When Christian Leopard had asked the umpire for his mark on the batting crease, he had adopted the same mind set as he would have in any other game, any other day in Napier.
However, as the innings progressed for the Innovate Electrical Napier Technical Old Boys (NTOB) opening batsman, he let his mind wander against The Station Napier Old Boys' Marist (NOBM) in the limited-overs format of the Property Brokers Real Estate-sponsored premier men's club competition at Nelson Park, on Saturday.
"I just played a normal innings, to be honest," said Leopard who had spearheaded NTOB to a crushing 289-run victory over NBOM in round eight of the MJF Shrimpton Memorial Cup campaign.
"As I started to get a few out of the middle, I guess, I went with it and just let the runs come," said the 22-year-old right hander who ended up scoring 265 runs, including 19 boundaries and 20 sixes, in facing 125 deliveries of the 50-over clash.
"As I started getting into it I was just seeing the ball, hitting the ball from there."
No doubt, a chuckling Leopard also had started wondering if there was going to be an end to his frenzied feed although carrying his bat through would have been nice.
Veteran Bronson Meehan, who at first drop had contributed 143 runs — from 137 balls including 16 fours and three sixes — suspected the don't-argue 4-509 knock was left speculating if the total might be a world record after he had engineered the Texans to another Twenty20 Murray McKearney Memorial Cup crown — albeit in a nail-biting two-wicket victory over You Travel Taradale CC — the following day at the same venue.
Surfing the internet proved inconclusive with the ESPN cricinfo website offering lower-tier, one-day scores anywhere from the vicinity of none for 721 in 2006-07 in a 40-over affair in India to 3-677 at in South Africa a 50-over one in 2017-18. There's even a 5-630 in 45 overs between United CC v Bay Area in California, United States, in 2006.
The myriad grades are hard to decipher unless entire scoreboards have been linked to the entries, never mind trying to ascertain whether references to school and university teams necessarily mean they weren't good enough to be competing at the premier men's club level.
Besides, what is there to say a tertiary institution competition's standard of cricket isn't better than a premier men's club within a nation, needless to say when juxtaposing them from one country to another.
What is certain is that Leopard has prompted NTOB to summon engravers to update the records on the walls of their clubrooms. The Central Districts Stags contracted player has eclipsed the highest score at that grade — NTOB's former English professional, Paul Whitaker, now back in his country of birth, had scored 249 runs in a two-day affair a few moons ago.
Leopard, who only a fortnight ago had carved up his third century — an unbeaten 113 runs against Marist CC, of Whanganui at Fitzherbert Park, Palmerston, during the CD qualifying tourney to book a place at the national club championship in Auckland in April — is no stranger to double centuries. The former Napier Boys' High School first XI cricketer had scored 218 runs for the NTOB Under-15 side at the annual Riverbend Cricket Camp in Hawke's Bay but the Wellington opposition and which summer escapes him.
He is in his third CD season and isn't in the first-class, Plunket Shield campaign for the Stags against the Northern Districts Knights under way at McLean Park, Napier because of a back injury that is inhibiting his contribution as a bowler.
"A lot of our senior batters are available and I can't bowl," he explained, revealing he batted in the top order in the white-ball formats but in the red-ball one came in at No 7.
On Saturday, Leopard had taken stock in multiples of 50s. At the half-ton mark he was accustomed to a feeling of working his way up to a century.
"From there I just thought I'd hit every ball for a six." Meehan had planted the seed in his mind of trying to overhaul Whitaker's individual premier men's club record when Leopard got to 150.
"We were just talking about getting to all the totals — getting there to 500 — and still batting and being kind of selfish to go as big as we could," said Leopard, who builds farming utensils, such as bale feeders, for Hustler Equipment in Napier.
However, Leopard had lost his wicket in the last ball of the 46th over, having occupied the crease for 181 minutes on a strike rate of 212.
Meehan had followed in 48.1 overs, relishing his occupation of the strip for 169 minutes on an selfless strike rate of 104.38.
The 30-year-old Maraekakaho School teacher had carried that form with an unbeaten 35 runs, including hitting the winning boundary, in the Texans' T20 club victory on Sunday.
Leopard said it was obvious NOBM were deficient in the bowling department and had chucked the ball to their part timers. The likes of Ashish Gurung (18 runs from one over), Findlay Marks (49/2), Liam Gallagher (41/2) bore the brunt of the onslaught although regular left-armer Patrick Muldowney also took some stick with 0-42 from three overs.
To their credit, other NOBM regulars stayed under the 10 an-over-mark although three of them gifted 21 wides and three no-balls to offer a snapshot of the pressure they were under.
"They were definitely down on a few seamers," Leopard said, agreeing he and Meehan had to be mindful they weren't going to slip on a banana skin of because of what part-timers can bring to the bowling crease.
He said all the batting crease time was crucial in the build up towards the Texans trying to create history at the nationals in claiming a three-peat as CD qualifiers.
"No one has ever done that so it'll be exciting," he said, believing it was vital to win key moments in the T20 format after the change from the limited-overs one from this year.
In the other two games, Taradale pipped Reynard Health Supplies Havelock North CC by a wicket at Anderson Park, Hastings, while Heretaunga Building Society Cornwall CC edged out Ruahine Motors Central Hawke's Bay by two wickets.
CD batsman Joshua Clarkson (97 runs), at No 4, and No 6 Dominic Thompson (68) put up for CHB's total of 8-270 while Cornwall openers Cam Crawford (86 runs) but another Stags batsman Bayley Wiggins (55) had forged an ideal platform for No 9 Rohan Fendall to see them through on 61 not out on the final ball to post 8-271 in reply. No 10 Caleb Dresser was not out on 16.