It was a case of mission accomplished for Onerahi-Central as they beat Kamo outright to join Kaipara Flats on top of the Northland men's premier cricket two-day competition.
After losing a few overs to early rain on Saturday, OC negotiated a tricky morning session to overhaul Kamo's first innings total before declaring, bowling Kamo out cheaply and finally reaching the winning total with five overs to spare.
Resuming on 132/6 on a wet track, OC lost only Ethan Benny for 37 on their way to reaching 173 - a lead of seven - before taking aim at Kamo. OC skipper Henry Cooper said they had formulated a plan to skittle Kamo cheaply but admitted he thought they'd blown it when they dropped dangerous batsman Atif Qureshi, with the Pakistani import yet to score.
"Apart from dropping him on zero, the rest of the day went pretty much as we'd hoped. The toughest test for us was probably getting that 34 runs in the morning with six already down which was a difficult little task," Cooper said.
Qureshi went on to score a half century and looked in control of his end until Tom Herman took his wicket, triggering a collapse that saw Kamo dismissed for just 151.
Herman bowled well to take 2-30 and while Qureshi's wicket was a definite turning point, Cooper finished with the figures of 4-41 off his 12 overs.
OC were left to chase down 143 to win in 37 overs - not an easy prospect - but when Bradley Kneebone and Tom Smith put together an opening partnership of more than a 100 runs the result became almost academic. Smith went for 59 while Kneebone was not out 52 when the winning runs were scored with just two wickets down and a few overs still up their sleeve.
In the other match, Whangarei Boys High School held on to force an entertaining draw and frustrate Maungakaramea's aspirations of starting the two-day contest with an outright win.
Boys High started the second day of their match on 96/4, chasing Maungakaramea's first innings total of 296 but they were forced to follow on despite the efforts of South African import Tyler Lortan, who was left stranded on 121.
Good bowling - particularly by Northland openers Cody Andrews (3-33) and Kurtley Watson (3-52) - saw the high school side all out for 191 and the Maungakaramea bowling attack were soon wreaking havoc in their second innings. High School were floundering at 31/4, with the first innings' centurion already back in the pavilion, when a partnership between captain Fletcher Coutts and wicketkeeper Lewis Miller resurrected their hopes of avoiding defeat.
The pair slowly compiled an 80-run partnership before the skipper perished on 38. Miller was the last wicket to fall for 57 as Boys High reached 172 with Nick Stobart the chief wicket taker for Maungakaramea, with 4/20. But the lower order resistance meant Maungakaramea needed 68 runs off nine overs to get their win.
That total seemed reachable, especially when David Croucher came to the wicket and struck a couple of towering sixes. But he lost the strike and in the final over Sam Walker took a wicket from the penultimate ball of the day to throw the result back into doubt. The wicket brought Maungakaramea's first innings top scorer, Bert Horner, to the crease needing three runs to win the match but he couldn't connect with the final delivery and Maungakaramea had to be satisfied with first innings points. Boys High were pretty happy with their overall effort, particularly at the death with Matthew Lobb (2-25) and Walker (2-39) holding their nerve.
Kaipara Flats and Onerahi-Central share the first round lead after Kaipara hammered City outright in the first day of their two-day match last Saturday.