THE battle for the Northern District Cricket Association A Grade competition's top three will come down to the last weekend of the home and away season.
Nondies' 17-run win against Cohuna United means that United, Wandella and defending premiers, Leitchville/Gunbower all go into round 18 eligible to play in March 3's second semi-final.
The result of the weekend's match at the Cohuna Recreation Reserve ended United's hopes of claiming the minor premiership and hosting the second semi-final, but last season's fifth-placed side will move into the top two with a final round win against Barham/Koondrook, thanks to the Bombers and Leitchville/Gunbower meeting at Kerang's Riverside Park.
Rhys Bradley dominated with the bat and ball in Nondies' last match before the March 3 first semi-final, scoring 53 runs in his side's total of 183 and then taking two wickets to help dismiss United for 166 with 22 balls remaining in the match.
Matt Robinson (four wickets) led the way for United with the ball, with the visitors having their Cohuna Recreation Reserve co-tenants in trouble at 6/72.
Bradley united with Rhys Thrum (28) to revive the innings, with the pair producing a 54-run seventh-wicket stand to keep the hosts' chances of a seventh win of the season on track.
Kyeran Ellery (22) also worked with Bradley to ensure Nondies' bowlers had a suitable score to protect.
Despite the best efforts of Logan Spittal (47) and Matt Robinson (28), United struggled in its reply, with Will Thrum's three-wicket haul preventing United from potentially securing a home second semi-final.
In the weekend's other match, Wandella moved to the top of the ladder following a 48-run win against Barham/Koondrook.
Sent in to bat first, the Bombers' top order - Greg Dickson (33), Mick Bott (32) and Isaac Hogan (31) - helped the visitors score 8/177 off their 45 overs.
Rohan Oliver (32) also chipped in with a valuable innings, whilst Warren Lolicato took three wickets for the hosts.
Lolicato (24) was the border side's top runs scorer in his team's reply of 129, whilst Hogan took four wickets for the Bombers.
Double chance tussle
LIKE their A Grade counterparts, second spot on the Northern District Cricket Association B Grade ladder will not be decided until the end of the final round after the three teams in contention all produced wins at the weekend.
Barham/Koondrook, currently sitting second on the ladder, holds a four-point advantage over defending premiers, Wandella, with Leitchville/Gunbower a further four points behind.
The border side did what it needed to do on Saturday to remain in the top two before a round 18 showdown with minor premiers, Nondies, producing a three-wicket win against Kerang Fairley Town.
Electing to bowl first, Ashley Molin took three wickets to help Barham/Koondrook dismiss Kerang Fairley Town for 139 - with Paul Goodson (52) leading the way with the bat for the visitors.
Mark Higgs had the hosts reeling in reply, with the quick taking two wickets to have Barham/Koondrook at 3/6.
Dempsey (65) and Tim (34) Coote resurected the innings, combining for a 93-run fourth-wicket stand that helped Barham/Koondrook record a win and a final total of 171 - scored in the space of 24 overs.
Across at Kerang, a maiden century to Toby Gray helped Wandella defeat Wandella Warriors by 97 runs.
Gray's 110-run third-wicket stand with Luke Murray (28 not out) helped the Bombers score 4/216 off their 40 overs, before Cody Shipp (three wickets) and his fellow bowlers dismissed the Warriors for 119 in the 33rd over.
In the weekend's other match, Cohuna United moved to fifth on the ladder thanks to a four-wicket win against Leitchville/Gunbower.
Electing to bat first, Michael Moritz helped the competition's southernmost side score 141 from 37.1 overs, with Leigh Johnson (four wickets) dominating with the ball for United.
It was United's top order that helped secure the win, with Andrew Brown (41), Kade Turvey (31) and Michael Rowe (26) leading the way.
Blake Gelletly and Billy Hawken took two wickets each for Leitchville/Gunbower, but it was not enough as United finished its 40 overs at 8/146.
Grand finalists set
THE Nondies Cricket Club will win its first Northern District Cricket Association under 17 title since the 2012/13 season this weekend after both its teams progressed to the grand final.
Scriptors - led by an unbeaten half-century to Josh Treacy - defeated Wandella by nine wickets, whilst Nick Farr-Jones (61 not out) and Jesse Mackenzie (three wickets) guided Nondies to an 84-run win against Barham/Koondrook.
Meanwhile, Leitchville/Gunbower will host Wandella in the under 14 decider after both teams won their respective grand finals.