"It's surreal ... hard to believe."
That was the response from Wairarapa College opening batsman Justin Herbert when asked how he felt after scoring a double century on the first day of his team's Bidwill Cup senior men's interclub cricket match with Greytown at Greytown on Saturday.
His massive 212 was the catalyst to Wairarapa College declaring their first innings closed at an impressive 377-7, a total made to look even more impressive by them having Greytown reeling at 40-7 by stumps.
Herbert's highest score before Saturday was a "180 odd" he scored for Hutt Valley-based St Bernards College in the 1980s and his latest effort follows a century against Marist Old Boys earlier this season.
Arriving at Greytown after Wairarapa College had won the toss and elected to bat Herbert, who is the current chairman of the Wairarapa Cricket Association, admits to being initially concerned how a greenish-looking pitch would play.
"The ball came on to the bat nicely, there was a good even bounce and you could play shots with confidence," he said.
It was only as he approached 100 that Herbert felt any nervous tension and once past that mark it was simply a case of seeing how far he could go.
"I never thought about making 200, I just kept trying to play each ball on its merits and hoped the luck didn't run out. There was no great plan behind it, that's for sure."
As for luck, Herbert was helped by a missed stumping and a dropped catch but he had already gone well beyond the 100 mark by then.
All told Herbert struck 34 fours and two sixes and while he was the dominant figure he was quick to pay tribute to the assistance given by Nathan Elliott, Lucien Burt and Tim Griffiths, all of whom were involved in big partnerships.
While Wairarapa College had good reason to feel pleased with their performance, not so Greytown, who hardly turned on the sort of effort they were wanting as part of their old-timers' day. Their bowlers struggled to contain Herbert and company and their batsmen were in deep strife against an accurate opposition attack spearheaded by Stefan Hook, who had taken three of the seven wickets to fall.
Competition leaders Red Star were poised to continue a remarkable record after the first day's play in their Bidwill Cup fixture with Flight Centre Lansdowne.
If Red Star win outright it will mean they have taken maximum points from all their qualifying-round matches in the cup series and it seems only the weather could get in their way on this occasion.
Batting first at Rathkeale College, Lansdowne were all out for 109, of which Henry Cameron made 69. Bowling for Red Star, Jarred Watt finished with the excellent figures of 6-68 and Nik Karaitiana 3-24.
Red Star also found runs hard to come by in their first innings. They made 169 with John Wells (41) and Peter Sigvertsen (25) the leading scorers. Calvin Ball spearheaded the Lansdowne attack, taking 5-64.
Lansdowne then batted a second time and were 64-5 at stumps after being 50-1 at one stage.
Ai Homes Kuranui Old Boys beat Newbolds Marist Old Boys by default in the other Bidwill Cup match scheduled for the weekend.