Tech Old Boy's Fraser Kinnerley smoking the second-last delivery to the boundary sealed off a thrilling two wicket win over Property Brokers United in the Coastal Challenge at Victoria Park on Saturday.
The crucial Round 7 derby game allowed Tech to cement themselves in the top four, as it seems United and Tech remain the two local contenders most likely to reach the semifinals.
Defending champions Wanganui Vet Services Marist were well beaten by Paraparaumu CC in the rematch of last season's thrilling final at Kena Kena Park, while table leaders Levin Old Boys ripped Whanganui Collegiate 1st XI to pieces at the school grounds.
Levin opener Dion Sanson smashed an extraordinary 200 not out, the first double ton in the five seasons of Coastal Challenge, and eclipsing the previous batting record of Tech's Akash Gill, who made 152 in the 2016-17 season.
Collegiate missed their Unreal Grass Wicket Wanganui batsman Sam Sheriff, who contrary to preseason speculation, has now joined the Tech ranks at the end of his school career, as opposed to Marist.
At Victoria Park, United with finish the Tech match with two replacement fielders, as captain Simon Badger and fellow veteran Tom Lance would have to leave early at different times due to work commitments, although it seemed like they and their team had still done enough when Tech collapsed from a comfortable perch at 173-3 to losing five wickets, now needing the tail to score at a run-a-ball in the last five overs.
With only injured bowler Trent Hemi left in the shed, Kinnerley and calm 16-year-old wicket keeper Sidd Lad (33 not out), the contemporary of Gill and Akhil Kumar, ticked off a 35-run partnership in nearly as many balls to see their side home.
Throughout the nerve-wracking final overs, Tech coach Chris Friedel was lamenting his side giving away 26 wides after United chose to bat, reaching 244 before being dismissed in the 49th over.
While Vikum Sanjay (3-63) got a couple of early wickets, United's anchor Matt Simes (49) and key man Greg Smith, returning to timely form with 78 from 69 balls, put on a 105 run partnership in 16 overs.
Smith struck nine boundaries and a six.
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But in match where momentum swung throughout, Ross Kinnerley (4-27 with three maidens) broke the partnership and then had danger man Lance out for a rare duck in his next over, as the middle order of Robbie Power and Chris Sharrock also departed in single figures.
With Simes holding down his end, Brendon Walker (19 from 19) hit a couple of sixes before falling to a catch off Sheriff, then Badger (15) carried on after Simes went off Sanjay, with Ryan Slight (11 not out) chipping in two useful boundaries before Kinnerley cleaned up the innings.
United wouldn't have Badger to bowl, and it looked like their spinners would have to do the job as Sanjay (47 off 33) opened the innings and had Tech away to a flyer, with Kashish Nauhria (27) acting as support.
Sanjay hit six boundaries and two sixes, removing Walker from the attack, before Power had him caught by Walker, while Lance (3-35) looked to put the breaks on, as did Sharrock, although he would be expensive.
By then, Sheriff (58 off 64) looked like he might bat through, sharing good partnerships with Bevan Hunter (13), who was unlucky the ball ricocheted off bat-pad and then helmet for an excellent diving Power catch, and then Gill (26).
Sheriff used his feet to the spinners, including whacking one six that landed right in the middle of the stunned group of Renegades players, who were celebrating a wicket in the Premier 2 game on the neighbouring pitch.
The two young rep batsmen used the sweep shot for well run three's, with Sheriff finishing with three boundaries and three sixes in good time.
But he finally pushed out too far and was stumped off Lance at 173-4, which led to another twist as a run chase that was looking comfortable staggered when Slight (2-25) bowled both skipper Dominic Lock and Gill behind their back legs, Lock's stumps broken off a deflection.
Lance had finished up and left the game, with Power (1-39) coming back on from that end – slowing up the run rate and leading to Tim Czewonka being run out when he took off for a single Lad wasn't interested in.
With Slight, Lance and Power now all bowled out and no Badger, United looked to acting skipper Gerard Hobbs and John Beale to try and hold Tech off at 210-7 with six overs left.
Ross Kinnerley (13) had started well enough with two boundaries, but then a painfully slow Hobbs lob landed right in the foot marks to cannon low into his stumps.
Kid was now under big pressure, but the teenager delivered with a big sweep for four, as United put the majority of their fielders back to the boundary, sacrificing singles, while Fraser Kinnerley tried a couple of risky chips between those players and the inner-circle.
