Juiced up on "some pretty good" painkillers, Angus Schaw hung tough to help ensure the Hawke Cup challenge was locked in despite Hawke's Bay senior men's representative cricketers losing by first-innings points to Wairarapa at the weekend.
"We weren't sure on other results so everyone was giving their all," said Schaw after he had injured his right ankle almost a month ago, but it had deteriorated by the time they played their final two-day, Furlong Cup match after the hosts had won the toss and posted 214 runs at Queen Elizabeth Park II in Masterton.
"It was one of those cases where you've got to keep going so it wasn't that bad, just niggly," Schaw said self-effacingly, revealing the Jacob Smith-captained Bay were mindful that had Manawatu got an outright victory over last-placed Taranaki the cup challenge would slip their fingers. Manawatu finished runners-up, seven points behind the Bay after losing by first-innings points in New Plymouth.
The Bay will play cup holders Hamilton, who thwarted a stiff challenge from Bay of Plenty at the weekend, in a fortnight.
"It's so exciting because it's the best cricket I'll ever play — that's for sure — so getting another chance to be there is great and I know the boys are pumped up for it," he said, before an impending X-ray to ascertain how bad his injury is.
Schaw said the Bay knew they had the team to bring the cup back, considering it a payback after relinquishing the hold to Hamilton last summer.
"We know their team, we're not scared of them and we know we can go out there to beat them."
The Tikokino stock agent said the Bay had gauged their worth against BOP early this season which boosted their confidence more although Wairarapa had been a good wake up.
"We were all pretty nervous after day one, to be honest," said the Ruahine Motors Central Hawke's Bay CC all rounder who was the match's top scorer with 86 from 85 balls. He came in to bolster the Bay to 154 after Stefan Hook-Sporry claimed 5-48 in the visitors' first dig, breaking a century stand by bowling William Clark for 32.
Bay opener Luke Wright departing for six runs had triggered a batting collapse from 22 without loss in the seventh over to free-fall to 53-7 by the 16th.
"There were perhaps a couple of decision-making errors on our part but you can't take anything away from how they bowled," Schaw said. "We were a little bit complacent but we've got the challenge so all that's forgotten and we move on to two weeks' time."
Wairarapa, who had scored 277 in their second innings, had recovered commendably in the first dig through Jack Forrester's half century after opener John McKenzie was dismissed for a diamond duck (first ball of the match) from an Adam Winter delivery.
Schaw said the Dave Castles-coached Bay were guilty of lacking line and length so the Wairarapa had taken advantage of a lightning fast outfield.
"When we bowled them out, we knew we could get that and, to be fair, to their openers [Ethan] Childs and Hook-Sporry they bowled incredibly well, full and straight," he said, adding they had used the new ball adroitly. "It was more that we were outplayed so they were better ton the day and all the credit goes to them."
Schaw labelled Wairarapa "classy" and was surprised they had fourth on 35 points — one above Whanganui and one below Horowhenua-Kapiti.
Round three of the premier men's club Laver & Wood 40-over competition was played on Sunday.
Reynard Health Supplied Havelock North CC beat Heretaunga Building Society Cornwall CC by 46 runs at Anderson Park, Hastings.
Cornwall won the toss and elected to bowl as the villagers mustered 4-191 in their allotted overs. No 4 Harry Young was unbeaten on 78 while opener Riyan Perera provided a platform of 38 although they were a dozen wides in 24 extras.
In reply Cornwall were skittled for 145 with an over to spare with No 7 Rohan Fendall managing a run-a-ball 45.
Baljeet Singh took 3-25 while Robert Fridd, veteran Jared Priest and Perera, the most frugal, backed him up with two scalps each.
Innovate Electrical Napier Technical Old Boys CC (NTOB) had too much muscle for CHB when they walloped them by 10 wickets at Nelson Park, Napier.
CHB won the toss and padded up to accrue 6-217 with veteran Scott Schaw scoring 74 runs at No 4 after opener George Cranswick laid a decent platform of 49.
In reply, the reigning national club champions eclipsed the target with 218 in 31.2 overs with openers Craig Findlay and Kurtis Weekes putting them to the sword with unbeaten centuries.
Findlay, who is the CEO of HB Cricket, carved up his 100 runs from 90 balls, including 10 fours and four sixes.
Teenage wicketkeeper Weekes was 101 from one fewer delivery, including a dozen boundaries and three sixes.
At Taradale Park, the You Travel-sponsored hosts had the measure of The Station Napier Old Boys' Marist (NOBM) by six wickets.
NOBM won the toss but were could only post 115 runs with two balls to spare after Taradale schoolboy Harry Cooper claiming 5-12 with his right-arm off spinners, including a maiden in the 5.1-over spell.
Opener Joe Collings-Well eked out 44 runs from 68 balls but the rest looked like they were trying to beat the heat through the revolving door of an air-conditioned lobby.
The Maroons carved up 4-177 in 26.4 overs left hander Callum Hewetson top scored with 41 runs at No 4 after opener Steven Phillips laid down 35.
Cooper, who attends Hastings Boys' High School, was unbeaten on 97 against Napier Boys' High School the day before so his Taradale prem teammates gave him a rousing ovation when he got to three more runs on Sunday on the way to 21 not out at No 5 to ensure the match was dusted with Josh Jones (9no).
The 17-year-old, who switched from Taradale High to HBHS last year for more batting time as a first XI player, was a medium pacer but started tweaking two years ago due to back issues.