For the second year in a row, Waimate were left thinking what might have been after they lost the senior Twenty20 cricket final to Celtic by five runs at Aorangi Oval yesterday.
Chasing 147 to win, Waimate was cruising at 118 for four with five overs to go and on their way to erasing the memory of its narrow defeat in the same match last year. However, it lost the last six wickets for 23 runs to hand Celtic its fifth successive T20 competition win.
It was a familiar figure that led the way for the defending champions, with Dan Laming bludgeoning a gritty 70 when his teammates struggled to time the ball on a slow pitch.
He came to the crease at 20 for two in the fifth over and slowly began to lift the run rate.
He hit six fours and three sixes in an innings full of shots dominated by the bottom hand as he had to generate most of the power to get the ball to the boundary.
Waimate’s opening bowlers Simon Murphy (one for 29) and George Morgan (one for 16) had kept the runs to a premium early, despite Murphy missing out on a wicket from the first ball of the game thanks to a front-foot no ball.
Laming found good support from Sam Carlaw (45 not out).
The pair added 62 for the fourth wicket before Laming was bowled advancing down the wicket to spinner Glen Drake.
Waimate lacked the big score Laming had managed for his team.
They got off to a fast start going at eight runs an over after five overs but both openers Nathan Sew Hoy (4) and Scott Willoughby (28) threw their wickets away with rash shots that were not needed.
It became a theme of the innings.
Drake (31) and Alan Reid (22) added 47 for the fourth wicket with very little risk before both of them perished to poor shots when their team needed them to show composure.
The required run-rate never looked like an issue after the fast start and, with Celtic dropping three catches,Waimate just needed someone to keep a cool head in the closing overs. However, no one did. The runs dried up and two run outs followed as panic set in and Waimate found a way to undo all their good work to be bowled out for 141 with two balls left.
Laming, Carlaw and Phil Johnston each ended with two wickets for Celtic as they pulled off an unlikely victory.