Property Brokers United have pulled clear on top of the table with one round remaining in the Bullocks Cricket Wanganui Long Format after the Pennefather men batted them to safety against Wanganui Collegiate at Cullinane College on Saturday.
Both the United vs Collegiate match and the St Johns Tech's game with Marist were moved away from the traditional grounds of Collegiate No1 and Victoria Park due to the week of wet weather, playing instead on artificial wickets.
Facing a red ball being pitched up on the temporary maize green pitch is difficult, but nonetheless United managed to achieve the first 200-run team innings in the four weeks of the competition, but only just against an eager schoolboy side hunting their third win on the park without defaults.
Early on, it was looking like Collegiate would get it as United slumped to 99-8.
Freddie Wilson (34 from 25 balls) was looking good, after batting partner Matthew Boswell (16) retired hurt but then returned, yet Collegiate's Hadleigh O'Leary (4-58), Beau Hourigan (2-16) and Hayden Skou took out the rest of the top and middle order in single figures.
Greg Smith, Robbie Power, Stephen Holloway, Brendon Walker and Simon Badger all departed in short order.
However, Ritesh Verma and Gerard Hobbs both reached 20 before falling victim to Skou and Charlie Greatbatch (2-48), as last man Martin Pennefather strode out to join son James.
Gifted multiple lives from three dropped catches, the younger Pennefather went on to make his largest Premier score with a defiant 62, including taking 13 runs off one over as he rode his luck and peppered the boundary with 11 four's and one big six off spinner Joel Clark.
Pennefather senior played the supporting role with 16 not out, as together they ticked over the 150 mark, then 175 and finally reached the magic 200 before James Pennefather swung a high shot that at last had someone underneath in Clark with a safe pair of hands to end the innings in the 43rd over.
Having let a golden opportunity slip to chase down just over 100 runs with plenty of overs to spare, Collegiate still started well as Greatbatch (26) and Clark (36) were positive.
However, Badger (6-40) then began to steam roll through the schoolboys, as only Hourigan (15) and O'Leary (14) reached double figures, while last weekend's century-maker Sam Sherriff was unable to back up after falling victim to Badger.
Veteran spinner Robbie Power (2-19) chipped in and from 100-9 in the 25th over, Collegiate did not get a similar final wicket stand that the Pennefather's provided, revealing just how costly those missed catches had been.
Another question to ask: How does one pick up a comfortable 41-run victory when they are defending less than 100 runs themselves?
Marist had the answer in their short match with Tech at the Whanganui High School grounds, which barely last over 50 overs in total.
Having missed two weekends in a row due to defaults, both receiving and making, Tech were boosted by the return of Canadian Under 19 start Akash Gill, who will commit to spending the winter training in Whanganui so he can meet the residency requirements to play representative level here.
Gill (3-30) and Trent Hemi (3-23) tore through the top order for Marist to be 37-4, of which 25 runs was scored by skipper Mark Fraser, which in the context of the match may as well have been a 70.
Nick Harding (19) made a good start until being run out by Bevan Hunter, while Raponi Tofa (14) and Sam O'Leary (11) were the only other batsmen to reach double figures, as Marist's lower order swung out at spinner Jess Watkin (3-16) and fell to catches.
But in response, Tech fared on better on the artificial, collapsing to 22-4 and then 25-7, as medium pacer Thomas Redpath (6-23) just got the ball right on the spot in a devastating nine over spell, as like Marist the Tech batsmen would bobble the ball around until they hit one in the air to the ring of fielders.
Tim Czerwonka (14) was one of the few to apply himself to survival, lasting 35 deliveries, as Hadleigh Reid (3-10) was able to clean up the tail in less than 25 overs.
This coming weekend will be the last for the Long Format competition, with Collegiate scheduled to take on Matt Burke Engineering Marton Saracens, while United faces Marist.
The summer will end with the Twenty20 club finals day the following week.
United 200 (J Pennefather 62, R Verma 20, G Hobbs 20; H O'Leary 4-58, B Hourigan 2-16, 2-48) bt Wanganui Collegiate 100-9 (J Clark 36, C Greatbatch 26; S Badger 6-40, R Power 2-19).
Marist 95 (M Fraser 25; J Watkin 3-16, T Hemi 3-23, A Gill 3-30) bt Tech 54 (T Czerwonka 14; T Redpath 6-23, H Reid 3-10) by 41 runs.