NORWOOD pulled itself clear of the relegation battle with a fighting 31-run win over top team North Ringwood in the RDCA Lindsay Trollope Shield on Saturday.
Defending its first-day total of 174, the game was in the balance at tea with the Bulls on 3-77.
But the pairing of English import Dave Hester and evergreen Bruce Sansom (6-43) helped the Norsemen engineer a Bulls' collapse as the top team lost 6-19 to be nine down and staring at defeat.
Yet the yips hit the young Norsemen side, who struggled to take the final wicket with run-out, stumping and catching chances all missed as the final pair of Bulls coach Jeton Rexhepi (38) and Luke Ridgwell (19 not out) put on 45 runs.
Rexhepi was finally dismissed with the Bulls on 143.
Norsemen captain Ben Sansom said his side was relieved to get over the line and win the Malcolm Moore-Jay Sansom Cup, which the two sides play for each season.
"We haven't been able to win those close games and that is the difference in the competition this year," he said.
"The sides who have won those close games are in the top four; the sides who haven't are in the bottom six.
"There is not much between the sides. It's just a matter about how you perform on the day. Hopefully, this win gives us some confidence heading into the next few weeks."
Sansom said the Norsemen's bowling tactics had made the difference. Hester attacked from one end and Bruce Sansom bowled tightly to a defensive field at the other.
Sansom was also proud his side could win the trophy, which features the name of his uncle.
"We have been close rivals and those two men are legends of their respective clubs so it's always better when you can bring home the cup."
Croydon North resumed at 0-40 in reply to Bayswater Park's 172.
The Knights then lost wickets at regular intervals to be all out for 158.
Chris Noy (54) top-scored and Josh Temple (4-36) did the damage with the ball.
Batting a second time, Bayswater Park compiled 1-85 with Marcus Adams (48no) top scoring.
Protecting 7-241, Ainslie Park got off to a dream start against South Warrandyte, with Mark Arnot (5-77 off 32 overs), taking two wickets in the first over.
Steve Lindsay (39), Michael Crosbie (35) and David Hill (32) all got starts for the Hawks, but no one could continue to the score that counted and South Warrandyte fell 51 runs short to finish all out for 190.
Mooroolbark was in trouble early at 4-60, chasing Wantirna South's 8-295.
Brendon Ricci (109) then combined with John O'Donnell for a fifth-wicket partnership of 72 and with Matt Whittaker (38) for a sixth-wicket partnership of 96.
When Ricci's runner was run out with the score on 226 the Barkers' hopes faded and, despite Daniel Dimitriou's late rally of 35no, they were all out for 279 in the last over.
Drew McKay (6-70) once again bowled tirelessly to take bowling honours.
Warranwood got the start it wanted when Andy Wu (52) contributed at the top of the order.
Despite losing 4-41 to sit at 4-106 at tea, the Sharks' batsmen reached South Croydon's score of 179 in the 72nd over to finish at 5-181.
LINDSAY TROLLOPE SHIELD: North Ringwood 64 points, 1.42 per cent; South Croydon 48, 1.38; Wantirna South 44, 1.34; Ainslie Park 40, 1.03; Mooroolbark 36, 0.86; Bayswater Park 32, 0.97; Warranwood 24, 1.07; Norwood 24, 0.81; Croydon North 24, 0.74; South Warrandyte Hawks 16, 0.71.