Bay of Plenty's defence of their Fergus Hickey crown has started with a loss to Northland at Whangarei's Cobham Oval last weekend.

The home side bowled out Bay of Plenty for 317 on Sunday after batting all day Saturday for 337.

Northland was fortunate to win the toss and bat first on a road-flat pitch that negated Bay of Plenty's pace bowling battery of Brett Hampton, Tony Goodin and Sean Davey.

Bay coach Charles Williams said it was hard work for the bowlers in such pristine batting conditions.

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"We toiled away for 102 overs on the first day and managed to bowl them out in the last 10 minutes. I suppose seeing that deck and how flat it was, was not too appealing to the bowlers," Williams said.

"Our plan was to try and keep it as tight as possible and restrict the runs where we could, but we didn't really manage to do that in the first session," he said.

Otumoetai College student Tim Pringle took two wickets on debut, aged 15 years and 92 days. He became the second youngest player to represent the Bay of Plenty men's team after Kane Williamson, who was 15 and 80 days old.

"He didn't look out of his depth at all. He looked like he had been bowling at Fergus Hickey for years in the blue colours of the Bay," Williams said.

"You sometimes see a new bowler come on and they are a little bit nervous, maybe hold on to the ball a little bit too hard. We were all commenting how nerve-free he looked at the crease."

The Bay of Plenty run chase got off to a poor start with quality openers Peter Drysdale and Joe Carter out within the first five overs. Tom MacRury batted well making 60 and had a key partnership with Davey.

"You had to reign it in at the start, give yourself a chance and not go at it too hard, and after that you could cash in. That's exactly what Tom MacRury did and he was joined by Sean Davey, who also batted really well for 42," Williams said.

"He looked at ease at the crease until he played a rash shot and got himself out before lunch which wasn't ideal."

That brought Jono Boult to the crease and the veteran all-rounder played a superb innings of 81 that looked set to be a match-winner until he too got himself out.

Wicketkeeper Tim Clarke batted with the bowlers in some good partnerships that got the Bay agonisingly close before he was last out for 67.

"It was great to see our young guys like Tim Pringle and Alastair Blackett really stepping up and not being over-awed by the occasion. It was disappointing coming up short but there were plenty of things to be positive about," Williams said.

Bay of Plenty have three more Fergus Hickey matches to play scheduled around their defence of the Hawke Cup.

Northland 336 (B Hyde 71; Alastair Blackett 2/20, Dan Smith 2/48, Tim Pringle 2/66) Bay of Plenty 317 (Jono Boult 81, Tim Clarke 67, Tom MacRury 60, Sean Davey 42; H Cooper 4/71)