If you ever wanted to know how capricious cricket can be then ask Hawke's Bay senior men's captain, Dominic Thompson, and his zealous opening batsman, Bayley Wiggins, in Napier.
Engineering the platform for victory against defending champions Taranaki yesterday with a century to Thompson and 96 runs from Wiggins, the pair went on to register 16 runs and a first-ball duck, respectively, in the Chapple Cup semifinal at Nelson Park today.
But they need not have worried as fellow opener Luke Kenworthy stepped up with 80 runs to help spearhead the Pay Excellence-sponsored hosts to a 120-run victory over Horowhenua-Kapiti to book a final against Manawatu tomorrow morning.
• Cricket: Black Caps shine to pour pressure on England on dominant day three of first test
• Live cricket updates: Black Caps v England, first test, day three
• Premium - Cricket: The good, the bad and the bizarre from day three of the first test between the Black Caps and England
• Cricket: England's first innings continues incredible drought for Black Caps spinners
"That's cricket for you, isn't it?" said Kenworthy after taking an aggressive 63-ball approach for a knock that included nine boundaries and four sixes as the Bay posted 255 before they were skittled in 45.4 overs, after Thompson won the toss and elected to bat.
In reply, Horowhenua-Kapiti stuttered to 159/9 in 31.4 overs with just No 6 Kelsey Fahey showing some resolve with 69 and Chad Law, at first drop, the only ones to register double figures before No 10 Liam Pinfold retired hurt.
Kenworthy didn't entertain any thoughts of a conservative approach after regular big run scorers, including Matt Edmondson (16 runs), Bradley Schmulian (two-ball duck) and Angus Schaw (11), had departed cheaply in the annual Central Districts Cricket Association one-day inter-district tournament.
Instead, No 7 Todd Watson (47) and William Clark (48) showed how much depth there is in the Bay line up.
"I think, naturally being aggressive at the top is my role, so losing Bayley in the first over didn't change my mindset, really," said Kenworthy.
"It was awesome to have those two come out from the [lower order] and rebound like that when we had lost our way a little in the middle with the loss of a few wickets in the space of a few clips."
The rot started with Edmondson at first drop at the 11.4-over mark before Kenworthy joined him at 14.6, Thompson at 18.1 and Schaw at 20.1 in a total of 204/7 before Watson and Clark began their highway project to give the innings some respectability.
The You Travel Taradale CC premier men's club wicketkeeper got his tail up once he got a couple of shots crossing the rope.
It was the highest score for the 27-year-old Hawke's Bay Cricket development manager who had scored 72 against Taranaki in 2011-12 during his nine on-and-off seasons with the Bay men.
"It's only my second half ton," said the bloke who was making his 16th appearance for the bay men today and returning to the fray this summer after last turning out in 2014-15.
He did wonder a few years ago if he was ever going to get a recall to the side but was
mindful with younger players moving around lot due to tertiary education and work he was going to be in with a chance or two.
Kenworthy said today was a blessing in disguise to enable other batsmen to shoulder the responsibility of helping build and reinforce an innings.
He didn't want to take anything away from Horowhenua-Kapiti for deliveries that moved away a little on a benign batting track but he felt some Bay batsmen had got themselves out with poor shot selections,
Seamer Pinfold, at first change, and left-arm quick Dylan Reder got 3-51 and 3-41, respectively, while right-arm fast Daemon Kennett, at second change, took 2-57 and openers Carter Andrews and Fraser Bartholomew claimed a scalp each.
For the Bay, CD Stags prospect Ben Stoyanoff and fellow opener Angus McKnight took 2-22 and 2-25, respectively, but the frugality stakes were raised at first change when medium pacer Watson and spinner Jayden Lennox took 2-13 and 2-19, respectively.
Kenworthy said it didn't matter that spinner Schaw went for 33 runs in his two overs as the last bowler because the batsmen had got their eye in a little more by that stage. Aussie leg spinner Kyle Gardiner took 1-22 off four overs, including a maiden.
"The bowlers shared the wickets around today so we bowled and fielded a lot better as a team than we had yesterday which a key focal point today," he said.
Wiggins still added value, snaffling three catches behind the stumps as wicketkeeper.
Manawatu will bring the underdogs mentality that has served them well in the past.
"I have never played Manawatu before but they are notoriously Hawke's Bay's biggest rivals when it comes to district cricket so it'll be good to get a final with them under my belt," he said.
Kenworthy said it was scorcher of a day but the breeze, which was absent when they warmed up in the morning, was godsend later in the afternoon.
Whanganui succumbed by eight wickets despite winning the toss and electing to bat in the other semifinal.
Manawatu skittled them for a paltry 103 in 35.1 overs with three batsmen — Sam Sheriff, wicketkeeper Matthew Simes and player/coach Vikum Sanjaya — sharing the highest score of 16 although No 4 Akash Gill eked out 15 runs. The rest were confined to single-digit scores.
Opening bowler Carlos Jenson took 3-20 while Arana Noema-Barnett, Brad Fulton and Hayden Hill claimed two wickets each between them.
Opener Jack Harris' 1-28 ensured no bowler went above his economy rate of 3.50.
In reply, Noema-Barnett (38) and fellow opener Mason Hughes (50 from 36 balls), taking a Twenty20 strike-rate route, laid the foundation to help eclipse the total with 107/2 in 18 overs. Trent Mcgrath and Rob Sheary were unbeaten on seven and eight runs, respectively, after the openers had departed.
It's perhaps an injustice to the victors but Marlborough upset Taranaki — (did their attitude take a hiding?) — by 33 runs in the playoffs of losers to book a Cave Cup final tomorrow against Nelson.
Frugality took a hit as medium pacer Jordan Gard, at second change, was the pick of the Taranaki bowlers with 4-56 from his nine overs in a seven-bowler shift as Marlborough posted 286/9 in their allotted 50 overs after winning the toss.
Wicketkeeper Ma'ara Ave scored a crisp 90 from 92 balls with fellow opener Tom Sutherland adding 46 and Prabhoda Arthavidu 20 at first drop. No 5 Jerrym Lamb (38) and No 7 Harry MacDonald (52) made their intent clear.
Taranaki had several starts but No 6 Adam Keene was the only one to go past the half-tin mark (53 runs) as they were skittled for 253 with 11 balls to spare.
Marlborough opening left-arm seamer Nick Weaver took 5-40 from nine overs while eight others shared the bowling load and all but three came away with a wicket each on a going economy rate between four and seven.
Nelson beat Wairarapa by 81 runs after adopting a win-toss-bat-first stance to post a bolshy 349/5 in 50 overs.
Openers Finn Raxworthy and Thomas Zhorab ran riot with their willows — 113 runs and 98, respectively, before red-ball grafter Greg Hay added 51 to the collective at No 4.
All, bar two, of the Wairarapa bowlers had a casualty ward-look about them with opening seamer Ethan Childs claiming 3-85 from his 10 overs.
In trying to eclipse the target, Wairarapa batsmen made good fist of it with seven of them posting 20 and above but only No 7 Stefan Hook Sporry making the half century mark with 56 runs.
Ben Stark, Josh Newport, Patrick Howes and Josh Simpson claimed two wickets each between them in eight-prong attack for the highway project to skittle Wairarapa for 268 in 47.2 overs.
The Dave Cup final also should be a humdinger.