Not long after tea Central Districts wicketkeeper Kruger van Wyk abandoned his perch behind the stumps, scurrying to the public toilets near the plam trees at the opposite end of the pavilion at Nelson Park, Napier.
"I was sweating blood and cramping up so at tea time I had to build my fluids," the Stags newcomer told SportToday with a chuckle last night at the end of the penultimate day of the four-day Plunket Shield match.
Slips merchant Mathew Sinclair had donned the gloves as play came to a halt for a few minutes to attend to the call of nature but the umpires and players waited.
"Skippy's an all-round cricketer and he offered to take the gloves but I didn't want him to because I didn't want to lose my place in the team," said van Wyk after he and Doug Bracewell built a record 187-run seventh-wicket partnership as the Stags sat uncomfortably on 66-6.
Bracewell scored 97 runs, including 14 boundaries, while van Wyk, on CD debut, was more circumspect with nine fours in his total that fell five runs shy of a century.
Wellington bowler Andrew Lamb removed both of them for a six-wicket haul as CD amassed 317 runs to set the Firebirds a 405-run target for an outright win.
At stumps, the visitors were 61-1 with six-wicket hero Ben Wheeler claiming the scalp of opener Matthew Bell for nine runs, caught van Wyk.
Wellington resumed today with opener Josh Brodie on 32 runs and No3 Cameron Merchant on 13.
While a little disappointed, both batsmen were happy to sacrifice their personal milestones in a bid to clinch an outright win for the team on the final day today.
When CD resumed their innings in the morning at 35-3, Sinclair and Tim Weston departed cheaply after 13.1 overs and George Worker followed having faced just 15 balls.
Bracewell, whose best score in first-class cricket was an unbeaten 60 against Northern Districts in the opening game in November last year, felt "a little bit of pressure" from his first-innings two-ball duck and the burden of rescuing his team from a potentially embarrassing total.
The 20-year-old Napier Old Boys' Marist allrounder relished his batting experience with van Wyk, who has four first-class tons to his credit - three for the Wizards and one for the Titans in his country of birth, South Africa.
"We kept batting and fighting. It was still doing a little bit off the pitch but we dug in," said Bracewell, a former New Zealand under-19 player.
Van Wyk said skipper Jamie How had impressed in his team talk in the morning about stepping up when things were tough.
"I enjoyed batting with Dougie because he showed patience mixed with strength to be aggressive and that requires maturity.
"We kept working at small targets of 10s and 20s and kept telling each other to keep going," the 30-year-old Central Hawke's Bay/Dannevirke player revealed.
Firebirds wicketkeeper Joe Austin-Smellie, who was rushed to hospital after a Wheeler bouncer cracked his helmet, didn't play yesterday as Neal Parlane again slipped on the gloves.
"Joey came to the ground today but he went back because he wasn't feeling great. He's been here since lunchtime but he's feeling better," Stuart revealed, hoping he won't have to ask the wicketkeeper to bat today.
"Lamby bowled well for us. He got his first first-class five and the boys are very happy for him," he said of their quickest bowler who was nightwatchman yesterday.
He felt the Bay fans should be at the ground today for a cracker final day.