With 12 needed in two overs, Kinnerley finally skied one too far, but Sharrock had a slight stumble as he was running in and despite getting to the ball, couldn't hang onto it, while the batsmen scrambled two.
Seven were needed off the last Beale over, with Lad missing the first delivery then getting a single out to the boundary, before Kinnerley bravely tried another chip shot for two, which was followed by a straight drive that Beale stopped for a dot ball.
With four needed from two balls, the Whanganui constable got down low and leaned into a wide-ish ball that he slammed through point, to slowly make its way over the boundary with fielders chasing in vain.
Marist did not leave Kena Kena Park with the same smiles as they did in February, as Paraparaumu extracted their revenge with a 153 run hammering.
Off to a quick start despite losing Ajay Kumar early, Paraparaumu raced to 192-2 in the 33rd over after Byron Gill (76) and skipper Kelsey Fahey (101 from 89) made the decisive partnership.
The pair hit 23 boundaries between them, while Fahey added three sixes.
It just needed the middle order to go for broke, and while they lost wickets, Tim Lambert (28), a promoted Sean Windle (47 from 37) and Dylan Reder (17 not out off 12) took advantage to get the home side to 315-6.
In reply, Marist lost wickets steadily at 47-3 in the 11th over, and although Mark Fraser (60) got himself back into some form, hitting nine boundaries and a six, but when he was trapped in front by Reder (2-22), Marist were pretty well out of it at 155-7.
Nick Harding (31 from 30) had a flourish in the lower order, hitting two boundaries and two sixes, but the tail folded quickly after he gave up the fourth edge behind catch to wicket keeper Tim Lambert.
Marist's hammering was nothing compared to what Collegiate suffered against Levin, as the out-of-school 1st XI was destroyed by 291 runs, the heaviest loss in the history of the competition.
Levin put a 169 run partnership to open the innings, as Jamie Pinfold (104 from 75) struck 13 boundaries and three sixes as the dominant scorer with Sanson.
But Sanson went on a rampage after that, with partners Jamie Marshall (19), Matthew Good (39) and Ryan Taylor (14 not out) just having to support him and rotate the strike.
The double hundred came off 142 balls, including a phenomenal 20 boundaries and five sixes on the school ground, to take his team to 391-3.
All the bowlers suffered horribly, George Pearce (2-40) getting a couple of consolations off his six overs.
Dwarfed by the total and without Sheriff, Collegiate fell apart to be 30-4 in the sixth over, with Xitij Sakhalkar (3-30) running through the top order.
As one of the few remaining standouts, Shaun O'Leary (50) worked hard to raise his bat, hitting four boundaries as he scored exactly half of his team's total.
But O'Leary lost partner after partner as Levin required only four bowlers to clean up everyone else in single figures, the game over by the 24th over.
Taylor (3-13), Alex O'Malley (2-14) and Daemon Kennett (2-40) polished off a good day for Levin players to improve their averages.
In the other games, Red Star pulled off the upset with their second win of the season, travelling to beat Weraroa CC by 89 runs, while at home Kapiti Old Boys held off Landsdowne CC for a comfortable 40 run win.
United 244 (G Smith 78, M Simes 49; R Kinnerley 4-27, V Sanjay 3-63) lost to Tech 245-8 (S Sheriff 58, V Sanjay 47, S Lad 33no, K Nauhria 27, A Gill 26; T Lance 3-35, R Slight 2-25) by two wickets.
Paraparaumu 315-6 (K Fahey 101, B Gill 76, S Windle 47, T Lambert 28; A Dinwiddie 2-70) bt Marist 162 (M Fraser 60, N Harding 31; D Reder 2-22, D McNamara 2-25, S Windle 2-45) by 153 runs.
Levin Old Boys 391-3 (D Sanson 200, J Pinfold 104, M Good 39; G Pearce 2-40) bt Collegiate 100 (S O'Leary 50; R Taylor 3-13, X Sakhalkar 3-30, A O'Malley 2-14, Daemon Kennett 2-40) by 291 runs.
Red Star 223 (B Price 119, C Freeman 27, N Elliot 25; A Simonsen 3-30, V Reshoda 3-37, J Dawson 2-36) bt Weraroa 134 (T Morgan 35; B Price 5-22, P Sigvertsen 2-15, J Watt 2-24) by 89 runs.
Kapiti Old Boys 243 (J Miles 69, D Browne 57, S Paterson 46; J Vorster 4-50, J Ryan 2-46, R Spears 2-55) bt Landsdowne 203 (J Vorster 115; D Schlup 4-54, Z Benton 3-31) by 40 runs.