St John's College First XI cricket team have etched their name for the first time on the senior men's silverware since it was up for grabs in 2006.
The high school from Hastings shocked favourites Napier Boys High School First XI in the final of the Stephen Hill Motors-sponsored division one competition at Nelson Park, Napier, on Saturday.
The Patrick Muldowney-captained St John's side pipped NBHS by two wickets in a low-scoring affair of the 45-over match on pitch one.
"This is our first [season] in division one in about six years so the win is just amazing, really," said Muldowney last night, after taking a few minutes out of his after-school job at a burger takeaway joint in Napier.
Incidentally it was the first time in 12 years that St John's had ever beaten NBHS.
It was a fitting farewell for the St John's coach, Dave McNatty, who had remained at the helm for six years despite his two sons leaving the school.
"He was stoked because it was his last game," said Muldowney, lauding McNatty for his endless hours, passion and dedication to the schoolboys.
To put the favouritism in perspective, NBHS had skittled St John's for a paltry 32 three weeks ago at Nelson Park pitch No 2.
"Napier Boys were over-confident and we just came in quite relaxed so we just played our game and did pretty well," said the 17-year-old Year 13 pupil.
He didn't think the NBHS bowlers were moving the ball that much but felt the greenish top had caught both sides on the hop a little.
Muldowney said his teammates were oozing with confidence after an emphatic victory over Hastings Boys High School two weekends ago at the latter's schoolgrounds in a rain-interrupted match.
But HBHS, the Gillette Cup winners, had knocked St John's out in the first round of the cup competition.
He felt the team in the senior men's grade last summer perhaps lacked a little motivation but this season they had adopted a never-say-die mentality every game, regardless of who the opposition were.
"We trusted our own game and kept it positive."
Muldowney said St John's couldn't really believe they had made even the semifinals.
"We didn't even have an amazing year. We had like four wins and six losses. We then managed to make the semifinals, won that and then the final.
"That we were underdogs is just really an understatement."
Four of the schoolboys will not return next year — Muldowney, opening batsman/wicketkeeper Reilly Hannan, right-arm medium pacer Keegan Milne and middle-order batsman Kadin Newport — but Muldowney felt St John's First XI should be "fairly strong" next summer.
"I think they'll just have to improve on their batting, but bowling-wise they'll still be very strong," he said, adding opening batsman Tom Cavaney would need some support.
Muldowney had won the toss and elected to bat as NBHS were skittled for 100 runs on the foundation of opener Logan Trower's match-high 25 runs.
Only No 6 Seth Taylor and wicketkeeper John Rawnsley managed to creep into double figures, 13 and 11, respectively.
Muldowney, Ethan Madden and Lachlan Gouder were the pick of the bowlers with three scalps each.
"We actually started with a dropped catch on Logan Trower on the end of the last ball of my first over but after that the fielding was really good."
In reply, St John's eclipsed the modest total for 101 in 30.5 overs with Cavaney (23 runs) and Hannan (22) providing a stable platform. No 5 Madden bolstered that with 17 runs.
Both sides were guilty of gifting each other wides — NBHS 17 and St John's 11.
Liam Hall (19-4), Mitchell Williams-North (23-3) and Brayden Hill (7-1) were the pick of NBHS bowlers.
The St John's boys had a moving presentation ceremony at their school assembly yesterday.
"Everyone was just amazed at how far we have come over the past couple of weeks and to be a champion in the first year is just crazy," said Muldowney.