The final round of the Hawke's Bay premier men's club cricket competition was one of wild contrast as the race for a playoff spot threw up some bizarre scorecards.
After 10 rounds, top qualifiers Innovate Electrical Napier Technical Old Boys (NTOB) will host fourth-placed Reynard Health Supplies Havelock North at Nelson Park, Napier, while Ruahine Motors Central Hawke's Bay will welcome Heretaunga Building Society Cornwall at Forest Gate Domain, Ongaonga, in 11am starts this Saturday.
Three-time national club champions NTOB — in the hunt for a treble in the T20 tourney in Auckland this summer next month — beat CHB by 28 runs in a high-scoring affair of the MJF Shrimpton Memorial 50-over competition at Nelson Park last Saturday.
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Having won the toss, they posted a daunting 9-288 in their allotted overs but CHB fell shy by 28 runs in the chase when they were skittled for 260 runs. Damningly, the latter will reflect on gifting NTOB 19 wides and leaving 16 deliveries in the bank although the Texans had returned 11 wides.
At Cornwall Park, the hosts had CHB padding up before skittling them for a paltry 76 runs in just 28.3 overs. Only No 7 Stu McVeigh got into double figures (14) as everyone else found themselves adding to the docket of a bargain-basement retail outlet with single-figure contributions for CHB.
In reply, Cornwall eclipsed the target with 5-78 in 17.4 overs for a five-wicket victory.
At Taradale Park, the You Travel-sponsored hosts comfortably won by seven wickets over The Station Napier Old Boys' Marist (NOBM) but, agonisingly, missed out on a playoff berth due to an inferior run rate to the villagers.
NOBM won the toss but were skittled for 158 in 41.4 overs in trying to post a decent total.
Taradale didn't waste time, amassing 3-162 in 17.4 overs in the last format of the Property Brokers competitions.
The Texans have won the HBCA Challenge Cup final tally (all three formats) by 18 points over from CHB, giving them an unprecedented eight overall titles in a row.
• Havelock North 76 all out in 28.3 overs (Stu McVeigh 14 runs; Bryce Green 3-21, Cameron Hardy 2-23, Jarod Hughes 2-6) lost to Cornwall 5-78 in 17.4 overs (Cameron Hardy 21no; Jeremy Ketel 3-20, Harry Ghodke 2-33) by 5 wkts.
• NTOB 9-288 in 50 overs (Bronson Meehan 56, Kieran Atkinson 45, Jesse Ryder 43; Brent Tate 2-37, Jacob Smith 2-37) bt CHB 260 all out in 47.2 overs (Angus Schaw 74, Dominic Thompson 41; Kieran Atkinson 4-42, Bronson Meehan 2-51) by 28 runs.
• NOBM 158 all out in 41.4 overs (Joe Collings-Wells 48, Nihal Shilar 62; Josh Jones 5-22) lost to Taradale 3-162 in 17.4 overs (Callum Hewetson 78, Josh Jones 40no) by 7 wkts.
• Final standings of 50-over after rd 10: NTOB 60pts, CHB 54, Cornwall 51, Havelock North 35 (+0.233), Taradale 35 (-0.167), NOBM 25.