The class is coming to the fore in Murray Valley premier division cricket.
The league’s top two sides in Cobram and Barooga recorded convincing outright wins in a rare round of Saturday and Sunday cricket.
Cobram maintained the pace at the peak of the ladder courtesy of an outright win against struggling Finley.
The ailing Cats faced an uphill battle after mustering just 75, an innings brought to a premature end by Taylor Pugh’s sublime spell of 4-1 in five overs.
Finley lost its last six wickets for eight runs as Pugh followed up the good work of Shaun Downie (3-7 from 8.1 overs) and Mark Haberfield (2-23 from 12 overs).
Cobram’s chase endured a tough start, slumping to 4-18 as Michael Laver claimed three wickets in a memorable opening spell, highlighted by knocking over Ash Saunders for a golden duck and young gun Izac Artavilla for a globe.
But the cool head of skipper Manny Artavilla steadied the ship.
Artavilla scored a polished 56 and found able allies in Pugh (23) and Andrew Hogan (30) as the Tigers raced to 8-156 in 33.5 overs before declaring.
Laver finished with figures of 4-25 from seven overs, justifying his promotion from Finley’s division two side.
Opener Daniel Hibberd set the tone for the Cats in the second innings, smashing six fours and a six in a sparkling 39 before becoming the first wicket to fall at 45.
But yet again Finley’s frailties with the willow sprung up as Haberfield (4-20) and Hogan (4-11) tore through the middle and lower order.
The Cats were bowled out for 93 in their second dig, doing enough to make Cobram bat again, a task that proved a doddle for the Tigers, reaching 0-14 in 11 deliveries.
Justin Maley proved the star as Barooga crushed a disappointing Waaia by an innings and 10 runs.
The Hawks ace claimed 13-60 in a memorable performance.
Waaia looked to be cruising at 1-76 in the first innings, highlighted by Brayden Carey’s 45, before a stunning collapse of 9-10 had the Bombers skittled for 86.
Maley returned figures of 5-17 and Shane Healey played a supporting role with figures of 4-15.
Barooga had no such problems with the bat as Andrew Reynoldson and Jamie Stanyer scored half-centuries.
Reynoldson, fresh from a ton the previous week, hit 11 boundaries in a stylish 81, while opener Stanyer contributed 74, featuring 13 fours.
Riyaad Henry (47), Kale Watkins (34) and Matthew Dimble (27) played cameo roles as the Hawks declared at 7-283.
Jordan Cleeland (2-39 from 11 overs) was the pick of the Waaia bowlers.
The Bombers made a much better fist of batting the second time around with boom import Michael Mitchell among the runs.
Mitchell took his season’s aggregate to 434 runs (400 in the premier division) with 82, while Mitch Cleeland (54 not out) offered stern resistance.
But the star was Maley, who claimed 8-43 in 15.2 overs as Waaia’s second innings closed at 187.
Katamatite’s faint finals hopes remain alive following an impressive win at home against Cobram-Yarroweyah United.
CYU elected to bat after winning the toss, but fell foul of the Parnells, who helped knock the combine over for 88.
Bradley (5-28 from 15 overs) and Daniel (2-14 from eight) starred for the Tigers, while Tom Pendlebury (3-28) also produced a top-draw spell.
Katamatite sealed first innings points with the loss of just three wickets, as Daniel Parnell followed up his bowling heroics with 45.
Pendlebury (29) also got going, but the star with the bat was Andrew Erickson.
Erickson hit 13 boundaries in a sublime 91, putting on 73 for the last wicket alongside captain Lachlan Sharp (seven not out) as the Tigers finished 233.
Kane Goldsworthy proved the leading light for CYU, taking 5-34 in 15 overs.
Goldsworthy has claimed 17 wickets in the past three matches, but amazingly all have ended in defeat.
CYU’s only plan was to avoid outright defeat and that is what they did, reaching 7-122 in the second innings when stumps were taken.
Kieran Andrew (48) top-scored, as Bradley Parnell wrapped up a top display with 3-38 for match figures of 8-66.
Nathalia had the weekend off after Katunga forfeited for the second time this season.