Eastern Suburbs has joined Victoria University and Green Island as the only clubs to win New Zealand's NZCT National Club Cricket Championships for two years running.
Remarkably, after spending six years trying to win the title for the first time, they have now done it at the seventh and eighth attempts, with the challenge lit to become the three-peat winners next season.
Allrounder Jamie Gibson was also named Player of the Tournament for the second year running after taking four wickets in the showcase Final against Albion and sharing the match-winning stand with fellow capped Wellington Firebird Fraser Colson.
1. Eastern Suburbs (Wellington)
2. Albion (Dunedin)
3. Takapuna (Auckland, above)
4. Mount Maunganui (Northern Districts)
5. United (Palmerston North, Central Districts)
6. Old Boys Collegians (Christchurch, Canterbury)
Batsman of the tournament: Max O'Dowd (Takapuna, above)
Bowler of the tournament: Dale Swan (Mount Maunganui, above)
Allrounder of the tournament: Teja Nidamanuru (Albion, below)
Eastern Suburbs v Albion 1v2 Final
A superbly timed run chase ensured Eastern Suburbs claimed back-to-back NZCT Club Cricket Championships titles, defeating Albion by six wickets in the final at Cornwall.
Albion opted to bat first, but were kept in check by a decent Suburbs attack; no bowler going for more than five an over as the boys from Dunedin were bowled out in the final over of the innings for 194.
Josh Tasman-Jones was the pick of the batsmen at number three, scoring a measured 62 off 70 balls, including four boundaries and one six.
Jamie Gibson stepped up for Eastern with the ball, his figures of 4-32 from 10 overs the standout performance, well backed up by 3-31 from off-spinning captain Lance Dry.
Easts' batting line-up would have fancied their chances chasing fewer than 200 in fine conditions, and they made the perfect start by putting on 54 for the first wicket.
Albion got back in the fixture with some tight bowling, and had a sniff of taking the upper hand with Easts 81/3.
However, cool heads Fraser Colson (above) and Gibson put on 87 for the fourth wicket, seeing their side to the brink of victory before Colson departed one short of a half century.
Gibson backed up his efforts with the ball by doing the bulk of the remaining scoring to finish unbeaten on 61, securing the championship victory.
Albion 194 (T Cumberland 35, J Tasman-Jones 62; J Gibson 4/32, L Dry 3/31) lost to Eastern Suburbs 195/4 (A Price 32, B Orton 30, F Colson 49, J Gibson 61*)
Takapuna v Mount Maunganui 3v4 Final
The third place playoff turned into a last over classic, Takapuna squeaking home by the skin of their teeth and one wicket.
Mount Maunganui had won the toss and elected to bat first, the top three all getting starts, but no one kicking on thanks largely to a tight Takapuna effort with the ball.
At 96 for eight the game looked firmly in the Aucklanders' favour, but some solid late-order resistance from Tony Goodin (44*) ensured his side had something to bowl at, the Mount eventually bowled out in the 41st over for 167.
The Takapuna batting lineup then had to negotiate 40 minutes before the lunch break, Max O’Dowd and Dan ter Braak putting on 40 for the first wicket.
However, the introduction of captain Dale Swan to the bowling crease turned the game on its head, Swan taking a hat-trick to rip the heart out of the Takapuna top order, Mount going to lunch immediately afterwards at 44/3.
O’Dowd (77) was the only constant as wickets fell around him after the break, a double blow with the score on 155 leaving Takapuna nine down needing 13 to win.
Experienced head Ryan Scivier was joined by newcomer Vihwa Yasas and together the pair edged toward the target.
The thrilling match came down to the final over, with the men in yellow needing two to win. Yasas showed plenty of composure, blocking the first ball before lofting the second over mid-off to the boundary and securing third place for the Aucklanders.
Mount Maunganui 167 (T Goodin 44*; D James 3/30, M Jones 3/26, M Latham 3/24) lost to Takapuna 170/9 (M O’Dowd 77; D Swan 4/30)
Old Boys Collegians v United 5v6 Final
United finally registered a win on the final day of cricket, claiming a six-wicket victory over Old Boys Collegians on Cornwall number three.
Old Boys won the toss and posted 224/8 from their 50 overs, Jeff Case the pick of the batsmen with 70 at number four.
Joel Abraham was the best of the rest, his cameo of 37 ensuring Old Boys passed the 200-mark.
It was a team effort with the ball from United, four bowlers taking two wickets a piece, former NZU19 spinner Felix Murray’s 2-17 off 10 overs very impressive on the small number three boundaries.
The United batsmen finally clicked on the final day, a well-timed chase getting them home in the 41st over only four wickets down.
It was a massive, 109-run, fourth-wicket partnership between Robbie James (52) and Logan McHardie (81*) that saw United to victory, McHardie going at over a run a ball, his innings including ten fours and two sixes.
The win means the boys from Palmerston North claim fifth spot for 2017.
Old Boys Collegians 224/8 (D Wakefield 34, J Case 70, J Abraham 37, B Brady 31) lost to United 227/4 (M Hughes 38, R James 52, H Hill 34, L McHardie 81*)