Property Brokers United's unfulfilled quest for a long-awaited Coastal Challenge Cup will have to extend out at least another 12 months, as once again they could not deliver with the bat in a final against a Horowhenua-Kapiti opponent.
In the rain reduced 43-overs match at Donnelly Park today, 2019-20's form team Levin Old Boys delivered with the ball after a summer where they had been carried by their batting – bowling United out for 121 on the way to a brisk seven wicket win.
With play delayed an hour to let the pitch dry out, United won the toss and opted to bat, figuring it was better to defend later in the afternoon with a damp outfield while the ball may not be moving much.
It had worked in their victory two weeks before on the same ground, but this time Levin's pace bowlers were much harder to play, while United's focus wavered despite being in their third final in four years.
Player of the day Fraser Bartholomew (3-23, three maidens) had veteran Gerard Hobbs caught behind by wicketkeeper Jamie Pinfold off the fourth delivery of the match.
Between catches and bowling, Jamie and brother Liam Pinfold (4-30) would have a piece of seven United dismissals.
The other opener Tom Lance (21 from 20 balls) was looking solid, but like several other times this summer he was dismissed before kicking on to a decisive score, falling victim to Bartholomew, which came after the usually stickable Matt Simes was also nicked out by Daemon Kennett.
Greg Smith (22), coming off runs in the semifinal, and the returning Trey Bidois (30) looked like they might steady the ship with a 57-run partnership over the next 10 overs, before Bidois fell to the Jamie/Liam Pinfold combination and Smith gave up a second catch to Ryan Taylor, off the bowling of Xitij Sakhalkar (2-15).
United were in real trouble when Chris Sharrock, another strong semifinal performer, was bowled in the following over by Liam Pinfold at 99-6.
The die was cast after that, as previous lower order batting heroes in John Beale, skipper Simon Badger, Brendon Walker and even No11 Ryan Slight were all dismissed in single figures, as Liam Pinfold, a returning Bartholomew and Sakhalkar cleaned them up before the completion of 30 overs.
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"We've only ourselves to blame for that," Badger said later.
"Hitting half trackers to fielders, nicking out to wide balls.
"We didn't show up with the bat."
United still had a total on the board, and there was always the chance Levin might falter under pressure in their quest for an inaugural cup win.
Pinfold (21 from 16) and season MVP Dion Sanson (31) immediately took that prospect off the table – attacking the bowling of Beale by hitting over the top for repeated boundaries to see him swiftly removed from the crease at 35-0 in just four overs, with Pinfold dropped by Smith off Badger in a difficult chance.
Slight (2-13, one maiden) hadn't given up and got a lifting delivery to take an edge off the charging Pinfold for Lance at slip, while United then pinned Neil Hood down before he sent another lifting ball straight to Sharrock at 48-2.
However, than just brought Matthew Good (50 not out) to the crease, who got his eye in before sending the returning Beale to the boundary and lofting Slight for six, to again having his team scoring at nearly a run-per-ball.
Lance and Sharrock came on to deliver their spinners, as Badger would rotate Robbie Power with them to change ends.
But with Sanson anchoring, Good had recaptured his touch – including smashing Lance straight out of the ground onto the roof of a neighbouring house roof at 102-2 in the 19th over.
It seemed likely this Levin pair would bat through, but Power had the small consolation of getting Sanson to guide an edge to Lance at slip.
Yet the incoming Taylor knew the score, just protecting the strike to give Good the chance to not only make the winning runs, but also bring up his half century by doing so - smashing Sharrock for six to wrap up the run chase in less than 24 overs.
Badger said his team's older veterans are all soldiering on next season as they continue their quest for "unfinished business".
He acknowledged Levin for finally breaking through after a similar journey of a lost final and semifinals in this competition.
"Good on them, they are the best team this year. They deserved it.
"Every club's got a story."
G Hobbs ct L Pinfold b F Bartholomew 0
T Lance ct R Taylor b F Bartholomew 21
M Simes ct J Pinfold b D Kennett 4
G Smith ct R Taylor b X Sakhalkar 22
T Bidois ct J Pinfold b L Pinfold 30
C Sharrock b L Pinfold 6
S Badger ct J Pinfold b L Pinfold 4
J Beale b F Bartholomew 6
R Power not out 7
B Walker ct J Pinfold b L Pinfold 0
Ryan Slight ct J Pinfold b X Sakhalkar 0
Total: 121 (29.4 overs)
Bowling: F Bartholomew 9 overs, 3 maidens, 23 runs, 3 wickets; D Kennett 6-0-43-1; X Sakhalkar 8.4-4-15-2; L Pinfold 6-1-30-4.
J Pinfold ct T Lance b R Slight 21
D Sanson ct T Lance b R Power 31
N Hood ct C Sharrock b R Slight 6
M Good not out 50
R Taylor not out 1
Total: 123-3 (23.3 overs)
Bowling: J Beale 4-0-32-0; S Badger 4-0-23-0; R Slight 5-1-13-2; T Lance 4-0-24-0; C Sharrock 3.3-1-16-0; R Power 3-0-11-1.
Result: Levin Old Boys win by seven wickets.
Tech Old Boys bt Red Star by default.
Weraroa bt Marist by default.
Coastal Challenge Cup Honour Roll
2015-16 - Winner: Wanganui Tech Old Boys; Runnerup: Levin Old Boys
2016-17 - Winner: Paraparaumu; Runnerup: Wanganui United
2017-18 - Winner: Paraparaumu; Runnerup: Wanganui United
2018-19 - Winner: Wanganui Marist; Runnerup: Paraparaumu
2019-20 - Winner: Levin Old Boys; Runnerup: Wanganui United