The ‘Tasman Tempest' has ensured that Bay of Plenty will lock away the Hawke Cup at Bay Oval for the 2017 winter.
The final Hawke Cup challenge of the season, against Zone 4 regional winners Southland, was in the balance heading into day three in Mt Maunganui on Sunday.
Although further play was possible on Sunday afternoon, rain returned to cement a draw – denying Southland the first innings victory they needed in order to relieve Pete Drysdale's men of the trophy.
A recovery from Bay of Plenty had seen them reach 157 for five in reply to Southland's 247, Northern Districts spinner Jono Boult finishing unbeaten on 38 and former NZ Under-19s all-rounder Sean Davey 32 not out.
While last season saw the Hawke Cup change hands with every match, Bay of Plenty has now kept the historic silverware in their possession since for a year, since overcoming Hawke's Bay in Napier in the final challenge of the 2015/16 season.
Bay of Plenty's season run is the first occasion since 2011/12 that a Hawke Cup side has gone unbeaten — the last to do so having been Zone 1 compatriots Hamilton who defeated Counties Manukau, Wairarapa, Nelson and Southland on the bounce, before Bay of Plenty stopped their run in the first challenge of the 2012/13 season.
The symbol of New Zealand's provincial cricket supremacy, the Hawke Cup has been fiercely contested since 1910. Bay of Plenty's next defence will be against next season's Zone One regional winner in 2017/18.