It wasn't going to matter in the end because Manawatu won outright against Wairarapa to earn the right to fly the Central Districts flag to challenge Hamilton for the Hawke Cup.
"We couldn't catch them, regardless of what we did," Pay Excellence Hawke's Bay senior men's representative coach Lincoln Doull said after his troops took first-innings points from Taranaki at Pukekura Park on Sunday after their last two-day cup challenge qualifying match in zone 2.
"We just took first innings points, shook hands, packed our bags and headed back home," Doull said, after the Jacob Smith-led Bay blew any hopes of throwing the gauntlet down in the bragging rights for minor association supremacy when they lost to Manawatu in the previous round.
Symbolically, that Manawatu clash mirrored a season that promised much but fizzled out when it mattered most.
On paper the Bay should be where Manawatu are but the batsmen have to shoulder that blame because the bowlers had done their part.
"We let ourselves down against Manawatu," Doull reiterated but felt last weekend against Taranaki they were shy after the previous bite.
"We learned from Manawatu and yesterday a similar situation evolved and the batters stood up to score points," he said, after the hosts were 259 all out.
Having already left Driaan Lubbe behind because of a side strain and picking up Craig Herrick, the Bay lost opening seamer Liam Rukuwai after 1.4 overs to a rib injury.
Ben Jackett took 3-46, Smith claimed 2-58 and Herrick and Angus Schaw had 1-47 and 1-67, respectively.
Doull said Stevie Smidt was wicketless for 39 runs but bowled well in his 15 overs, including five maidens.
Taranaki opener Dean Robinson scored 109 runs while No4 Tom Bruce contributed 78 in a partnership that Bay bowlers contained at 2.5 runs an over.
In reply, the visitors scored 272-8.
Opening batsman Henry Hunter, coming in for "cricketed out" Bronson Meehan, scored 68 runs to earn Doull's respect.
No5 Jayden Waters scored 57 runs and No6 Toby Doyle, in his return after missing the cut in a few previous rounds, added 55 runs.
"I would have liked to have seen the guys go on to make 80s, 90s and 100s," Doull said, reflecting on the fact that Waters and Doyle forged a 91-run partnership that took them to a 100-plus total to make the job easier.
He was happy to have blooded youngsters to see if they could hack the pace at the cup level and said the promising talent should mature in four to five years.