The lines have been drawn in the sand for the glamour piece of silverware in Hawke's Bay premier club men's cricket competition this summer.
Reynard Health Supplies Havelock North CC are the twenty20 top qualifiers for the Murray McKearney Memorial Cup in the third and final format of the Property Brokers-sponsored competition on Sunday next week.
The villagers are straight into the 2pm final at Nelson Park, Napier, while Innovative Electrical Napier Technical Old Boys CC face Heretaunga Building Society Cornwall CC face off in the semifinal as second versus third, respectively, to earn the right to play for the crown from 10am.
Havelock North boast an unblemished record after five rounds, throwing down the gauntlet with 30 points and a whopping +1.762 net run rate.
NTOB are sitting six points adrift on a superior run rate of +0.881 and Cornwall are third on 18 points with a +0.730 serving.
Perhaps the most resounding statistics for the 2018-19 leaders is losing 28 wickets in the campaign to date but claiming 47 and amassing 641 runs and conceding 540.
Juxtapose that with Cornwall's 37/32 wickets and 710/602 runs although the Texans guarded their castle more studiously with 20/39 but their bowlers haemorrhaged more runs than batsmen carved up (586/604).
Whether that is due to the collective energy channelled into the bigger picture, the national club championship looming in Auckland, remains to be seen for the reigning best club in the country, NTOB, but they will want to stay in the running to ensure they are match savvy before the Cornwall CC (Auckland)-hosted playoffs in April.
Ruahine Motors Central Hawke's Bay CC and You Travel Taradale CC were a distant 12 and six points, respectively, while The Station Napier Old Boys' Marist were left without scoring a point in the six-team competition.
NTOB are in the running for their seventh consecutive overall title and, give and take a few permutations, should do achieve that if they clinch two more rounds of the remaining four of the limited-overs MJF Shrimpton Memorial Trophy matches after the T20 is dusted.
"There are 36 points up for grabs and Tech are leading by 17.2 points although Havelock North can win it, too, if they win their remaining four [one-day] games with bonus points," said Hawke's Bay Cricket CEO Craig Findlay, emphasising the limited-overs playoffs also are pending.
In the last round on Friday at Nelson Park, Havelock North beat Cornwall by 43 runs after winning the toss to post 166-5 in 20 overs.
Opening batsman Bradley Schmulian scored 87 runs from 64 balls, including 13 boundaries and a six, while William Clark added 43 from 30 balls.
Graeme McCarter, Jayden Wiggins and Rohan Fendall claimed a wicket each.
The villagers rolled over Cornwall for 123 runs with a ball to spare. McCarter top scored with 38 (29 deliveries) and Bradley Wiggins managed a sedate 30 (36).
Seamer Pete Marffy took 4-21 in 3.5 overs and veteran slow bowler Jared Priest claimed 3-33 while Clark took 1-10 from two overs.
NTOB pipped Taradale by 17 runs after the latter won the toss and chose to bowl, limiting the former to 151-8 in 20 overs.
Openers Matt Edmondson, 53 runs (38) and Christian Leopard 41 (26) laid down the platform.
Taradale first-change pair of Lachlan Gouder (2-23) and Matthew Quinn (2-23) as well as second-change merchant Josh Jones (2-22) did the damage.
In reply, Taradale could only muster 134-9 in their allotted 20 overs with opener Harrison Woolley 67 runs (49) and No 4 Callum Hewetson 44 (42) the batsmen of note.
NTOB bowlers Jayden Lennox (3-14) and Todd Watson (3-21) had Taradale's measure.
In the dead rubber, CHB overwhelmed NOBM by 54 runs on a bolshy total of 172-3 in 20 overs.
Skipper Dominic Thompson, at first drop, was unbeaten on 61 runs from 42 balls while opener Angus Schaw and import Aneurin Norman, at No 5, added 31 runs each at a strike rate of above 145 per cent.
Harry Ghodke, Sam Gallagher and Lucky Singh took a wicket each.
NOBM were well shy of the target with a 118-7 in trying to eclipse the total.
Opener Mahi Ghakai score 38 runs at a strike rate of 131 per cent and first drop Nihal Shilar added 32 runs.
Sam Moore (2-32), Alistair Murdoch (2-13) were the go-to blokes while Norman and Richard Landsdown claimed a scalp each as CHB rotated eight bowlers.