When captain Jacob Smith and Bayley Wiggins ask for middle and leg tomorrow morning their team will focus on batting as long as it takes to eke out a first-innings victory in the Hawke Cup defence in Napier.

No doubt, an outright result is what Pay Excellence Hawke's Bay senior men's representative team and challengers Hamilton will yearn for but the name of the game is occupying the crease to frustrate and wear down the opposition at Nelson Park.

Having won the toss, Smith chose to shine the ball before skittling the visitors for 287 runs with 14 balls to spare on day one in their quest to ensure they keep the silverware over winter in their first defence since claiming the bragging rights to minor association cricket from Nelson a fortnight ago.

Frankly, the hosts had their feet on the throats on the batsmen a few times but, to their credit, Hamilton showed the value of experience to forge timely partnerships on a wicket where the exchange rate favours the willow whackers.

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Bay coach Dave Castle agreed, saying his troops had to toil but they were happy with the total considering the pitch was flattening out and should be at its best to bat on tomorrow.

"It's been a good day for us but there's still a lot of cricket to go," said Castle in his first season at the helm.

He endorsed Smith's decision to bowl first so as to enable the Bay to find as much traction as possible with the presence of dew this morning.

"We've had a little bit of rain here during the week so it's given the grass a little bit of life, which allowed us to control the game so that's where the decision came from."

The top three Hamilton batsmen went cheaply before No 4 Anish Desai (64 runs) and No 5 Peter Bocock (42) before No 7 Keir Betley and No 8 Freddy Walker forged another crucial partnership to ward off the inevitable with 42 and 67 runs, respectively.

Opening seamer Ben Stoyanoff, playing a milestone 50 games, took 3-68 from 23, including eight maidens, while Christian Leopard, at fist change, matched his feat with 3-29 from 12.4 overs, including four maidens, but was the most frugal of the six bowlers Smith employed.

New-ball merchant Liam Dudding matched Stoyanoff's overs to claim 2-86 while spinner Jayden Lennox took 2-50 from 17 overs, including four maidens.

Hawke's Bay senior men's cricket coach, Dave Castle, says the intention is to bat as long as it takes in the next two days of the Hawke Cup defence in Napier. Photo/file
Hawke's Bay senior men's cricket coach, Dave Castle, says the intention is to bat as long as it takes in the next two days of the Hawke Cup defence in Napier. Photo/file

At lunch, Castle reinforced the value of breaking partnerships but lauded Stoyanoff who was a little unlucky in the morning from a well concerted bowling attack.

The Bay were pleased not to face any balls today, looking forward to the rest overnight.

"Whether it takes a day or two for us we're happy to take it ... because we have guys who score at a good tempo," he said.

Former Wellington and Northern Districts first-class bowler Anurag Verma will test their mettle although Castle reckoned spinners Walker and brother Josef will come into the attack.

The much-anticipated sibling rivalry between Hamilton batsman James Field and younger brother Joey, of Havelock North, didn't eventuate after the latter was named 12th man.

Castle said the decision was made after the covers came off the wicket to opt for Izaiah Lange.

He realised many Bay fans would have liked to have seen the match up with Joey as the homeboy but the latter had handled it quite well.

"He's a really good young guy who's coming along quite strongly this year," Castle said, adding the collective always came before the individual.