Havelock North CC are the one-day premier men's club champions after they beat Central Hawke's Bay CC by four wickets in Napier today.
The Bayley's Real Estate-sponsored villagers adapted to a Nelson Park wicket quicker than the Ruahine Motors-sponsored CHB side to etch their name on the MJF Shrimpton Memorial Trophy for the third time since the Property Brokers competition began in the summer of 1989-90.
For hapless CHB, who came in as fourth qualifiers after upsetting Complete Flooring Napier Technical Old Boys' history-creating party this season in the semifinals, they'll have to wait until next summer to break that win-less hoodoo.
For the second qualifiers, the bragging rights went a long to exorcise the demons from losing the 50-over title to You Travel Taradale CC after the final was abandoned due to rain last summer.
True to his prowess, head groundsman Phil Stoyanoff and his men had created a wicket that offered a good battle between bat and ball.
It demanded patience, almost in red-ball cricket fashion, but, it seems, CHB batsmen were slow to pick up on it although that doesn't mean the Havelock North bowlers should be deprived of their dues.
Having won the toss, CHB skipper Dominic Thompson elected to bat with disastrous returns as the top order of Angus Schaw, GC Pretorius, Scott Schaw and Joshua Clarkson threw away their wickets for loose change.
Thompson, at No 5, led by example to stop the rot with an unbeaten 79 from 94 balls, including a dozen fours and a six.
The wise-old head of James Mackie came in at No 9 with 30 runs as CHB stuttered to 165 all out but they had committed a cricketing sin in pulling up shy at 42.3 overs.
Havelock North's new-ball pair of Ruan Markram and Rhythm Sharma spearhead the attack with aplomb.
Markram took 3-20 from eight overs, including two maidens, but Sharma stifled the batsmen with 1-16 from just as many overs, including a maiden, to be the most frugal.
Spinner Bradley Schmulian took 2-20 from 5.3 overs and Graeme Tryon claimed as many for 45 runs from 10 overs.
Will Clark took 1-37 from seven overs, including a maiden, and captain David Castle 1-29 from four overs.
"Our bowling was absolutely on song today from the top today with Sharma and Ru and we backed up on the field so not letting them bat 50 overs was a really good shift," said
Castle, revealing they would have bowled regardless had they won the toss.
In reply, Havelock North eclipsed the target with 166-6 and had 19 balls to spare.
Although Ben Fair could only eke out eight runs from 34 deliveries he epitomised the mind set required to occupy the crease but fellow opener James Field departed for a run when Clarkson trapped him lbw.
Schmulian showed his Central Districts Stags class at first drop to provide the platform of patience with 38 runs from 64 balls before No 5 Markram almost mirrored his feat with 37 runs from 63 deliveries although he carved up four boundaries.
No 7 Jono Whitley (28 runs/46 balls) and No 8/wicketkeeper Angus Anderson (24/26) saw Havelock North home.
"It was the three key partnerships that got us home because we didn't; t need to worry about the target or the run rate [3.88 an over] so the guys were good enough to get that done and come away home with the chocolates," said Castle.
He said the pre-match talk in the changing rooms was about putting right the wrongs from last season so they did feel for CHB.
"We know what it feels like to be in that position as well as being good mates with them off the field."
Losing a wicket before the lunch break could have been tricky but Schmulian had dug his toes in before Markram took a more aggressive approach from the other end that prompted CHB to revisit their fielding positions.
The CHB bowlers did admirably in trying to keep a leash on the batsmen, with all but one of six straying over the four runs an over mark, but they will rue not batting their 50 overs which could have been the difference.
Clarkson took 2-27 from seven overs while Pretorius, Toby Richardson, Mackie and Hamish Lewis claimed a scalp each.
CHB coach Daniel Drepaul said his players got into trouble and didn't recover as well as they should have to find themselves five down for 40 odd runs.
"The boys tried their hearts out and should hold their heads up so you can't ask any more from them," Drepaul said, congratulating the villagers on their victory.
Castle thanked Hawke's Bay Cricket for organising another final and his players for their commitment.