It's the silly season in premier men's club cricket but do anything dumb and it can cost teams a place in the one-day competition.
Having already qualified in top spot, Complete Flooring Napier Technical Old Boys (NTOB) are digging deep for motivation.
So, it seems, would be The Station Napier Old Boys' Marist (NOBM) who have been the whipping boys this summer.
That leaves Havelock North CC, Ruahine Motors Central Hawke's Bay (CHB), Heretaunga Building Society Cornwall and Taradale CC vying for the three remaining playoff berths.
"That's the thing - you've got to watch teams like Marist who have nothing to lose and they can put it all together on any given day to cause an upset," Havelock North skipper Todd Astill said after beating Cornwall by 32 runs on Saturday.
"It was nice to win to be a step closer to the semifinals," Astill said after winning the toss to amass 229 all out in 49.3 overs.
No 6 Al Sahariar Rokon top scored with 64 and No 8 Matthew Taylor added 50.
Veteran offspinner Jonathon Hall took 33-2 from 10 overs, including a maiden.
Captain Jacob Smith and Ben Jackett also claimed two scalps each but were more expensive at a shade more than six runs an over.
In reply, the hosts were 197 all out with 24 balls to spare.
No 3 Michael Taiaroa scored 44 runs while No 9 Jackett added 37 and No 7 Matt Mullany contributed 30.
Jeremy Ketel (2-10 from six overs, including two maidens) and Sam Prescott (10-1-28-3) were the pick of the villagers' bowlers.
Taylor took three wickets but was expensive in haemorrhaging 53 runs from eight overs, including a maiden.
"Jeremy was unlucky not to get a few more overs," Astill said.
Cornwall at one stage of their run chase required 10 an over but Jackett gave them hope by whittling it down to six an over.
"We put down a few catches but they gifted us a couple so we took them and got away with it," Astill said.
It was Taradale's club day although they ended up "hosting" NTOB at Nelson Park, Napier.
The result, not surprisingly, went to NTOB by 137 runs to reaffirm why they have already qualified for the play-offs while three more places are up for grabs.
Having won the toss, Taradale skipper James de Terte injected NTOB who amassed 299-9 in 50 overs.
No 4 Indika Senarathne and opener Bronson Meehan scored 62 runs each while captain George Diack contributed 43 although Dale gifted 28 wides to a formidable total.
Taradale openers Eddie Torr and Ben Stoyanoff claimed three wickets each at more than 4.5 runs an over.
In reply, the maroons stuttered to 162 all out in 40 overs as No 5 Luke Kenworthy top scored with 37.
Left-armer Jayden Lennox (2-16) and Meehan (0-18) were the most frugal NTOB bowlers at three an over.
Stevie Smidt (2-19), Craig Herrick (2-41) and Jurgen Andersen (1-26) weren't too far off while Ruan Markram took 3-41 but was costly at 6.83 an over.
NTOB returned 17 wides.
"It's a little hard to motivate the boys but we had a good chat after the game so we need to rev it up to the next level," Diack said.
"You can win everything under the sun and get knocked out in the semifinals so we mustn't sit on our laurels," he said with NOBM, Havelock North and Cornwall to play.
At Ongaonga Domain, CHB made short work of NOBM with a 169-run victory.
Winning the toss, CHB captain Scott Schaw padded up to lead by example, top scoring with an unbeaten 69 at No 4.
No 7 Paul Hindmarch scored 51 runs while opener Henry Hunter and No 3 Ben Smith added 43 each to boost the hosts' total to 260-8 in 50 overs.
NOBM's Tom Forsdike took 3-43 from nine overs, including a maiden.
Oliver Sutton claimed 2-35 from 10 overs, including four maidens, while Brendon Quinn took 2-22 from six overs.
In reply, NOBM were skittled for 91 in 28 overs.
Last round's run scorers No 3 Jack Ward (33 runs) and No 6 V Sivaran (21) again hung in there, albeit for fewer runs.
Hunter took 4-13 from 6.5 overs, including a maiden while offspinner Angus Schaw claimed 3-40 from 10 overs, including a maiden.
Hindmarch took 2-10 from five overs, including two maidens, while Toby Richardson claimed a wicket for four runs from as many overs for a maiden.
CHB stalwart Mike Lewis, standing in for coach Colin Schaw, was delighted with the win.
"It's a great result today and I'm one from one so I'll be giving Colin a hard time about that," Lewis said with a laugh.
In yesterday's catch-up game against Taradale at Nelson Park, CHB registered a crushing 132-run victory to leapfrog Cornwall into third place behind NTOB and Havelock North on the table.
CHB amassed 239 all out on the last ball as Hunter scored his maiden premier ton with an unbeaten 107.
Stoyanoff claimed 3-58 off his 10 overs as the pick of Dale's bowlers.
In reply, Taradale were skittled for 109 in 37 overs.
Jake Chalmers took a five-wicket bag for 34 runs from 7.2 overs, including a maiden.
"It was good to win back to back and pick up some bonus points," James Mackie said.