Often it is unwelcome in summer sport but rain can become a friendly ghost when a result starts looking grim.

The Pay Excellence Hawke's Bay senior men's representative cricket team discovered that when they came agonisingly close to an outright victory over Whanganui in their Furlong Cup qualifying match at Victoria Park on Sunday.

"There was nothing else we could do. We did as good as we can in bowling brilliantly and almost had them there," said Matt Edmondson who was unbeaten on 201 runs at first drop after the visitors declared at 365/6 on Saturday before having the hosts looking up to the heavens for respite at 47/5 and finding traction with the weather gods the day after.

Edmondson took personal satisfaction from his stellar knock that included 19 boundaries and four sixes from 191 deliveries but was philosophical about rain robbing them of an outright victory and having to settle for a first-innings one.

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"It was good to get on the board so early in the season to find momentum to keep going so, yeah, I was quite stoked," said the 25-year-old Findex accountant from Napier.

It was the Innovate Electrical Napier Technical Old Boys CC premier cricketer's fifth century for the Bay men after Whanganui were made to follow-on on account of an anaemic first dig that fell 177 runs short of the Bay innings.

The wicketkeeper became a double-ton scorer for the first time in the history of Bay men's cricket in March this year in a Hawke Cup challenge match against Nelson at Saxton Oval on March 1 this year, after his maiden double century (229) against Wairarapa in 2017. It was another chapter to add to an illustrious Bay cricket history with a third to push him into an exclusive membership at the weekend.

Despite succumbing to Taranaki at Nelson Park, Napier, in the opening round Edmondson suspected they had overtaken their slayers after the former's game was abandoned due to rain so the rub of the green at the weekend had favoured the Bay.

In March, he disclosed his desire to try to push for higher honours with the Central Districts Stags side in the domestic arena but remained circumspect about his chances.

"They've got a hard team to crack so it's like a tough one and all I can do is just keep playing and if the opportunity arises it'll be there otherwise it's just how it goes."

Angus Schaw joined the 100-wicket club at Victoria Park but Whanganui had questioned the umpires' decision on a delivery when he was batting on Saturday. Photo / Lewis Gardner
Angus Schaw joined the 100-wicket club at Victoria Park but Whanganui had questioned the umpires' decision on a delivery when he was batting on Saturday. Photo / Lewis Gardner

Edmondson acknowledged the importance of building significant partnerships with Heretaunga Building Society Cornwall CC opening batsman Bayley Wiggins who had scored 63 runs before No 7 Angus Schaw and No 8 Todd Watson contributed 38 and 46, respectively, to the collective cause.

He said the Bay team had given a standing ovation to the 100th scalps each that Ruahine Motors Central Hawke's Bay CC spinner Schaw and You Travel Taradale CC seamer Ben Stoyanoff had claimed during the match.

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"The whole team were really excited for them because we knew they only had a couple of wickets to get so when they did it made up for a good weekend for milestones for quite a few guys."

Schaw took 3-29 from 16.4 overs, including five maidens, to be the most frugal (1.74) in the first innings after coming on at second change.

In the second dig, he didn't claim any scalps from five overs, including three maidens, and conceding five runs on what had been deemed as a damp wicket that wasn't going to offer tweakers much profit.

"I think we took the game with a spin approach, especially with Kyle Gardiner bowling so well," said Schaw of the CHB club West Australian import, delighted to tick that feat off the list after finally getting there.

Leg spinner Gardiner took 3-74 from 18 overs, including a maiden, at first change in the first innings and then followed it up with 2-8 in the second innings from four overs, including two maidens.

Schaw said the Bay had adopted a stance of patience to work out the batsmen's mind set.

"We vary our pace and what not so it doesn't matter what the pitch is like when you've got Ben bowling so well at the other end it makes it so much easier."

Hawke's Bay bowler Ben Stoyanoff proved to be a handful on his way to claiming 100 wickets in Whanganui. Photo / File
Hawke's Bay bowler Ben Stoyanoff proved to be a handful on his way to claiming 100 wickets in Whanganui. Photo / File

Opening merchant Stoyanoff took 2-39 in the first innings from 11 overs, including three maidens, before backing it up with 3-32 from 10 overs, including two maidens, in the second one.

Schaw said it was pretty cool he and Stoyanoff were able to achieve the same milestone in a game.

"We've been playing cricket alongside and against each other since we were 15 years so it was a nice feeling that we were able to complete it together."

Hopefully, he said, other milestones were around the corner for them in the future.

Whanganui were reportedly a little acrimonious Schaw had derailed their mid-innings fight back when bowler Akash Gill had doubled him over for an lbw shout or for feathering an inside edge that had spooned into a fielder's hands.

The umpires had deemed the Bay batsman to be not out after some deliberation, much to the hosts' dismay although they were guilty of grassing four catching opportunities.

"All I can say is we've got pretty good umpires at Hawke Cup level and that's the decision they made," a bemused Schaw said.

"I didn't think I was out so I wasn't just going to walk off," he said. "They should worry about getting Matt Edmondson out into 200 rather than worry about little Angus Schaw at 30 at the other end."

The Dave Castles-coached Bay outfit were reportedly slick in their fielding, too.

Batsman Dominic Thompson captained the Bay team after regular skipper and CHB teammate Jacob Smith withdrew due to a knee injury suffered in the premier men's club encounter.

"Dom took over the reins and really did a good job," Edmondson said.

The Chapple Cup one-day competition will be staged at Nelson Park this weekend before the Bay host perennial arch rivals Manawatu in the next Furlong Cup encounter.