CIYMS and Instonians served up a ‘Battle of Belmont’ as they went toe-to-toe in the NCU Premier League on Saturday.
Two local heavyweights clashed in a pulsating contest which had a little bit of everything.
When one seemed in the ascendency, the other counterattacked, with CIYMS emerging with the narrowest victory by just two runs.
Seven hours after it began, it all came down to the last delivery of the game.
Two overs left and CI seemed to finally have it wrapped up. Inst required 35, Justin Kemp bowling the 49th, Nathan Smith on strike.
When the first two balls landed in the nearby hockey pitch, fingernails were taking a pounding on the CI balcony.
Fourteeen was needed off the last over to win.
In his second spell Johnny Thompson had already removed both James Shannon and Rusty Theron.
Smith was on strike and they scampered two, the next ball was calmly dispatched for four.
Surely Instonians, having done it three times already this season, were not going to pull off another last over victory?
Smith removed his sweater, followed by a dead ball, adding to the tension.
Thompson then steamed in, producing the perfect length delivery and the timber scattered.
Smith looked to the heavens and JT took off with the aeroplane celebration, you got a sense of how much this meant to him.
Robert McKinley hit his first ball for two and a missfield produced three from the penultimate ball, leaving Stephen Bunting with two to tie and three to win.
He missed, Chris Dougherty rushed up to complete the stumping and the Thompson jet took off again, marking a five-wicket haul, but more importantly the first league points of the season for CI.
Earlier, CI batting first, made steady progress, 69 off the first 15 overs, just as they passed 100, James Shannon had Nigel Jones in a tangle and he chipped the ball to Ben Rose in the covers.
Justin Kemp arrived in the NCU with a great reputation but had struggled with his timing on slower pitches; not today. At first content to nudge it around and play second fiddle to Dougherty.
Dougherty greeted the arrival of Nathan Smith with three beautifully timed fours in an over.
Having applauded Doc’s century only to find the scoreboard was malfunctioning; Kemp decided he wanted to get to 50 first, taking 20 from the 42nd over bowled by Andrew White including two huge straight sixes, not brute force but sheer timing.
Dougherty seemed a little circumspect now but his ton did come, he was out shortly after for 113, 138 balls, 15 boundaries and a maximum, 148 in partnership with Kemp.
Robert McKinley was next to suffer, no doubting his effort as his exaggerated follow through makes you think he will nose dive into the turf but in the 46th over he had the 6,6,4 treatment.
In the final over Kemp looking to go big again hit Theron high and McKinley had some small revenge taking a decent catch. Good players they say make it look easy and Kemp certainly ticked the boxes for me, 95 from 94 balls, 8x4s, 5x6s.
After Neil Russell departed for a quick-fire 18, Instonians through Nikolai Smith and Andrew White looked untroubled, indeed matching the rate set by CI earlier.
It came as a complete shock when on 84, Rajavelu deceived him and John Matchett took one of his three fine catches. He faced 102 balls with 10 boundaries.
Smith and Shannon continued serenely adding 54 until Kemp trapped the former lbw for 77, then with the run rate beginning to rise it was time for Thompson to take centre stage.