It's one thing to talk the talk but it's another to walk it when the stakes are raised on the Gaza Strip of domestic men's first-class cricket.
Opening batsman Greg Hay certainly knows how to do that after he spearheaded the Central Districts Stags to a six-wicket victory in round six of the four-day Plunket Shield match against the Otago Volts in Napier this afternoon.
Hay carried his bat, unbeaten on 134 runs, including nine boundaries.
It was a sedate knock for the 33-year-old right hander who faced 269 balls in 387 minutes on an uncharacteristic but, refreshingly, laissez-faire wicket at McLean Park, Napier.
Hay, of Nelson, enjoyed the freedom of resting while No 6 Tom Bruce at the other end teased spinner Mark Craig's final delivery past point for a boundary to finish unbeaten on 31 runs from as many balls, including five fours.
The victory gave CD 16 points and Otago six. The green machine collected four maximum bowling points to remain three points adrift of leaders Wellington Firebirds who walloped the Canterbury Kings by 10 wickets for 16 points.
A beaming CD coach, Heinrich Malan, said it was about switching formats and they had discussed that transition leading into the shield match.
"We didn't get it right 100 per cent but, you know, credit to the boys with how they came back with the ball in the third innings," he said after the William Young-captained side skittled the Volts to yank Big Mo back into their corner on Saturday with left-arm orthodox spinner Ajaz Patel picking up a five-wicket bag.
"We were happy to chase something around the 250 mark and we more or less got there on day four."
He saluted Hay for his 10th first-class century.
"It was fantastic to watch and probably one of his better knocks throughout his career, in terms of substance. He's faced a lot of balls and played long periods of time to take us across the line."
He said they didn't panic after the first innings but put their faith in the bowlers, despite missing the services of seamer Blair Tickner on day one due to a side strain.
"I suppose, again, that's where someone like Jazzy [Patel] shows his worth coming in the third innings to bowl a lot of overs to pick five for and to allow us to block one end with our spin bowler and release the seamers from the other end, which eliminated the fact that we didn't have a fourth seamer."
The South African said while some catches were grassed he had impressed on his troops the need to eliminate the need to stretch games into 24-wicket games.
"That is one thing we train for, you know, to be sharp and to be a quality side by making sure that when we create those opportunities we must take them.
"We'll push the envelope a little bit more when we train again on Thursday and Friday leading into the next game before we go," he said, before they hit the highway north to face the third-placed Auckland Aces in round seven at Eden Park outer oval from Friday next week.
Malan had praised head groundsman Phil Stoyanoff and his staff for producing a good wicket when the sprinklers were turned on and the tractor/mowers invaded the pitch.
"There was still some nice carry and bounce on day four [yesterday] but, in saying that, there was also some good turn for the spin bowlers."
He said Otago new-ball merchant Neil Wagner showed why he was the best red-ball bowler in New Zealand.
"He put our boys under a lot of pressure with his short-pitch bowling and set good fields so we faced the brunt of it, which was pleasing," he said after the CD batsmen faced another new ball soon after passing the 200 mark in their quest to eclipse the target.
Malan said the Aces were 15 points away from CD, despite collecting 19 in their 140-run win over the Knights.
The Stags will play the Firebirds at the Basin Reserve, Wellington, in a fortnight to sort the boys from the men, as it were.
"I suppose in the next two weeks we'll have a pretty clear indication of where things are yet."
Otago captain Brad Wilson bemoaned losing their command of the game on day two (Friday) after skittling CD for 188 in their first innings but finding themselves anaemic in the second innings at 162 runs with no one scoring a half ton.
For Wilson it was a case of not applying themselves better as batsmen but also acknowledging the hosts' bowling attack, minus the injured Blair Tickner.
"You've got to give credit to the way CD bowled in their second innings because that just put us under a lot of pressure which we weren't able to withstand," said the 32-year-old opening batsman who called the shots after regular season skipper Rob Nicol was left lugging the drinks.
Wilson felt Shawn Hicks, who top scored with 49 runs at first drop, was unlucky in their second innings after he was run out off a deflection of CD bowler Adam Milne's hand.
"That's the way things are going for us at the moment. Luck's not really going our way but two sessions in the game cost us, really."
He gave a big tick to his bowlers for their contribution throughout the game.
"We just didn't make enough runs for the period in the afternoon."
Wilson said while they needed to focus a little bit more in batting it was their bowling that promised a lot.
"If we can keep rolling our opponents with the ball and then fix up a little bit of our batting [we'll be fine] because I think we're still competing pretty well."
Wilson said he had never been in a position where he assumed the mantle of captaincy while the incumbent wore the fluorescent vest for four days.
"I think we made the right call. We had to drop a batter and he was probably the one who needed to get out," said the former Northern Districts Knights cricketer of former Black Caps and Auckland Aces batsman Nicol.
"He sort of put his hand up. It's not something that comes up every day but it's a good thing and I think the right call was made to play a spinner so, yeah, it's just one of those things."