Cricket's oldest adage, catches win matches, could not be more relevant to the Northland men's team's first innings loss to Waikato Valley on the weekend.
The Northlanders dropped a whopping six catches at Cobham Oval as the visitors managed to reach 300/9 after almost 100 overs in the first innings on Saturday.
The home side could muster only 241 before they were all out in their first 2019 match of the Fergus Hickey Rosebowl competition.
The game started well for the hosts, after captain Ben Hyde won the toss and elected to bowl, Waikato Valley were struggling at 29/3 after 13 overs.
However, dropped catches and missed run outs let the visitors back into the game with opener Dillon Kelliher and No 6 batsman Girvacques De Jager sticking together to get their side to a respectable total.
De Jager, who made a crucial 79 off 169 balls, was dropped three times by Northland fielders. Had one of them stuck, the game's outcome may have been vastly different.
"It's unacceptable at our level," Northland men's coach Stephen Cunis said.
"For whatever reason, probably a lack of concentration, we put down six catches and a couple of run outs and if we'd taken those opportunities, they would have been all out for 200."
Bowlers Kyran Dill and Tom Herman were shining lights of Northland's innings in the field, taking three wickets apiece, but with the lack of quality in the field, Northland struggled to build pressure.
Cunis said the boys' performance in the field was unlike anything he'd seen.
"It was frustrating watching because we've never dropped six catches before and the boys at training are very good in the field, it's just one of those days."
On Sunday, Northland had an opportunity to put the previous day's mistakes behind them, and chase down what was a realistic target if they got in a full day's play.
A collapse in the middle of the innings, where three wickets fell in 17 balls, meant Northland were once again chasing the game.
The start of the innings was promising with No 4 batsman Hyde forming partnerships with opener Henry Cooper and No 5 Ian Page. It was the accuracy of Waikato's bowling unit which unravelled the hosts, with medium-pace bowler Reo Sakurano-Thomas taking 4-38 off his 19 overs.
The collapse followed soon after both Cooper and Page were out and when Hyde was dismissed by a good ball when he was on 58 off 154 balls, the game was as good as over for the Northlanders.
Cunis said his side had numerous opportunities to win the game but couldn't take the advantage, particularly in their batting innings.
"When you've got three guys in our top five getting a good score, one of those guys needs to get a hundred."
He said a low and slow Cobham pitch unsettled his batsmen while it suited Waikato's skilled bowling unit.
"They put us under a little bit of pressure and our guys didn't quite back themselves to absorb the pressure, back their ability and we never really recovered."
Northland took four points from the game while their opponents take 10 for the first innings win.
They next play Counties Manukau away from home on March 2 in what will be a tough encounter.
"When they're on form, they are a seriously good side and when they're down, they are not so good so we need to be careful," Cunis said.
"The cold, hard facts are we didn't catch or bat anywhere near well enough where we needed to and if we are going to win competitions, we need to front up and deal with pressure a bit better or it's going to be a frustrating season and year."
In Northland's premier men's competition, the final day of the first two-day games ended in comprehensive wins for Duracrete Products City, Coalies Onerahi Central and Kaipara Flats on Saturday.
All teams won by an innings and change after a dominant display on the first day. City swept aside Generation Homes Whangārei Boys' High School, but not without some final resistance.
After a first innings total of 320, City bowled Boys' High out for 116 and then again for 163 to win by an innings and 10 runs. Boys' High no 10 and 11, Michael Krige and Cale Pooley refused to relent in their second innings, lasting a combined 214 balls in a 69 run partnership.
A first innings total of 270 from Onerahi was enough for them to win by an innings and 28 runs against Westech Automotive Maungakaramea. Nathan Condon and Scott Harris were the only Maungakaramea batsman who offered any kind of resistance, scoring 44 and 42 respectively in a losing cause.
Kaipara backed up an impressive bowling performance against Kamo with another one this weekend to bowl their opponents out for 134 to win by an innings and 65 runs.
Without a number of their key players who were involved in the Northland game, Kamo found it hard to better their first innings score of 76 and lost convincingly.
City sit at the top of table after one round, one point clear of Kaipara and Onerahi.
Next Saturday, City will take on Kaipara at Cobham Oval, Onerahi play Kamo at Kensington Park and Maungakaramea take on Boys' High at Maungakaramea Domain.