And then there were four.
Kyabram’s victory over Mooroopna at the weekend has shaved the Haisman Shield finals chasing pack from five teams to four, with the Redbacks currently occupying pole position in sixth spot.
Old Students (seventh) and Tatura (eighth) are three points behind though — with Shepparton United another three points back in ninth spot.
It means Kyle Mueller’s charges will be looking to keep their heads down and their form up in the final two rounds of the regular season, with one slip-up likely to prove costly in the tight race for sixth.
‘‘We’ve still got to win the next two games to cement our spot, so the focus is on that,’’ Mueller said.
‘‘(But) it was a pretty good win.’’
Once again it was the Redbacks’ bowling attack which got the job done at Kyabram Recreation Reserve, helping the side comfortably defend the 184 it made on day one of play.
But only four bowlers were needed to do the damage, with Jonathan Hipwell (5-31 from 16.3 overs including five maidens), Jackson McLay (3-40 from 23, nine maidens), Charlie McLay (2-50 from 24, seven maidens) and Alec Young (0-15 from six) putting the clamps on the Cats’ batting order.
Charlie McLay’s effort was particularly herculean, sending down his 24 overs in a row during the 44-run win.
‘‘Charlie bowled 24 overs straight and he’s been in some pretty good form lately,’’ Mueller said.
After reaching 2-34 Mooroopna’s batsmen began to depart the crease quickly as Hipwell stood tall to snare the momentum of the match for the home side, with the spinner taking the next four wickets to fall across 23 runs scored.
‘‘He (Hipwell) is starting to hit a bit of form and he was great,’’ Mueller said.
‘‘He really took back a bit of control of the game for us and he had a spell of 12 or so overs straight to help turn the game.’’
Will Hale put up a strong fight for the Cats with 64 runs, while Simon D’Elia made 25 down the order as the visitors were bowled out for 140 inside 70 overs.
The 10th-placed Cats have a bye next round — guaranteeing them six points — but with 12 points between themselves and Kyabram it would take something special, both from themselves and a with mountain of other results going their way, to make up the gap.