Whangarei Boys' High School cricketers received an early Christmas present on Saturday when Rory Anders' shot to win the game instead flew to Richard Stobart at backward point.
Stobart made no mistake with the gift-wrapped catch giving Boys' High a thrilling three run victory over Onerahi-Central in the 50-over Lion Red Cup match and their second successive premier grade win.
Good reason to celebrate the win at Kensington Park on Saturday according to coach Mark Oldridge.
"The boys were absolutely stoked to win back to back, especially considering we didn't win a single game last year," he said.
The win was even better from his perspective because there were a few players unavailable - including Rory Christopherson, captain Lewis Miller and Caleb Boswell-Smith, who was a late selection for Northland's two-day match against Hamilton this weekend - and because for most of the game a win looked very unlikely.
Onerahi-Central's opening bowlers Charlie Roebuck and Sean Doel terrorised the top order and Boys' High were in deep trouble at 45/4 before Luke Trigg and Sam Webb put together a partnership of 39 for the next wicket.
Webb went on to top score with 35 as they limped to 120 all out with Roebuck, the Yorkshire import, finishing with 5/34 off his 10 overs.
Onerahi-Central were quickly on the back foot as the wickets tumbled in the face of hostile pace bowling by Matt Kingi and Cullen Lowe.
Only Anders kept his cool with the bat reaching 55 before holing out to Stobart during Lowe's ninth over.
Lowe finished with 4-33, while the left armer Kingi was the pick of the bowlers with 4-28 and Chamodh Peiris took 2-11.
A fine century by opener Tom Lovegrove gave Maungakaramea the innings they needed to complete a six wicket win over Kaipara Flats at Bourne Dean Park.
Lovegrove scored 105 and combined with Ben Cochrane for a partnership of 122 which helped his side cruise to the required 202 in the 45th over.
Earlier Jaz Standen had been the batting standout for Kaipara before Mark Southee, who opens the batting for Maungakaramea, dismissed him for 52.
Southee proved that his brother, Black Caps paceman Tim, isn't the only bowler in the family posting what must be close to career best figures of 5-38 off nine overs.
In the final premier grade Lion Red Cup encounter City made short work of Kamo Cricket Club beating them by eight wickets to join Maungakaramea and Boys High on the top of the table - all with two wins apiece.
Good bowling by Matthew Lobb, Stacey Hyndman, Max Trimble (4-27) and Joseph Yovich restricted Kamo to 102 all out with Jacob Cherrington top-scoring for Kamo with 40.
Yovich (44 not out) and James Thompson (33no) were the main scorers as City reached victory in the 24th over.