The game petered out to a draw, thanks to rain, but few players at Forest Gate Domain in Ongaonga were left in doubt of the contribution James Mackie has made to premier men's club cricket in Hawke's Bay.
"He's a great competitor, a good player and a good club man," said Ruahine Motors Central Hawke's Bay CC coach Daniel Drepaul of Mackie after his side shared the points with Heretaunga Building Society Cornwall CC in round three of the Property Brokers 55-over competition on Saturday.
At 38, Mackie is on an if-you-need-me basis now after racking up 200 premier matches for his club a fortnight ago.
Drepaul said the former Pay Excellence Hawke's Bay senior men's representative cricketer had a knack for turning their fortunes around and that made him valuable.
"He comes in at crunch times so there aren't too many players you can bring in at times like that," the coach said.
A reliable top-order batsman in one-dayers, Mackie often dropped to middle order in the longer formats but also had the uncanny ability to take scalps as a part-timer when the captain chucked him a ball when opposition batsmen would forge defiant partnerships.
He was part of the Wanganui Collegiate first XI team who won the Gillette Cup in 1997 to claim bragging rights as the best secondary schoolboys' outfit in the country.
Running the AMP Leith Mackie insurance business in partnership with his father Tim and Brian Leith in Waipukurau, Mackie was recalled to the Bay senior men's rep team in 2013 after then coach Lincoln Doull sought reliability during their Hawke Cup campaign.
He said with a young family now, making the travel early Saturday mornings to Napier were becoming a challenge.
It was pleasing to find up to 18 players training in CHB nowadays compared to a few years ago when they managed only half a dozen.
"It's time for the younger boys to step up," said the cricketer who is proud to have scored a century against other Bay clubs.
The best was the unbeaten 101 runs against Innovative Electrical Napier Technical Old Boys in the title-winning one-day final at Ongaonga in December 2012.
Not a bowler, Mackie said he had to roll up his sleeves to help Drepaul because in those days finding 11 players, never mind cricketers, was always tough so the pair had to devise cunning plans for the past few years.
For him the camaraderie with teammates was the highlight although it was about competing at a higher level.
"I was never going to be a Black Cap but I played for Hawke's Bay and that was the highlight for me as a club cricketer."
Mackie considered it an honour to play alongside and against the players of the ilk of Lance Hamilton, Kruger van Wyk, Doug Bracewell, Mathew Sinclair and Blair Tickner.
"We're very fortunate in New Zealand to rub shoulders and to train and play with and against the very elite guys because you don't get that anywhere else in the world.
"We're so lucky at CHB, you know, and we've got Josh [Clarkson] and Ticks who'll, hopefully, push on to for Black Caps because we've only got 16 cricketers in CHB."
Mackie said he was very proud CHB were still competitive with blokes travelling up to 90 minutes just to train.
He is still involved with the rugby club in the region and administratively to help out.
In other matches on Saturday, You Travel Taradale CC claimed a first-innings victory over The Station Napier Old Boys' Marist at Taradale Park.
The Luke Kenworthy-captained hosts were skittled for 179 runs in 54.3 overs on the platform of No 8 batsman Jeremy Stoyanoff's unbeaten 57 runs, including one boundary and six sixes.
"Jeremy's got back home again and is a good addition to the team," said Kenworthy, who made 27 runs, of Stoynaoff who has returned from university in Wellington.
Nihal Shilhar (3-31) and Campbell Tait (3-58) were the pick of the bowlers for NOBM.
In reply, the Ashish Gurung-skippered visitors were skittled for 99 runs in 35 overs.
Shilar was the only one to offer any resistance with 42 runs at first drop before becoming a victim of opening seamer Ben Stoyanoff who finished with 3-24.
At Anderson Park, Reynard Health Supplies Havelock North CC gave table-topping NTOB a timely reminder not to get too carried away in Christmas holiday festivities.
The villagers claimed a first-innings win after NTOB captain Liam Rukuwai won the toss and elected to bat.
Only No 7 Rukuwai (11 runs) and No 9 Robbie Brigham (10) got into double figures after the visitors were skittled for a paltry 71 runs from 36.2 overs.
Admirably Havelock North bowlers — captain Bradley Schmulian, William Clark, Hamish Jackson, Pete Marffy — all shared the honours, claiming two wickets each.
In reply, the villagers stuttered to 72/5 in 42.4 overs with wicketkeeper Henderson unbeaten on 21 runs at No 7 while No 4 Clark showed patience with 20 from 77 balls.
Opening seamer Rukuwai took 3-16 as the pick of the Texans' bowlers.
While the nature of the result smacks of a loaded bowling wicket, one can surmise NTOB coach Jesse Ryder, who also batted at No 5 for seven runs, would be expecting much better discipline from his batsmen with the New Zealand Club Knockout Cup qualifiers beckoning against Red Star (Wairarapa qualifiers) in Masterton on January 20 before the top Central Districts premier men's club is decided in a weekend round of matches in Palmerston North later in summer.
NTOB are the national defending champions of the limited-overs competition.
The Hawke's Bay premier men's competition goes into recess now until the 55-over competition resumes with round four on January 12.