Hawke's Bay senior representative men's cricket team are the Chapple Cup champions after grinding down Manawatu in Napier tonight.
The Dominic Thompson-captained side beat their neighbours across the other side of the defunct gorge by 63 runs in the final of the annual Central Districts inter-district one-day at Nelson Park.
The victory for the Pay Excellence-sponsored team came on the foundation of opening batsman Bayley Wiggins' 106 runs and spinner Angus Schaw's 4-31 from 9.1 overs, including a maiden.
"It was a good allround performance from everyone, really," said Schaw after Thompson won the toss and elected to pad up for a total of 280/9 in their allotted 50 overs. "I don't think there was one person who didn't do their job."
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The Ruahine Motors Central Hawke's Bay cricketer was right in his overview but it still detracted from a tourney where batsmen profited bullishly from a traditionally flat track baking under the relentless Bay sun while the bowlers bend and broke their backs on a highway project of containment.
For the likes of Schaw and Manawatu paceman Brad Fulton to take 4-56 is equally bullish on an inflated batting economy.
Schaw found amiable support from his tweaking allies — Jayden Lennox 2-39, Kyle Gardiner 1-27, Bradley Schmulian 0-38 — who all championed frugality in shearing gang-like fashion in helping stifle the Manawatu batsmen.
That is not to say the speed merchants of Ben Stoyanoff and Angus McKnight weren't wicket savvy but they just weren't the horses for the course, especially on the final day.
Medium pacer Todd Watson also had chimed in with 1-24 to ensure the run rate remained below five an over.
Neither should it take the gloss off Heretaunga Building Society Cornwall CC cricketer Wiggins who patiently carved up his second career century for Bay men from 145 deliveries, including 10 boundaries.
"Bayley led us throughout the two to three days ... but it's an outstanding team and we're on a great high so I'm sure we'll do some more special things with this team," Schaw said.
He said the Manawatu batsmen were always going to throw their willow at the new ball and the fielders pushed out due to fielding restrictions at the start of their innings so the Dave Castle-coached outfit were mindful of rolling in the spinning cavalry sooner rather than later following three days of wear and tear for wickets at regular intervals.
"We never panicked after their start because, you know, we had it under control."
Despite meeting Manawatu in the final, the Bay had found therapy in exorcising the demons after beating Taranaki by 15 runs first up on Friday. Taranaki had beaten them in the Chapple Cup final last year and had their measure in the opening round of the two-day Furlong cup match here early this month, in a bid to see which team earns the right from the CD catchment area to challenge for the Hawke Cup — the symbol of minor cricket association in the country.
"That was the sort of pressure we needed to carry on," Schaw said, adding the Bay intended to take that momentum into the Furlong Cup.
Luke Kenworthy (29 runs), Matt Edmondson (39), Schmulian (24), Thompson (28) and Schaw (17) had contributed to the Bay's handsome total yesterday.
A chuckling Wiggins had reflected on the first-ball duck after 96 runs on Friday to show he had the resilience and fortitude that Stags selectors had recognised in giving him his Super Smash Twenty20 debut last summer as well as keeping him in the greater training squad throughout winter.
"I did it for the team and didn't really think about it [duck] to turn up to take it ball by ball [today]," said the 21-year-old who helps Castle mentor that Hastings Boys' High School cricket academy.
For Wiggins it has been simply about "taking care of the processes" and not "over-thinking things" in the collective summer campaign.
Asked what worked for him at the weekend, the Bay white-ball wicketkeeper replied: "I was quite good getting on the front foot."
Wiggins emphasised it was imperative as an opener to bide his time a little to ensure the new ball lost its temperament a little to come to his willow nicely.
"You can have your ups and downs but, luckily, I came out all right on the other side."
He has been relishing keeping wickets after CD protagonists asked him to add it to his repertoire.
For Manawatu, Trent Mcgrath instilled hope with 79 runs at first drop after openers Arana Noema-Barnett and Mason Hughes scored 32 and 30, respectively.
No 5 Floyd Na Nagara contributed 34 but Manawatu came up shy as they were skittled for 217 in 46.2 overs.
Marlborough beat Nelson by six wickets to lift the Cave Cup on the other side of the one-day tourney draw of a battle between the losing sides.
Having won the toss, Nelson stuck to tradition and padded up but found themselves on the anaemic side of the ledger whn they posted 8-203 in criminally 40 overs.
Nelson opening batsman Thomas Zorab grafted his way to 57 runs but the four batsmen below him got into promising double figures then got themselves into a spot of bother.
Opening left-arm seamer Nick Weaver was the pick of the eight-pronged attack with 3-34 although Tom Sutherland, Jerrym Lamb and Prabhoda Arthavidu put their hands up for Marlborough in the frugality stakes of a benign batting strip with 3.68 to under-five runs an over to frustrate Nelson.
Arthavidu was unbeaten on 82 from 92 balls, at first drop, after promising opener Ma'ara Ave, eked out 34 runs, before No 5 Luke Frankland contributed 64 not out to sew up the victory on 4-204 with 12 overs to spare to highlight Nelson's deficiency.
It also was a resounding statement on how Marlborough aren't just the dark horses causing upsets but also a force to be reckoned with, especially during the Furlong Cup campaign should anyone drop their guards.
In the other T20 matches today, Whanganui beat Wairarapa by 43 runs while Taranaki overwhelmed Horowhenua-Kapiti by 96 runs.
It was a year when CD had done away with the traditional seedings system and instead drew names out of the hat which, consequently, had pitted the Bay on a collison course with Taranaki first up.
It only rightly fuelled and endorsed the belief the winners would go on to clinch the Chapple Cup braggings rights.