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Bat pad...Waikoikoi batsman Nathan Howden plays a defensive shot in his 18 run innings during the final of the ILT Cricket Southland premier league final on Saturday at Queens Park, Invercargill. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

With two balls to spare, Waikoikoi clinched Southland Cricket’s top trophy on Saturday.

Chasing Invercargill Old Boys’ 155 for nine in the rain-reduced 34-over game, Waikoikoi batsman Warrack McKenzie hit the ball to the boundary for the winning runs as his team reached 158 for nine.

Old Boys won the toss in the ILT premier league game at Queens Park, Invercargill and elected to bat.

Waikoikoi captain Liam McFaul said Old Boys made a good start.

“Then Ben McCall got five wickets,” McFaul said.

By the 25th over, Old Boys was struggling at 98 for eight.

However, in the next 14 overs the batsmen put on another 60 runs.

“They got away on us in the end.”

McCall was the pick of the bowlers, finishing with figures of five wickets for 24 runs off his seven overs.

“He took some key wickets.”

Taking the field to bat, the Waikoikoi players knew Old Boys had posted a competitive score.

“We were still confident we could chase it down.”

Opening batsmen Todd Thayer (22) and Kurt Thompson (14) started well and were finding the boundary.

Each went out to an aerial shot that found a capable pair of hands.

Then the downward spiral started for Waikoikoi as wickets started to fall.

By the end of the 10th over the score was 45 for four.

At this point, a partnership between McFaul and Nathan Howden of 44 runs edged Waikoikoi back into the game.

Exit McFaul in the 20th over and Howden in the 21st, and the odds swung back into Old Boys’ favour, the score 111 for six.

Fortunately for Waikoikoi, the last four batsmen scored the runs.

“It came right down to it at the end,” McFaul said.

The team was top of the table going into the semifinals and only had lost two of its 15 games.

“We only lost games when guys were away on Hawke Cup duties.”

The strength of the team was that all the players were of a similar ability, he said.

“We’re a good all-round team.”