THREE Northern District Cricket Association A Grade teams face must-win games tomorrow as the battle for the double chance and finals hosting rights reaches its climax.
Eight points separates competition leaders, Cohuna United and fourth-placed team, Nondies, with the match between both sides at the Cohuna Recreation Reserve to be the game of the round.
The game will be Nondies' final hitout before March 3's semi-finals, with a win to put the team in contention to host the first semi-final in 15 days' time.
The result will be just as important for United, who can secure a top-two finish with a second win of the season against their Cohuna-based rivals.
Nondies won by six wickets when the teams first met this season in mid-October, with United prevailing by two wickets when the teams last played out a result in round seven.
The round 12 encounter between both teams on January 13 produced a draw after rain halted Nondies' run chase, but both teams go into the match on the back of key victories against fellow top four sides, Leitchville/Gunbower and Wandella.
In tomorrow's other match, Wandella can keep its top-two hopes alive with a win against Barham/Koondrook at Koondrook.
Last season's grand finalists hold a 0.01-point advantage over defending premiers, Leitchville/Gunbower going into the final two rounds of the season, with the defending premiers to gain three points thanks to this weekend's bye.
A third win of the season against the winless border side would set up a battle for second spot on the ladder between the Bombers and the competition's southernmost side on February 24, whilst a Barham/Koondrook win would mean Wandella will need to defeat Leitchville/Gunbower next weekend to claim the double chance.
Battle becomes clearer
THE three teams still battling for a Northern District Cricket Association B Grade second semi-final spot will take on sides not in finals contention tomorrow.
Six point separates second-placed side, Wandella and fourth-placed Leitchville/Gunbower with two rounds remaining
The Bombers can secure a top-two finish tomorrow with victory against the club's second B Grade side, Wandella Warriors.
Although the Bombers have defeated the Warriors on both occasions the teams have met, the Warriors' form in the past few weeks means the competition's fifth-placed side could spring a surprise.
If the Bombers lose, Barham/Koondrook can move into the top two with victory against Kerang Fairley Town.
Tomorrow's result at Barham will be critical to the border side, with the team to face undefeated minor premiers, Nondies in the final round of the season.
Leitchville/Gunbower can also move into top-two contention if Wandella loses, but this will only occur if the competition's southernmost side defeats Cohuna United.
Both teams have split the points during their meetings so far in 2017/18, with United producing a 112-run win when the teams last met in mid-December.