A Sunday special from veteran Deniliquin opener Ash Germano last week has his side occupying prime real estate on the Murray Valley Cricket Association’s premier division ladder after four rounds.
The right-hander smashed his way to 63 from 74 deliveries (including six boundaries) against Finley to help chase down the Cats’ modest total of 137.
Anthony Bradley (3-11) was the main destroyer after the Cats were sent in to bat first, with only Daniel Hibberd (43) showing any resistance for the home side.
The performance, which had four of Germano’s teammates also passing 20 runs in the total of 9-215, will give the third-placed Rhinos plenty of confidence heading into a huge clash against Cobram tomorrow.
The Tigers are just 0.19 points behind the Rhinos on the table, and have won their past three matches after falling to Barooga in the opening round.
Sam Kinson has amassed 109 runs in his four matches this season and leads the way for Cobram, while teammate Tyron Baden has snared five wickets in just two games.
Sunday’s other game was important for another Tiger outfit, with Katamatite securing its second victory of the season to remain in touch with the top four.
The Tigers engineered a defendable, but no means unassailable, total of 6-196 after choosing to bat first against Cobram-Yarroweyah United, with opener Matt Wright (62) and Tom Rutter (41 not out) leading the way.
United’s openers would have strode to the crease full of confidence, but Brad Parnell (3-30) and Luke Barnard (2-29) quickly reduced the home side to 3-12 and eventually all out for 132.
Katamatite faces the sternest test of them all against Nathalia tomorrow, but has nothing to lose on its home deck.
Both remaining winless teams, United and Finley, will do battle at Scott Oval in the hopes of keeping their respective season’s alive.
The final match of the round has Waaia travelling to Barooga.
The Bombers were embarrassed by the Purples last week — bowled out for 63 in just 29 overs — and will be looking to bounce back in the best possible fashion as another heavy loss could see them slip more than two games out of finals contention.