A blockbusting century from Jack Beaven has crowned Kaipara Flats' premier cricket team 50-over champions in the Lion Red Cup final against Westech Automotive Maungakaramea yesterday.
Playing under the ruthless Northland sun at Whangārei's Cobham Oval, Beaven smacked seven fours and four sixes on his way to 111 as part of his side's first innings score of 299 for seven from their 50 overs.
In reply, Maungakaramea struggled to keep up with the run rate and after a number of starts from key batsmen, they couldn't chase down the biggest total of the 2019/20 competition, finishing at 265 for 7 to register a 34-run loss.
"It was good to see the boys get over the line...I'm stoked," Beaven said.
"It was a good wicket so I thought we had to try and kick on, we knew it was a more than 250-run wicket and when we got through that, we just had to kick on."
Beaven's effort with the bat wasn't a solo one. Kaipara opener Rhys Jones worked well with the centurion to put on 180 runs for the second wicket before Jones was dismissed for 89, caught and bowled by left-arm spinner Chris Page.
While he was glad to make it to three figures with the temperature pushing 30 degrees, Beaven credited Jones on what was his first score of 50 or more for the premiers.
"[Jones] has just been promoted [to the premiers] and he came out and batted so well for a youngster, full credit to him."
With eight overs left and 228 runs in the bank, Kaipara middle-order batsmen Byron Jollivet and Kyran Dill made use of their platform with quick scores of 32 and 19 respectively.
Usually an assured outfit in the field, Maungakaramea had little luck with strike bowler Sean West going off injured after bowling only three overs and a number of half-chances going begging, including a missed high ball hit by Jones when bowler Mark Andrianatos ran into the stumps and was unable to complete the catch.
Both Beaven and Jones gave their opponents chances in the field with the former edging one between wicket-keeper and first slip with less than 50 runs on the board for Kaipara.
Thanks to some last over drama, which saw consecutive run-outs from the final two balls, Kaipara couldn't reach the elusive 300 which hadn't been reached by any team this season.
The score of 299 still stood as the highest of the 10-round, six-team competition with the closest being Motel Sierra Kamo's score of 268 for 7 two weeks ago.
Maungakaramea, who were crowned T20 champions in December and beat Kaipara by nine wickets in a 50-over match two weeks ago, started well with opener Tom Lovegrove hitting a quick-fire 32 before he was caught at square-leg.
However, no Maungakaramea batsman was able to compile a match-winning innings with number seven batsman Neal Parlane the top scorer with 65.
With plenty of runs to bowl at, Kaipara's paceman started well with a tight opening spell from Kyran Dill who went for just 14 from his initial six-over spell. Spinner Michael O'Flaherty was key in the middle overs, picking up two wickets for 47 runs from his 10 overs.
Saturday's Oxford Trust two-day fixtures (games start at 10:30am):
Kensington Tavern Onerahi Central vs Kaipara Flats at Kensington Park
Motel Sierra Kamo vs Duracrete Products City at Kamo Recreation Ground
Westech Automotive Maungakaramea vs FMG Northern at Maungakaramea Domain