Horowhenua-Kāpiti cricket captain Matthew Good has bowed out of representative cricket in a blaze of glory.
The 27-year-old announced his decision to retire from representative cricket not long after a sublime innings of 172 that guided his team to a first innings win against Wanganui at the weekend.
Good was staring down the record for the highest-ever score by an HK Bears batsman - 201 - when he was trapped in front lbw by Manawatū bowler Ben Smith in the third ball after the lunch break.
Incredibly, he had family in England that were watching the Furlong Cup match, beamed live from Donnelly Park in Levin via the internet.
In fact, his father Richard was able to message words of encouragement from the other side of the world.
"He told me to carry on with it ... three balls after lunch I got out," he said.
It was a fine innings though, set at good tempo coming from just 178 balls. It helped push HK Bears past Wanganui's first innings total of 264 to secure vital competition points.
Good was an expatriate Englishman who had grown up playing cricket for New Farnley club in Leeds, Yorkshire. His father Richard was on the club committee there and had just helped build a new clubrooms.
It was at the age of 21 that Good left home to take up a position as an overseas professional at the invitation Weraroa Cricket Club. The brief was play senior cricket and coach youngsters, with which he had fantastic rapport.
He was only supposed to spend a season in Levin, but he started falling in love with the region and the laid-back lifestyle. And Cupid had other ideas.
Romance blossomed and forced his hand. He was now engaged to fiance Aisling and proud father to boys Riley and Chester, who were both showing an aptitude for cricket, too.
"I plucked up the courage to see if she would go out on a date with me, and she said 'yes', fortunately," he said.
"I never went home."
He had returned home twice to visit though, while his family had been out to New Zealand too, and had watched HK Bears in action, although they picked the wrong game to watch. There were no big scores that day.
"I got a first-ball duck," he said.
Good had danced with the retirement decision, but realised the timing was right. With a young family and plans to build a new house at the beach, he was spreading himself too thin.
It was a great honour to play representative cricket for HK Bears, but it demanded a big commitment, and the decision to retire felt like the right one.
Good was also director of sport at Waiopehu College, and with the boys growing up wanted to make sure he was able to spend more time at home.
He admitted to having serious thoughts of retirement two seasons ago and credited HK Bears coach Chad Law with changing his mind.
"He helped me fall back in love with the game," he said.
Not long after that he was selected for Central Districts Stags "B" side - no mean feat. It was rare for a cricket player from Horowhenua to make Central Districts sides.
What made the decision easier this time was the current band of young players coming through the HK Bears ranks. He credited coach Law with playing a big part in gathering together a squad of at least 20 players that could step into the fray.
"There's some really good young players coming through," he said.
"I don't feel like I can't play at this level, but it's time to give some more time to the family and I wouldn't have been able to do what I have done without their support."
It brought the curtain down on a what was a good contribution to the HK Bears for the last six seasons. He was first made captain of the team at 22 years old, although at times had formed part of on-field leadership group.
Good also scored a Chapple Cup century - 138 - for HK Bears against Nelson in the 2017-18 season.
It also put the finishing touch on what was a vintage season for HK Bears, finishing second behind Hawke's Bay in the Central District's Furlong Cup two-day competition - their best result in decades.
Good said he would continue to play club cricket for championship winning Levin Old Boys club.
Furlong Cup - Points Table
Hawke's Bay 62
Whanganui - first innnings
Andrew Penn c Andrew Simpson b Fraser Bartholomew 47
Chris Stewart b Fraser Bartholomew 11
Sam Sheriff c Jamie Pinfold b Xitij Sakhalkar 43
Ben Smith c Dion Sanson b Thomas Harris 41
Max Carroll b Thomas Harris 1
Mark Fraser not out 54
Hadleigh O'Leary c Jamie Pinfold b Thomas Harris 10
CD Sharrock c Matthew Good b Dion Sanson 12
Ross Kinnerley lbw b Dion Sanson 9
Fraser Kinnerley c Jamie Pinfold b Fraser Bartholomew 16
Nick Harding b Fraser Bartholomew 1
Extras: (w 1, nb 4, b 8, lb 6) 19. Total (10 wickets; 74.1 overs) 264 All Out 3.56 RPO
Bowling: Fraser Bartholomew 19.1 6 61 4. Zack Benton 11 2 51 0. Jaedyn Dawson 11 5 29 0. Xitij Sakhalkar 13 2 57 1. Thomas Harris15 6 37 3. Dion Sanson 5 0 15 2.
Horowhenua-Kāpiti - first innings
Dion Sanson b Nick Harding 32
Andrew Simpson b Fraser Kinnerley 29
Adam Simonsen c Andrew Penn b John Beale 53
Matthew Good lbw b Ben Smith 172
D Reder c Mark Fraser b CD Sharrock 32
Jamie Pinfold c Max Carroll b Ben Smith 6
Xitij Sakhalkar c Nick Harding b Hadleigh O'Leary 47
Fraser Bartholomew c Mark Fraser b Fraser Kinnerley 23
Jaedyn Dawson c Mark Fraser b John Beale 0
Zack Benton run out (Chris Stewart) 1
Thomas Harris not out 10
Extras (w 1, nb 2, b 9, lb 7) 19
Total (10 wickets; 99.3 overs) 424 All Out 4.26 RPO
Bowling: Ross Kinnerley 13 2 50 0. John Beale 19 2 69 2. Fraser Kinnerley 20 3 89 2. Nick Harding 12 0 90 1. Ben Smith 21 4 55 2. Mark Fraser 1 0 1 0. CD Sharrock 13 1 52 1. Hadleigh O'Leary 0.3 0 2 1.
Whanganui - second innings.
Chris Stewart not out 25
Andrew Penn not out 32
Extras: 0. Total (0 wickets; 15.4 overs) 57 3.64 RPO
Bowling: Fraser Bartholomew 5.5 0 15 0. Jaedyn Dawson 4 1 19 0. Thomas Harris 3.4 0 15 0. Andrew Simpson 2 1 8 0.