SOUTH Croydon is now in finals mode after a fighting win over Bayswater Park in the RDCA Lindsay Trollope Shield on Saturday.
The Bulldogs entered the second day on 4-57 chasing the Sharks' total of 137 and had to fight through a difficult day, crawling to 6-113 at tea.
But after tea, star batsman Michael King (104 not out) and Phil Cross (17 not out) put on 55 for the seventh wicket to make sure the Bulldogs got over the line, finishing on 6-167.
Sharks bowler Justin McConchie had the best bowling figures, taking 3-27.
Bulldogs captain-coach Josh Stewart said King was continuing his stellar season batting through the whole innings despite Saturday's hot weather.
"King's form this year has been superb," Stewart said.
"It was another super knock. The highlight for me was how he timed his innings.
"He came in late on the first day with us at 2-5, then he has gone on to bat for the entire innings.
"He had the patience to grind out the first day and then the first session on Saturday before capitalising after that.
"The most exciting thing for us is that his form has been superb all season. Hopefully a few other boys find form with the bat as well."
Stewart said the Bulldogs now had to focus on their clash with Norwood that, if they won, would lock them into second spot.
"This game is as big as any for us.
"We have to win to tie up second spot. The big thing is getting the second chance.
"We need to bring the intensity and endeavour that we would bring to a finals match.
"Norwood is a good side. We'll need to play two good days of cricket."
Ainslie Park put Mooroolbark's finals aspirations out of reach with an easy win.
Defending 263, Mark Arnot (6-22) cut a swathe through the Barkers' batsmen and when Andrew Keane (32) was run out with the score at 4-82, the rest of Mooroolbark's batsmen capitulated to be all out for 110.
Wantirna South's Matthew King (81) and John Aumann (45) shared in an opening of partnership 95 chasing Norwood's 163. After the fall of Aumann's wicket the Devils continued on to easily account for the Viking's score to finish on 8-259.
Top team North Ringwood had its second loss in a row, being trounced by Croydon North.
Chasing the Knight's 205, the Bulls couldn't handle the bowling of Karnel Ahmet (4-32) and Mark Sacristani (3-21) to be dismissed for a disappointing 138.
Warranwood scraped home against South Warrandyte.
Chasing 187, the Sharks' looked in trouble at 5-73 before Evan Johnson (58) and Luke Scott (42) combined for a sixth-wicket partnership of 84.
The Sharks then lost 3-1 to sit at 8-158 before the tail-enders got the job done. South Warrandyte's Ben Neagle (3-45) took bowling honours for his side.
The annual Twenty20 match between Ringwood and the RDCA will take place from 5pm this Wednesday at Jubilee Park, Ringwood.