The final of the Coastal Challenge competition turned into a last-wicket cliff-hanger at Kena Kena Park in Paraparaumu on Saturday.
Property Brokers Whanganui United were determined finally to claim the title, while the Paraparaumu Medical Centre Cricket Club were trying to chalk up another trophy.
This now well-established competition pits Whanganui, Wairarapa and Horowhenua-Kapiti club sides against each other throughout a long season. United won the toss and elected to bat on a good-paced pitch with a spongy outfield.
United were positive early and reached 75/2 in the 15th over when they lost top-scorer Andrew Penn for 38 off 44 balls. Despite some handy starts, the innings lost momentum and United soon found themselves at 108/6 with more than 20 overs left.
But Brendon Walker 23, Tom Lance 31 and Robbie Power 17 all contributed and pushed their side towards a total of 200-plus. They fell 10 runs shy and were bowled out 190 in the 47th over. Paraparaumu's opening bowler Dale McNamara took 4-23 off 8.5 overs and he was well supported by Kamal Patel with 3-25 off his full 10 overs.
United knew they were 20 runs short of a genuinely defendable total so would need to bowl and field at their very best to have any chance.
Paraparaumu lost Ajay Kumar early but soon took control of the match. Their batsmen were lucky some of their skied shots fell just short of fielders, and a couple of very close decisions went in their favour.
The United fielders would also rue a handful of difficult catches that were dropped that might have also swayed the game. Byron Gill (37) and Jordan Horrell (45) helped take Paraparaumu to 162/3 in the 38th over and it appeared they were cruising to another Coastal final victory.
However, an exciting twist in the tail was about to occur. Top-scorer Dylan Reder was bowled by Brendon Walker for 57 and a door slightly opened for United to at least put the home side under some pressure.
The bowlers took this opportunity, with the impressive John Beale bowling Tim Lambert and Paraparaumu was now five down with 24 still required. Two runs later, Walker trapped Nigel Harvey in front and in the blink of an eye, the score was suddenly 169/6 and the game was back on.
The tension at the ground went up another level when Sean Windle was bowled by John Beale with the score at 172. Paraparaumu still required 19 for victory but now United only needed three more wickets.
Every run was now greeted with loud applause as the United side put on the squeeze. A handy little partnership of 15 between James Logan and Dale McNamara then took the game back towards the home side.
But then Logan skied a ball to the square leg boundary in an attempt to finish the game only for Zak Guiniven to take the catch under huge pressure. Paraparaumu now required four runs to win and United needed 2 wickets to win.
United's seamer Simon Badger then clean-bowled Dale McNamara with a ball that kept a little low but knocked his the stumps out of the ground. One wicket or four runs required, the game on a knife's edge, United had fought their way back by taking an incredible 6 wickets for 25.
Paraparaumu's tail-enders played sensibly and patiently took three singles before sprinting through for a leg bye to take a thrilling one-wicket victory in the 47th over.
Beale was outstanding in taking 3-20 off his 10 overs and he constantly troubled the batsmen. Badger took 2-24 off his five overs and Walker took two important wickets to start United's fightback.
The well-organised Paraparaumu side once again takes home the trophy but, while United will be disappointed, they almost pulled off an unlikely comeback victory.