If a metaphor for cricket is the batsman is the lead guitarist of the band, then three of them got to play some pretty sweet solos at Victoria Park in the latest round of the Bullocks Twenty20 this afternoon.
Property Brokers United picked up a big 59 run win over a 10-man Wanganui Vet Services Marist off an extraordinary 203-run partnership from the opening veterans Robbie Power (121 not out from 61 balls) and Gerard Hobbs (69 off 61).
The pair nearly went coast to coast before Hobbs as dismissed off the second-last delivery of the innings, but crossing with Power before he was caught so that yet another four could be hit.
While he has had many important batting cameos and match-saving innings down the order in recent years, this was Power's first century in 14 seasons for United.
He hit 15 shots to the boundary and six more over it in 77 minutes of great fun.
"It was an interesting one, it doesn't help [Marist] that they had 10 fielders," Power said.
"The ball seemed to come on alright.
"I was seeing it, got the call I was on 80 with four overs to go."
Hobbs was the perfect support partner, while striking 10 boundaries of his own.
While Hadleigh O'Leary took the wicket, he along with fellow Marist bowlers Thomas Redpath, Raponi Tofa and Hamish Harding took some fearsome stick off their overs.
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Seventeen extras, including eight wides, didn't help either.
Spinner Zak O'Keefe was the only one Power and Hobbs couldn't master, conceeding just eight runs from his three overs, while Sam Beard had reasonable Twenty20 figures with 25 runs taken off his maximum four overs.
Facing a run rate above 10 an over, while batting with one less wicket with their Unreal Grass Wicket Wanganui squad members away and captain John McIlraith injured, Marist were going to be up against it.
Instead, it looked like a real possibility so long as the laid-back O'Keefe was at the crease – bludgeoning the attack to the tune of 92 runs off just 39 balls.
Andy Manoussos (13) made a solid start, but he and Sam Beard were gone inside of five overs at 27-2, before O'Leary (16) just stuck with the whirlwind O'Keefe, who was smashing it to all points.
O'Keefe's seven boundaries and eight big sixes, larger than Power's had been, had Marist wondering what might be possible at 141-4 with four overs remaining.
So again it fell to Power (3-25), who had already dismissed O'Leary and Harding with his spinners, and would now duel with O'Keefe to decide the match.
In the fourth ball of the 17th over, O'Keefe went down to a knee to hoist Power back up into the trees, but missed the length and was bowled.
With the tail exposed, Brendon Walker (2-20) returned to the crease to break the stumps twice, as the Marist lower order could add only seven more runs before the finish.
At the school grounds, Whanganui Collegiate 1st XI continued their unbeaten streak, but at least they got a game and a decent challenge as Tech Old Boys was able to put together a playing XI and were competitive in a 17-run loss.
After Tech's Hunter Morrison (2-29) dismissed Adam Lennox with the opening ball of the game, while William Hocquard was run out in the fifth over for 28-2, Collegiate's recovery was led by Shaun O'Leary (14) being joined by captain Harry Godfrey (44 off 38 balls).
Godfrey hit two boundaries and two sixes while sharing in partnerships with O'Leary, Joel Clark (14) and Oscar McVerry (12), but Collegiate wickets still fell steadily with Quinn Mailman (3-17) the pick of the six Tech bowlers, who would give away 19 costly wides.
Raising 113-7, Collegiate needed to pin Tech down, and did so as they held them to 96-8, getting down to the tail by the end of the innings.
Tech openers Siddh Lad (18) and Kashish Nauhria (10) worked the ball around, but spinner Joel Clark (2-22) got Lad and later picked up the key wicket of Din Bandara (25 off 32).
Bandara's dismissal, along with Hunter Morrison (11) being run out and Mailman (13 from 13) getting caught behind broke the momentum Tech could have generated to get the runs.
Lennox (2-17) bowled well, as did O'Leary with 1-10 off his three conservative overs.
The next round of the Twenty20 competition will be on January 18.
United 207-1 (R Power 121no, G Hobbs 69) bt Marist 148-7 (Z O'Keefe 92; R Power 3-25, B Walker 2-20) by 59 runs.
Collegiate 113-7 (H Godfrey 44; Q Mailman 3-17, H Morrison 2-29) bt Tech 96-8 (D Bandara 25; A Lennox 2-17, J Clark 2-22) by 17 runs.