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Happy days . . . The Waikoikoi cricket team celebrate winning the Southland T-20 Cricket competiton after beating Marist by eight wickets at Queens Park, on Sunday. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

As the Waikoikoi cricket lads lined up for another final, the thoughts of the past four years would have run through their minds.

The team had lost the Southland T20 Cricket League Trophy to Marist each time.

But Sunday’s match was a little different – Waikoikoi won.

Captain Jared McKenzie was ecstatic his team walked away from the match with the trophy in tow.

“We’re absolutely stoked,” McKenzie said.

“There’s always been a bit of a rivalry between the two teams.”

Waikoikoi won the match comfortably by eight wickets at Queens Park.

Marist won the toss and elected to bat first but the Waikoikoi bowlers worked hard and restricted Marist to a score of 140 for nine wickets in 20 overs.

“We actually bowled pretty well.

“We kept them to 140 on a pretty good pitch. Everyone played their part.”

Pace-bowlers Kurt Thompson and Warrack McKenzie were efficient, taking five wickets between them.

“We brought on some spin bowlers next just to keep their run rate down.”

The ability of Waikoikoi opening batsmen Todd Thayer and Rhuebyn Prattley to score boundaries put the team in a good position.

Prattley made 58 runs off 25 balls, including eight fours and three sixes before he was stumped.

Thayer ended unbeaten on 64, scored off 36 balls, with seven fours and three sixes.

“Rhuebyn was going at about 10 runs an over and Todd was just smashing it everywhere.”

By the 10th over, McKenzie was quietly confident his side had it in the bag.

“We needed about 30 runs and we were only two down.”

Only three more overs were required for Waikoikoi to be named champion.

Earlier in the day, Waikoikoi beat the Southland Barbarians by four wickets in its semifinal.

Southland was all out for 63 and in reply, Waikoikoi made 69 runs for the fall of six wickets.

“We were like six down for 64 in that semi… we blew the cobwebs out in that game.”

A strategic change in the batting order for the final paid off.

“We opened with Rhuebyn batting instead of having him down at seven.

“It just let him go out and hit it everywhere.”

Waikoikoi last won the competition five years ago, when it beat Southland Boys’ High School.