JUNG Tigers have kept their Horsham Cricket Association A Grade finals hopes alive with a high-scoring 15-run win on the road against Laharum.
After a slow but steady start with the bat, the Tigers exploded in the final 15 overs to post 5-242, before dismissing the Mountain Men for 227 with 25 balls to spare.
Jung captain David Puls said his side's batting performance clicked, with top-order players Rod Kirkwood, 66 runs, and Nathan Neumann, 51, continuing their pre-Christmas form.
"It was a good all-round batting performance," he said.
"Rod Kirkwood is batting quite well, he laid the foundation for us, and Nathan Neumann played his shots and batted very well.
"Our batting's getting a bit more consistent hopefully it's something we'll be able to carry through the rest of the season."
The Tigers' middle order also made handy contributions, with Puls, 22 not out, and Aaron Emmerson, 27, combining for five sixes at the end of the innings.
In reply, a Laharum side missing two key players Glenn Doyle and captain Damian Bunworth took the challenge right up to the Tigers, with Ben Peucker and stand-in skipper Josh Mahoney forming a 120-run partnership.
But Mahoney, 84 runs, and Peucker, 62, were dismissed in quick succession by the Tigers' left-arm, father-son combination of Jason and Joel Pymer before the Mountain Men lost their final five wickets for just 17 runs.
Mahoney said his side competed well, but was a bit short without the services of Doyle and Bunworth.
"We had a young side yesterday we were pretty light on for batsmen," he said.
"Nathan Griffiths bowled really well and he's only 16 years old.
"We're building the future of the club."
In the early match at Horsham City Oval, Horsham Saints secured a five-wicket win against Noradjuha-Toolondo.
Saints quick Thilan Kariyawasam struck with the first ball of the match, having Bullants opener Rowan Scott caught behind, before removing fellow key batsmen Justtin and Mat Combe to have the Bullants reeling at 3-21.
But Josh Colbert, 67 runs, and David Combe, 19, saw off the early threat, before Colbert combined with Jordan Huff, who made 54.
The middle-order pair capitalised on some sloppy Saints fielding, scoring all around the ground, and took the Bullants to 7-192 off 45 overs.
Kariyawasam returned at the death to finish with 5-32. In reply, Saints skipper Gary Davidson and opener Ben Sawyer combined for an opening 126-run stand.
Sawyer cleared the fence on a number of occasions, but when he was dismissed for 81 runs, Jarred Combe led a fightback for the Bullants, tearing through the middle order.
In his first game for the season, Combe collected 5-33, before Brendan Bryan combined with Davidson, 72 not out, to see the Saints home.
At Dimboola Oval, Homers continued their undefeated season, easily
accounting for Blackheath-Dimboola.
The Bulls sent Homers in, with
in-form opening batsman Sandy Hodge compiling 77 runs as his side reached 4-264 from 45 overs.
First drop Travis Hair scored 42 for the Bulls, but received little assistance as his team was bundled out for 124 inside the 31st over. Homers' Craig Britten claimed figures of 3-24.
Rup-Minyip also had an easy win, beating Colts by eight wickets under lights at Horsham City Oval.
Colts opener Dylan Arnott scored 35 as his team reached 9-152 after batting first, with Craig Morgan and Ryan Metelmann both collecting three wickets.
Blue Panthers skipper Clint Midgley smashed an undefeated 87 and led his side to victory with 18 overs to spare.