AFTER 21 weeks of toil it all came down to the last day of play for Mt Evelyn or Warburton-Millgrove to secure a place in the DJ Strachan Shield finals.
With Seville, Coldstream and Healesville all but assured in the top four, it was a battle between the Rovers and the Burras for the final position.
Warburton-Millgrove travelled to Hoddles Creek, defending 191 on the lightning-quick Hoddles Creek ground. Sitting at 1-19 overnight, both sides were looking for a quick start, and it was the Burras who snuffed out two early wickets to have their finals aspirations on track.
The Derix name is synonymous with cricket at Hoddles Creek, and it was fitting that brothers Brenton and Jeremy combined for a game-changing partnership.
With disciplined batting, the Wombats moved confidently towards the winning target.
The loss of Brenton Derix for 32 gave the Burras some confidence, but Jeremy Derix (102 not out) expertly anchored the chase to see the Wombats through to the target with five wickets in hand.
So Mt Evelyn was assured it would take part in finals and easily accounted for Woori Yallock. After being 2-38 overnight, and in a strong position, the Tigers were rocked from the first over, as the brilliant Kane Jones captured three wickets before the first change of ends.
At 6-43, the Tigers were going to battle to make the required 160 for victory.
Dean Worlley (30) and Daniel Ryan ensured the Tigers wouldn't be completely embarrassed with a fighting 27-run partnership, but Jones would have nothing of a revival as he quickly extinguished the Tigers' tail and finished with 7-38. The Tigers were all out for 87.
Seville and Coldstream will enter the finals with confidence at different ends of the scale after their final-round clash.
Seville not only sent a message to the Crocs, but the entire association as it made short work of their score. Posting an imposing 267 on day one, the Blues didn't give Coldstream an inch as speedsters Matt Tilney (4-49) and Ishara Amerasinghe (3-19) made short work of the Crocs, bowled out for a paltry 118.
In this Saturday's semi-finals Seville is expected to host Coldstream while Healesville should play host to Mt Evelyn.