The smallest of margins can be decisive in finals.
It was certainly the case in yesterday's Taranaki Twenty20 premier final.
Facing his first ball, Woodleigh's Hayden Whiting was bowled by Francis Douglas Memorial College's Jordie Barrett, only to look up to see the umpire's arm out for a no ball.
Barrett's small margin of error proved arguably the difference between the two sides, as Whiting proceeded to bludgeon 60 off 32 balls, including five sixes and five fours to set up his side's 24-run victory.
He was helped by some generous bowling and a reluctance by Francis Douglas captain Sam Fastier to post a man to cow corner.
Woodleigh's batsmen took advantage, putting at least the winning margin of runs through the gap.
Still, the school side would have sat down in the Brian Bellringer pavilion at the break confident they could get the 142 runs needed, providing former international Peter Ingram could form the backbone of the innings.
For a period it looked like he would as he employed his normal stand and deliver approach as the school side raced through to 35 without loss in four overs.
The loss of Shaun Sullivan triggered a mini-collapse, however, as Francis Douglas lost three wickets without adding another run, including Ingram who followed a delivery after his opening partner.
Not surprisingly it was Whiting again to the fore as he took two cheap wickets and stalled any progress the new batsmen were trying to make on a pitch which appeared to be holding up as the match wore on.
By the end of his second spell he had 3-13 off his four overs as Francis Douglas' lack of hitting power down the order was exposed.
Whiting was reluctant to take much of the credit for the win but said the Twenty20 title was becoming increasingly important for premier players.
"It definitely is, especially with the season we are having. It's been pretty up and down, so it's good to win a title."
He said his side were confident at the break they had enough runs on the board, especially if they could grab Ingram's wicket early.
"It was a bit slow and was doing a bit, so we were happy with our total. We talked about it [Ingram's wicket] and although the rest of the boys can play, when we got his wicket we knew we had bit to do but it was certainly going to help."
Woodleigh v Francis Douglas MC Woodleigh B Bishop run out 11 H Whiting c Blanks b Meads 60 M Hartmann c & b Blanks 0 P Barraclough c Phillips b Ingram 21 D Collingwood c Riccitelli b Ingram 13 K Roycroft c Riccitelli b Ingram 0 P Sears not out 27 L Tuckett not out 2 Extras (5b, 1w, 1nb) 7 Total (6 wkts, 20 overs) 141 Fall: 44, 44, 85, 107, 108, 130 Bowling: Q Sorenson 3-0-20-1, J Barrett 2-0-16-0, P Ingram 4-0-29-3, GJ Pike 1-0-11-0, C Meads 3-0-18-0, M Blanks 4-0-18-1, S Sullivan 3-0-23. Francis Douglas P Ingram c Tuckett b Whiting 24 S Sullivan lbw Bird 10 R Riccitelli c Collingwood b Hartmann 15 S Fastier c & b Whiting 0 GJ Pike b Whiting 12 D Bernet b Hartmann 0 Q Sorenson b Hartmann 25 M Blanks c Whiting b McLeod 7 C Meads not out 18 S Phillips not out 0 Extras (2lb, 1w, 3nb) 6 Total (8wkts, 20 overs) 117 Fall: 35, 35, 35, 58, 58, 88, 90, 113 Bowling: R McLeod 4-0-20-1, S Bird 4-1-29-1, H Whiting 4-1-13-3, M Hartmann 4-0-27-2, L Tuckett 4-0-25-0. Woodleigh won by 24 runs
- © Fairfax NZ News
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