He went to collect the trophy a day earlier than intended, but Wanganui Renegades captain Ben Heap is still proud of his side's overall season consistency to lift the Bullocks Premier 2 Pro 40 title in the wake of today's final being cancelled.
New Zealand Cricket, in conjunction with its regional associations, agreed to cancel all community cricket for the rest of the summer on Wednesday, following medical advice in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
This included the Pro 40 final between the unbeaten Renegades, and the desperately unlucky David Jones Motors United 2nd XI, who will have to settle with being bridesmaids for another season.
Last year, United finished runnerup in all three Premier 2 finals to different teams – losing the Holiday Round playoff to Renegades, the Twenty20 title to Wicket Warriors Whanganui, and the Pro 40 crown to the Matt Burke Engineering Marton Saracens.
The two big rivals in this grade, Renegades and United never got to meet in Pro 40 this season, as the two rounds out of 10 which were rained off – October 19 and February 2 – were both when they were scheduled to face each other.
"I feel for them," Heap said about United yesterday, before visiting Cricket Wanganui's Jordan Healy to collect the silverware.
Nonetheless, Renegades had been unbeaten in the campaign, whereas United lost to the Wicket Warriors by 96 runs back on November 16.
That gave Renegades the advantage going into both last weekend's semifinals and again today for the final in the event of the usual reason for a cricket cancellation – the rain.
Renegades have now swept the season's Premier 2 trophies, as they had won the Bullocks Twenty20 title back on February 1 with an eight wicket win in the final against Wicket Warriors, after previously dispatching, you guessed it, higher qualifier United in the semifinal by 10 runs.
"That [clean sweep] was our goal, we're rapt with that. Stoked, although a bit of an anti-climax," Heap said.
The skipper rated his team's strongest performance of the summer as being last weekend in the seven wicket win against Saracens, where Renegades bowled the defending champions out for 155, thanks to a team bowling effort from Adam Heap (3-29), Roger Moore (2-19) and Matt Deighton (2-27).
The top order then complimented the bowling, as Renegades chased down their target with 14 overs to spare, led by Josh Trillo (35) and Adam Heap (68 not out).
"The way Josh and Adam batted – the way Josh started, got the run rate up there, and Adam was able to build," said Ben Heap.
What proved to be a season-defining effort, although nobody realised how important at the time, was Ryan Balsley's rear guard action with Deighton for their three wicket win over Marton in the final round robin match on March 7.
After Saracens had raised a challenging 193/8, the Renegades were in a little trouble at 133/7 when Balsley walked out to join the No 5 batsman Deighton.
Having time but not wickets on their side, the pair put on a 64-run partnership, Deighton unbeaten on 38 and Balsley on 24 to bring up the winning runs in the 31st over and guarantee they finished top qualifier ahead of United.
In the season MVP standings, courtesy of CricHq, United's Lovedeep Singh finished top of the list, just ahead of team mate Jamie Whiteman.
Singh took 17 wickets at an average of just 10.76, while also picking up a couple of catches.
Whiteman got 12 wickets at 7.25, with a run rate of 3.39, plus took a catch and scored 127 runs at 25.40.
Third overall was Renegade's Adam Heap, who scored 193 runs at an average of 38.60, made a catch and took 11 wickets at 12.00 with a RPO of 3.67.
Heap was third for bowlers and second for batsmen, behind Marton's NZ Over 50s rep Andrew Spence, who scored 202 runs at an average of 50.50, including the highest score of 99 not out.
Renegades will take the Pro 40 trophy to their prizegiving tonight, a small affair between the wider squad of 15 players.