A win's a win they say, but Kamo's premier men's 50-over final victory at Cobham Oval on Sunday against Kaipara Flats wasn't a pretty affair.
Having won the toss on a well-used Cobham wicket, Kamo captain Ben Hyde opted for the bat, following the age-old piece of advice that putting runs on the board in a final is usually the best way to go.
Things looked positive for Kamo sitting at 60 without loss in the early stages before an almighty collapse left them all out for a paltry score of 126 off almost 50 overs. Kaipara spinners Michael O'Flaherty and Luke Beaven made use of a slow pitch to take three wickets apiece, ruining Kamo's innings.
In the 50-over format, any team would be happy chasing 127 to win, but it seemed finals pressure and a extraordinary effort from one of Northland's most promising bowlers earned the win for Kamo.
Kaipara were bowled out for 89 in a terrific display of bowling by their opposition. Kamo seamer Nathan Parkes, after taking a wicket in the first over of the innings, removed three more batsman inside about seven overs.
Despite two Kaipara batsman scoring centuries the day before, they were unable to stop the rot as Caleb Boswell-Smith took three wickets and Bruce Martin, while only taking one wicket, saw his 10 overs go for under one run an over, strangling the opposition.
"Kaipara bowled well and our two openers played well but apart from that, everyone fell over pretty quickly," Hyde said.
The decision to bat first paid off for Hyde, with the effect of runs on the board going into the second innings, it allowed his young recruit Parkes to stand up and lead the assault on Kaipara.
"He got us into the game and we knew we were in the hunt immediately because it was so hard to score.
"We've played pretty well this season and being in the final, you give yourself a chance so we are a pretty happy bunch at the moment."
Kaipara captain Rory Christopherson said Parkes was the difference between the two teams, showing experience and poise beyond his years.
"Losing the toss on that wicket was unfortunate, but [Parkes] was exceptional, he had two really good deliveries and his wickets pretty much killed us then and there."
Kamo will need to bring their A game when they travel to Tauranga on Sunday to face Greerton in the final national club championship qualifier. The winner of this game would represent the region in Auckland at the finals.
Last weekend's rain meant the premier men's two-day competition was cut in half for four of the six teams with games between Kaipara and Duracrete Products City, and Coalies Onerahi Central against Kamo had a day to decide who would get points.
Generation Homes Whangārei Boys High School made a poor start against Westech Automotive Maungakaramea last week, getting bowled out for 73 in their first innings before rain stopped play at Maungakaramea Domain. On Saturday, the hosts went well with the bat, no 4 batsman Ian Page making a quick 107 off 94 balls.
Maungakaramea declared on 219 for 7 after 45 overs and sent the schoolboys in to bat. This time, they showed some resistance with some great play from Sam Sweeney and Luke Trigg, scoring 81 and 63 respectively. The game finished a draw with the hosts taking points from a first innings lead.
Two hundreds from Kaipara batsmen Matt Taylor and Rory Christopherson dominated the game against City at Cobham Oval. Scoring 104 and 102 respectively, the pair led the team to 250 for 2 after 54 overs until they declared.
City were in trouble early at 16 for 3 after six overs. An impressive 57 from opener Harry Darkins ensured his side would last the day's play, ending on 133 for 8, Kaipara's Kyran Dill taking four wickets.
Onerahi were in trouble early at 11 for 4 after five overs against Kamo at Kensington Park. A good partnership between Henry Cooper and Fletcher Coutts got their side to 127 before they were all out, Kamo's Bruce Martin taking four wickets.
Kamo's innings wasn't as assured as they'd have liked, their batters getting starts but not fashioning big scores. No 8 Nathan Parkes top-scored with 43 to take Kamo past Onerahi's score to 182 all out.
Next Saturday, City play Maungakaramea at Kensington Park, Kaipara take on Onerahi at Bourne Dean Domain and Kamo play WBHS at Kamo Recreation Ground.