An improving Mitre 10 MEGA Upper Hutt premier cricket side went down to the competition leading Eastern Suburbs in Ewen Chatfield Cup play on Saturday.
Easts, the defending champions, walked away comfortable winners from the 50-over game but Upper Hutt did enough to confirm their recent run of good form is a durable thing.
In winning, Easts guaranteed themselves a place in the second-round Pearce Cup while, in contrast and with just one round to play, the locals' chances to do the same probably slipped away with the defeat.
Easts, with the Wellington Firebirds batsman Josh Brodie (39) leading the way, batted first on the Barton Oval wicket at Trentham Memorial Park.
Upper Hutt used seven bowlers in restricting the crack club title contenders to 186 for eight of the full 50 overs.
Several other batsmen made starts alongside Brodie but none got away from the locals' accurate attack and fielding.
The young spinner Andrew McHugh had the best figures, snaring three wickets (including Brodie) for 18 runs off his eight overs while Justin Davies also picked up three batsmen, for 29.
In reply Upper Hutt started solidly enough and a near 50-run third wicket partnership between the in-form Matt Taylor and the veteran Grant Donaldson raised hopes.
When Taylor went, caught and bowled for 32 off 39 balls, including four boundaries, there was an almost immediate rattle of wickets with two victims falling at 79.
Donaldson (23 off 61) battled hard and long but apart from an injection from the all rounder Ollie Newton, who gathered 24 off 30 balls, there was too little of real substance in the Upper Hutt effort.
Easts' Lance Dry (4-17) and Ronald Karatiana (3-10) respectively, did the bulk of the damage as Upper Hutt were dismissed for 147 in the 42nd over, two runs short of denying Easts a bonus point.
Upper Hutt are away to Petone-Eastbourne on Saturday.
- Upper Hutt Leader