Victory in the Baywide Cup has put Element IMF Otumoetai Cadets on course for another crack at winning the New Zealand Club title.
On Saturday Cadets defeated New World Te Puke by 75 runs in the final at Tauranga Domain to gain the right to represent Bay of Plenty at the Northern Districts playoffs.
Cadets are the only team from Bay of Plenty to win the national title that is played for at the end of every season at Cornwall Park in Auckland.
Cadets captain Jono Boult says making the national finals again has been a goal this season. On Saturday they got the first part of the equation done against Te Puke but not before poor starts to both innings.
Boult won the toss and decided to bat first on their home ground, but when five wickets fell with just 77 on the board, he may have been ruing that decision. It could have been worse but for a staunch knock from opener Ruben Clinton who made 35.
With the top order decimated, captain Boult (29) set about resurrecting the innings with Scott Steward (21). Some late over heroics from Donavan Deeble (29) and wicketkeeper Daniel Maathuis (28) saw Cadets through to a respectable 203 off 50 overs.
"Obviously we were under a bit of pressure early on. Te Puke came out pretty fired up and put us under a lot of pressure, and we weren't able to cope with that," Boult said.
"Me and Steward put on a few, Deeble came out and played his shots which was good and keeper Dan Maathuis hasn't had much batting, but he dug in what was probably a match-winning knock."
Te Puke dominated the early stages of their innings with their two most experienced batsmen in openers Stephen Crossan and Tai Bridgman-Raison flailing the Cadets bowlers around the Domain at nine runs per over.
But with Crossan out at 41 the innings took a spectacular nosedive with wickets falling rapidly to have Te Puke struggling at 52-6. Bridgeman-Raison dug in for a tenacious 28 but despite some late heroics from Gooding (37) the game was over well before the final wicket fell at 127.
The wickets were shared around the Cadets bowlers with Deeble, Steward, Tim Pringle and Sean Davey all taking two each.
Boult was pleased with the way his bowlers came back well after a poor start.
"We didn't really bowl very well, but once we got one of the [openers] out, we knew it opened up an end. It was kind of strange that no one took a bag-full with wickets shared around, but after the first five overs, it was probably the best we have bowled all season.
"With the batting and the bowling we didn't start well, but we finished well."
Baywide Cup Final
Element IMF Cadets 203 (Ruben Clinton 35, Jono Boult 29, Donavan Deeble 29, Daniel Maathuis 28, Scott Steward 21; Brody Gilroy 2/30, Alex Gooding 2/43, Alastair Blackett 2/45, Christian MacDonald 2/51) defeated New World Te Puke 127 (A Gooding 37, Tai Bridgman-Raison 28; S Steward 2/17, T Pringle 2/17, S Davey 2/28, D Deeble 2/33)
Eves Realty Greerton 236 (Tommy Clout 46, Taylor Bettleheim 35, James Boyd 29, Shane Wineti 27; Dale Swan 2/23, Tony Goodin 2/28, Nick Smith 2/51) lost to Carrus Mount Maunganui 238/9 (Daniel Radich 41, N Smith 39, Ben Musgrave 27, Peter Drysdale 26, Chris Atkinson 26; Dion McCall 2/15, Josh Ormrod 2/41, Tom MacRury 2/44)