Bay of Plenty took maximum points to move into the top seven of the ITM Cup thanks to a 40-30 win over Otago in Rotorua on Friday.
It was the Steamers' third straight victory in New Zealand's domestic championship and now have 31 points to maintain their challenge for a semi-finals spot.
Bay of Plenty scored five tries to three, with Mike Delany contributing 15 points in a polished all-round display.
The Steamers' pivot was called into action after just six minutes to convert Lelia Masaga's try following some good work from scrum-half Taniela Moa, who set up his winger's try from a break behind a solid scrum.
But it was Masaga's brilliance which produced the try as the former All Blacks speedster chipped and regathered to dot down. Delany added the extras to make it 7-0 and a perfect start for the home start.
Otago replied with a Glenn Dickson penalty, but Moa was quick on the draw once again to help Bay of Plenty stretch the lead - his quick-tap penalty resulting in a try to centre Phil Burleigh.
Again, Otago were quick to respon and fought back through a try to lock Hayden Triggs after the big man crashed over to close the gap with a converted try.
After an exchange of penalties, Bay of Plenty scored their third try after a strong break by Masaga led to prop Josh Hohneck crashing over which led to another seven-pointer for the hosts.
Dickson slotted another two penalties to keep his side in touch but Bay of Plenty had the last say in the half as captain Colin Bourke crossed the line. With Delany's conversion, Bay of Plenty led 29-16 at half-time.
Delany added another two penalties including a whopping 52m effort early in the second half, and at 35-16 it looked as if Otago were dead and buried.
But the southerners came back with two tries in 12 minutes as Bay of Plenty sat on their laurels to try and ride the game out.
Replacement wing Chris Small benefited from a Josh Tatupu breakout to dot down for fellow substitute Chris Noakes to convert and then full-back Ben Smith sliced through the Bay of Plenty defence with a solo effort to score.
Noakes converted to bring the score to 35-30 and set the stage for a thrilling finish. But Bay of Plenty pushed upfield from the re-start and their powerful scrum did the rest for another replacement, Solomon King to dot down in the dying seconds.
Bay of Plenty:
Tries: Masaga, Burleigh, Josh Hohneck, Bourke, King
Cons: Delany 3
Pens: Delany 3
Tries: Triggs, Small, Smith
Cons: Dickson, Noakes 2
Pens: Dickson 3
Bay of Plenty: 15 Toby Arnold, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Brett Mather, 12 Phil Burleigh, 11 Jason Hona, 10 Mike Delany, 9 Taniela Moa, 8 Colin Bourke (c), 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Luke Braid, 5 Culum Retallick, 4 Luke Andrews, 3 Tristan Moran, 2 John Pareanga, 1 Josh Hohneck.
Replacements: 16 Simon Chisholm, 17 Joe Savage, 18 Luke Katene, 19 Solomon King, 20 Daniel Waenga, 21 Corey Aporo, 22 Ben W Smith.
Otago: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Joe Hill, 13 Josh Tatupu, 12 Andrew Parata, 11 Fetu'u Vainikolo, 10 Glenn Dickson, 9 Sean Romans, 8 Charlie O'Connell, 7 Alando Soakai (c), 6 Brad Cameron, 5 Hayden Triggs, 4 Josh Townsend, 3 Halani Aulika, 2 Peter Mirrielees, 1 Kees Meeuws.
Replacements: 16 Wyatt McKay, 17 Sam Hibbard, 18 Hoani Matenga, 19 Paul Grant, 20 Johnny Legg, 21 Chris Noakes, 22 Chris Small.
Referee: Ben Skeen