For the record, the Black Caps aren't the only ones trying to figure out why their top-order batsmen aren't always firing.

So are the Pay Excellence Hawke's Bay Senior Men's Representative cricketers after they succumbed by first-innings points to Horowhenua Kapiti Bears in round two of the Furlong Cup zone two match in Napier last weekend.

The Jacob Smith-captained Bay campaigners won the toss and elected to bowl at Nelson Park in the two-day affair to see which Central Districts team will earn the right to challenge for the Hawke Cup, the symbol of minor cricket association supremacy in New Zealand.

"It's probably down to our batting in the end," lamented Smith when asked why the lean pickings, especially against a team who they have traditionally ticked the box in the qualifying stage.

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"That's all I can put it down to. We have plenty of good players in the squad so there hasn't been too much to change in the last three to four years in that regard."

The visitors were 291 all out in 101.3 overs with opener Matthew Good and player/coach Chad Law, at first drop, contributing 74 runs each to the total.

Bay seamer Ben Stoyanoff was the pick of the bowlers, claiming 4-58 while Jayden Lennox got 3-20.

In reply, the hosts were skittled for 206 in 51.5 overs.

Bay opening batsman Bayley Wiggins was the only one to make a half ton (57 runs). Fellow opener Smith (32 runs) and No 8 Todd Watson, unbeaten on 33, made starts but couldn't turn them into catalysts for a bigger total.

The teams shook hands when Horowhenua Kapiti dug in their toes in the second dig for 1-77 in 22 overs.

"We're still a pretty similar unit to what we've been for a few years — nothing too much has changed," said Smith, after new coach Dave Castle was appointed when Hawke's Bay Cricket suddenly terminated the tenure of Colin Schaw, of Central Hawke's Bay, in December last year.

Hawke's Bay seamer Ben Stoyanoff was the pick of the bowlers in the Furlong Cup match in Napier at the weekend. Photo / NZME
Hawke's Bay seamer Ben Stoyanoff was the pick of the bowlers in the Furlong Cup match in Napier at the weekend. Photo / NZME

The Bay also lost by five wickets in the final of the Chapple Cup here last month to Taranaki in the CD one-day competition for men's provincial supremacy in white-ball cricket in the catchment area.

"We just didn't put too many runs on the board so it was simply down to a lack of application but that happens a lot," Smith said.

He felt the Bay were capable of accruing more runs but, as they had done against Taranaki, had failed to apply themselves.

"If we've got to go forward now we've got to beat every team and quite convincingly."

The Bay registered a first-innings win over Whanganui here in the opening round but the competition is anyone's because no team have had an outright victory as yet, despite Manawatu claiming a first-innings result over Taranaki in the opening round.

They play Taranaki in New Plymouth on January 12-13, face Wairarapa at Nelson Park on January 26-27 before closing their account against leaders Manawatu in round five in Palmerston North on February 16-17.

The Furlong Cup champions will earn a Hawke Cup challenge on March 1-3.