It's a case of hell for leather tomorrow for the Hawke Cup holders after Bay of Plenty found some traction with the bat today in Napier.
"We've nothing to lose. The way we're looking at it is that we've lost the cup so we're now going to have win it again," Pay Excellence Hawke's Bay senior men's representative coach Colin Schaw said tonight.
The Bay are 2-82 in their second innings, trailing by 74 runs after BOP dug their toes in this morning in the batting crease to claim first-innings points to be 318 all out not long after tea.
Consequently with the insurance policy in their hands, the pressure is now on Bay skipper Jacob Smith and his men to show intent with the bat to post a decent total and then have BOP padding up again.
"We need to go out to win it tomorrow, batting positively and believing we're still in the game," Schaw said, after unwanted ND Knights player Jono Boult scored 94 to stop the rot that set in on day one with the loss of 15 wickets.
No 9 Campbell Thomas forged a meaningful partnership with Boult, adding 45 runs to the cause.
BOP captain Peter Drysdale, who was rushed to hospital for an injured finger after three balls, lauded Boult for how he went about arresting the slide and providing a platform.
"He was outstanding," Drysdale said, the spinner showed dexterity that reflected his comprehension of three and four-day cricket.
He was delighted with his troops' effort today, believing they had surpassed their goal of defiant batting.
"All results are an option tomorrow," said the opening batsman who intends to field today despite conclusive medical feedback on the extent of damage to his finger.
It hurts but he is mindful "every position on the field is necessary" amid belief the Bay have a good chance of defending the symbol of minor association cricket supremacy.
He said the wicket was under the influence of the elements but didn't expect it to deteriorate.
"The faster we get wickets the better so we can put Hawke's Bay under some pressure."
Schaw echoed similar sentiments in the mind games, believing BOP had the propensity to wilt under that strain.
"All of a sudden we put runs on the board and the pressure will be on them and we know what pressure can do in cricket.
"I back my bowlers to do the job because the wicket is starting to do things and that'll suit us tomorrow," he said, happy to have got 82 despite losing two wickets.
Smith used every player to bowl today, bar wicketkeeper Scott Schaw and for some reason Indika Senarathne, who is capable of taking wickets.
Seamers Liam Dudding and Ben Stoyanoff as well as spinner GC Pretorius claimed three wickets each but Stoyanoff was the most frugal.