CROYDON North made the best possible start to 2013 with a hard-fought win over Ainslie Park at Ainslie Park reserve as the RDCA Lindsay Trollope Shield resumed on Saturday.
After losing the toss and being sent into the field, the Knights put in a stingy performance keeping the Parkers to 8-160 from their 40 overs even though the outfield was fast after the recent hot weather.
Brad Wadsworth topped the Parkers' batting with 47 not out.
But the Parkers fought back with the ball early in the Knights innings, reducing them to 4-41 after three early wickets to Scott Panozza.
Knights pair Nasir Shafiq (56) and James Belli (32 not out) dug in with a 73-run stand before Belli and Craig Alexander (23 not out) took their side to victory at 5-166.
The win leaves the Knights hot in the heels of the top four with the finals race tightening up as only a couple of games separates second and last place.
Knights captain Mark Sacristani said his bowlers set up the win by bowling tightly.
"Our two openers started well with both guys getting wickets and then we also bowled well at the close of the innings," he said.
"They were bowling good lines and we set some pretty defensive fields on such a quick ground."
Sacristani said his side now had plenty to be excited about.
"It's given our season a kick-start and we are now a win and a half outside the top four," he said.
"With the competition being so close, it gives us something to focus on and a goal to chase in the next few matches."
North Ringwood cemented its place on top of the ladder with a win over Wantirna South.
After winning the toss and batting, Wantirna South's Andrew Jorgensen (43) got the Devils off to a brisk start, but after losing their first wicket at 61 Luke Ridgwell (2-23), Sam Ridgwell (2-22) and Leigh Jones (3-23) restricted the remaining batsmen to see their score finish on 9-142.
Matt Stoikos (50) and Leigh Jones (48 not out) then set up the Bulls' win by getting the score to 1-109 before losing 5-7.
The damage, however, had been done, and North finished on 6-143.
Warranwood rose off the bottom of the ladder with an easy win over Bayswater Park.
Batting first, Warranwood compiled 8-196 with Andy Wu (58) and Todd Cordwell (33 not out) the main contributors.
In reply Bayswater Park lost wickets at regular intervals and was all out for 137, with Tim Hall (3-34) doing the damage.
Mooroolbark won the toss and bowled against Norwood. Daniel Dimitriou (4-18) and Matt Whittaker (3-31) then dismantled the Vikings' batsmen to see them compile 121. David Hester (44) and Ben Sansom (24) were the only Norwood batsmen to make double figures.
In reply the Barkers were shaky at 5-51, but Brendan Ricci (56no) with the help of Kayden Smith (27) put on 56 for the sixth wicket to see them finish on 6-122.
South Warrandyte was in a good position at 2-80 against South Croydon with Josh Barrett (31) and Ben Neagle (31) seemingly in control.
The Bulldogs' Michael King (4-30) had other ideas, however, and the Hawks then lost 8-48 to be all out for 128.
Coming in at 1-2, David White (51 not out) then held South Croydon's innings together to see them pass the Hawks' score in the 36th over to compile 5-129.
LINDSAY TROLLOPE SHIELD: North Ringwood 56 points, 1.49 per cent; South Croydon 40, 1.33; Wantirna South 36, 1.47; Mooroolbark 36, 0.98; Ainslie Park 24, 0.91; Croydon North 24, 0.77; Warranwood 16, 0.98; Bayswater Park 16, 0.87; Norwood 16, 0.78; South Warrandyte Hawks 16, 0.77.