It was ugly, it was a scrap and it was tense, but on the stroke of 6:51pm on Sunday amid rapidly fading light the Greater Northern Raiders felt they accomplished a victory of sorts over North Hobart.
That was about staving off a humbling outright defeat when the Raiders had walked onto the TCA Ground more than eight hours earlier half a chance of a breakthrough win in their Cricket Tasmania Premier League campaign.
Raiders allrounder Ollie Wood figured the experience through gritted teeth up until the penultimate ball when the wickets were pulled eight down would be beneficial.
"I suppose it was a pretty tough situation to be in, but you always have to take positives out of it," Wood said.
"It wasn't a bad learning curve for a lot of the guys. I don't think a lot of us have been in that situation before."
North Hobart resumed at 1-48 overnight in pursuit of a further 131 for the win.
That scenario had turned around significantly in the next 58 overs when the hosts declared at 6-305. It gave the Raiders 39 overs to survive.
Every run scored past 130 was one more the Demons would have to chase down with one less ball available.
But what the Raiders faced caught the bottom-placed side on the ladder off guard.
"Cricket's a pretty funny game - you're always in different scenarios," Wood said.
"But playing against another quality side like that, they probably looked at us as a pretty good opportunity to get through us, particularly when they got those wickets.
"We were pretty much under the pump, so the guys did a good job to hold out."
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North Hobart set aggressive fields to match its similar plans. The risk-reward strategy almost paid dividends.
The Raiders lost openers Miles Barnard and Brodie Hayes cheaply again, only combining for 24 runs in both innings - but a defiant top-order moved onto 2-47.
Jake Williams soon after was dismissed for 24 after his first-innings 51 and wickets then fell at regular intervals.
Launceston-raised opening quick Ben Fraser, who took 4-47 and slow bowler Robb Macmillan with 3-12, forced the Raiders to hold their nerve and three more wickets for the final 33 balls.
Fraser removed top-scorer Anish Paraam for 39 with 14 deliveries left in the day, but Jono Chapman and James Beattie stood firm scoreless.
"A lot of us haven't been exposed to the sort of plans they executed," Wood said.
North Hobart had earlier passed the target with seven wickets in hand when Tasmanian Tigers regulars Caleb Jewell (75) and Tom Rogers (62) put on 113 runs together.
Sam Lewis-Johnson also finished with 50 off 38 balls.
Wood, who claimed 3-71, said Jewell led by example.
"They all seem to be able to score off a lot more balls than a lot of others do," he said.
"It was still a good experience, obviously he's a pretty good player and makes it look pretty easy at times.
"We had to try and back ourselves and, if we were able to put as much pressure on and bowl as much dot balls as we could, we thought we were a chance."
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