With regional pride on the line, the Attrill Cup representative match between long-time Bay of Plenty cricket rivals Rotorua and Tauranga turned into a real battle to the end.
Black Caps express bowler Trent Boult was quickly into action, taking a wicket with the third ball of the game. However, Rotorua dug in to post 209 when they were dismissed in the last scheduled over of their innings.
Peter Wood led the way with a solid 39 runs, and L. Solanki was also in a defiant mood, scoring 38. In his first year out of secondary school, Tommy Clout returned Tauranga's best bowling figures of 4/29, Tom MacRury and Trent Boult grabbing two wickets apiece.
Home side Rotorua quickly gained the early advantage, having Tauranga in real trouble at six wickets down with 70 runs on the board. Another Tauranga youngster, new Greerton player Cameron Neal, steadied the ship with a gritty 45.
The home side still had the momentum when former Canterbury player Corey Anderson and Boult came together with just two wickets in hand. Anderson took aim at the boundaries and blasted a quick-fire 47 not out, with Boult 17 not out at the end to see Tauranga home. Skipper Jono Boult contributed a handy 30 runs in his side's two-wicket victory.
The Rotorua bowlers had such early success that twice they were sitting on hat-tricks. Jayvant Dhanjee was the best of his side's bowling attack taking 3-23, with Prashant Dhanjee removing two Tauranga batsmen.
In the other game played, the Mount Maunganui/Te Puke combined team were also made to fight for victory by Eastern Bay of Plenty, despite chasing a relatively modest total.
Batting first on an outstanding grass wicket at Rex Morepeth Park in Whakatane, the home team were dismissed for 141. Guest batsman Elliot Timoti top-scored with 38, while Eastern Bay stalwart Alex Yates contributed 35 runs. Bay of Plenty quick bowler Tony Goodin took 3/15 with Dale Swan, Daniel Hill and Jeremy Bates taking two wickets apiece.
Ben Guild (47) and Peter Drysdale (31) were the main contributors in the combined team's four-wicket win. The Eastern Bay bowlers made sure the visitors had to battle for the win, with Scott Steward and Joel Mathews the pick with two wickets each.