had all four teams here and there must've been about 80 parents up there watching. All the parents have said this is such a civilised way to do cricket and in some respects that's part of it, getting the parents involved," Stewart said.
He said the quality of cricket from all the teams involved had been "fantastic".
"These two teams in the final were actually the top two teams last season. Everyone's buzzing - the Whakatane and Taupo teams stayed overnight which is a good contributor to the local economy as well.
"The tournament is probably something we can do more often, maybe later in the year or if we can find a window during the season," he said.