All possible match outcomes were still alive by the late afternoon, but ultimately Treadwell Gordon Wanganui folded their tent 52 runs short of Taranaki's sporting declaration at Victoria Park on Sunday.
Set 243 to win in just under 50 overs after Taranaki's Twenty20-style blast in their second innings, Wanganui were dismissed for 190 after they were not able to form an anchor partnership through the chase.
Struggling at 88-6 and then 111-7, Wanganui chances received a late boost when John McIlraith, still batting down the order at representative level, smacked 42 off 20 deliveries, including two sixes and four boundaries.
"We had four wickets left when he went out there. Johnny plays his best when he's trying to hit it," said coach Warren Marr.
However, Ryan Watson (3-40) came back to get McIlraith, and although Chris Stewart (20) looked to carry on with skipper Simon Badger (16), they both fell to Watson and Callum Stuart respectively.
"We chased it all the way. We didn't die wondering," said Marr
"Experience cost us in the end, more so with the bowling."
While Watson has taken plenty of Wanganui wickets on Victoria Park in previous games, Marr said the team was able to handle him on the whole, but they struggled with the spinners and pressure from skipper Mattie Thomas (2-42).
Wanganui had Taranaki in trouble on Saturday when they were 160-8, but Thomas (52) joined dominant opening batsman Dean Robinson (130no) to put on what proved to be the matchwinning 108-run partnership, while No11 Stuart hanging around with Robinson then provided another 32 priceless runs from the final wicket.
Chasing 300 instead of a low 200's score changed the tone of the game, as Wanganui was exposed for not having a quality spinner to trundle in when the ball had lost its shine.
"We've got what we got [for players]," said Marr.
"We just got to get more balls in the right area, especially coming back in the second spell."
At their turn to bat, Wanganui's concentration would waver at key moments - as Thomas Walshe had two busts as opener, while all the other top order batsmen got at least one good start but couldn't carry on.
Schoolboy Trey Bidois had been courageous on day 1 in scoring 61 not out and getting Wanganui back into the game, but despite Marr's discussion about starting all over again the next morning, he went in the first over after hitting the ball up in the air.
"Too many guys getting starts and getting out," said Marr.
Watching it all on Sunday was Canadian allrounder Akash Gill, denied the chance to play after NZ Cricket enforced the rules on having only one overseas player, not willing to provide dispensation since Wanganui became a competitive team again over the last season.
Englishman Greg Smith, who has been playing here for three seasons, will be considered a local player if he returns after this summer, but for now, Marr must choose between the two.
The coach will also scour the local scene to see if there is someone who would fit the spinner role when the team heads to Palmerston North to face Manawatu in a fortnight.
One bright spot was the two neighbours willingness to play positive, attacking cricket saw them both rewarded on the Furlong Cup table under the new bonus points system.
Taranaki leads the table, while in the other games, Hawke's Bay and Manawatu picked up first innings points wins over Wairarapa and Horowhenua Kapiti respectively.
Wanganui's six bonus points from the game still has them ahead of the other beaten teams, despite taking the only outright loss of the weekend.
Taranaki 1st Innings
P Ingram lbw b S Badger 14
D Robinson not out 130
R Fleming ct C Stewart b R Kinnerley 1
J McDougall b S Badger 7
K Boshier ct M Fraser b R Kinnerley 8
L Muggeridge b R Kinnerley 9
M Hartmann b T Bidois 16
P Barraclough lbw b S Badger 5
R Watson ct B Grant b S Badger 17
M Thomas b T Bidois 52
C Stuart not out 8
Total 300-9 declared (82 overs).
Bowling: R Kinnerley 20 overs, 4 maidens, 47 runs, 3 wickets; S Badger 21-2-91-4; C O'Leary 12-4-28-0; A Dinwiddie 9-0-44-0; T Bidois 8-0-44-2; C Stewart 8-1-16-0; M Fraser 4-0-13-0.
Wanganui 1st Innings
T Walshe b C Stuart 4
G Smith ct R Fleming b R Watson 0
T Bidois ct D Robinson b S Smith-Luond 61
R Kinnerley ct P Ingram b C Stuart 0
M Simes ct R Fleming b R Watson 35
M Fraser ct P Barraclough b C Stuart 27
B Grant lbw b M Thomas 12
S Badger lbw b R Watson 49
J McIlraith ct S Smith-Luond b M Thomas 29
C Stewart lbw b M Thomas 0
A Dinwiddie not out 0
Total: 235 (62.1 overs).
Bowling: R Watson 16-3-51-3; C Stuart 10-1-56-3; S Smith-Luond 8-1-45-1; M Thomas 18.1-6-45-3; P Ingram 2-0-2-0; K Boshier 8-3-29-0.
Taranaki 2nd Innings
P Ingram ct T Bidois b A Dinwiddie 38
D Robinson ct S Badger b A Dinwiddie 60
J McDougall ct G Smith b T Bidois 2
K Boshier ct T Walshe b C Stewart 43
L Muggeridge ct G Smith b T Bidois 6
M Hartmann run out (S Badger, B Grant) 11
R Watson ct R Kinnerley b C O'Leary 1
R Fleming not out 4
M Thomas not out 2
Total 177-7 declared (24 overs).
Bowling: R Kinnerley 4-0-30-0; S Badger 6-0-38-0; M Fraser 4-0-24-0; A Dinwiddie 4-0-23-2; T Bidois 3-0-25-2; B Grant 1-0-11-0; C O'Leary 1-0-7-1; C Stewart 1-0-13-1.
Wanganui 2nd Innings
T Walshe b C Stuart 1
R Kinnerley ct M Hartmann b C Stuart 26
T Bidois ct P Barraclough b R Watson 0
G Smith b S Smith-Luond 37
M Simes ct J McDougall b M Thomas 12
M Fraser ct L Muggeridge b M Thomas 28
B Grant ct L Muggeridge b K Boshier 5
S Badger ct R Watson b C Stuart 16
J McIlraith b R Watson 42
C Stewart lbw b R Watson 20
A Dinwiddie not out 0
Total: 190 (42.5 overs).
Bowling: R Watson 12-2-40-3; C Stuart 8.5-1-39-3; M Thomas 11-1-42-2; S Smith-Luond 4-1-12-1; K Boshier 3-0-19-1; R Fleming 2-0-18-0; MH Hartmann 2-0-18-0.
Result: Taranaki beat Wanganui by 52 runs.