Gareth Hopkins was denied a century but did haul Auckland Aces into a recovery against State Championship holders Northern Knights at Gisborne.
In-form bowlers Tim Southee and Brent Arnel were prolific with four wickets each at the Harry Barker Reserve.
Arnel took the first four Auckland wickets as the Knights had their visitors at 37 for four and 70 for seven.
Hopkins put on 93 with Roneel Hira (37) to lead a comeback. And the wicketkeeper was one run short of an eighth first-class century when he was caught behind by counterpart Peter McGlashan off Southee.
The Under-19 World Cup star finished on four for 34, and Arnel claimed four for 38 as the Aces were dismissed for 186.
The Knights top order also endured a tough start, falling to 15 for two at stumps.