Junee Stallions have staked their claim on the Elders Cup title after downing arch-rivals Coolac in their table-topping clash on Saturday.
Set 103 to win, Junee slumped to 5-54 before a seventh-wicket stand between Nathan Charlton (22) and James Hook (29) steadied the ship.
The five-wicket win puts one hand on the minor premiership for Junee but it wasn’t always smooth sailing.
Having lost the toss, the Stallions were sent into field without star bowler Joe Crowder but claimed a wicket with the first ball of the innings, courtesy of a Trent Charlton LBW.
Captain Will McGrath then struck in his fourth over, putting Coolac under further pressure before change bowlers Nathan Charlton and Brett Dobson tightened the screws with a tight spell, limiting the defending premiers to 2-43 after 20 overs.
The drinks break sparked life into the Coolac batsmen but N Charlton and Dobson were up for the challenge, claiming two wickets apiece as the middle order crumbled.
McGrath then looked to pressure Coolac again by bringing himself and T Charlton back into the attack with devastating effect.
The skipper delivered a tidy closing spell to claim 1-21 from his 7 overs but it was Trent Charlton who devoured the Coolac tail, claiming four late wickets to finish with 5-22 from 8.
The defending premiers were more destructive with the ball, snaring the early wickets of Stephen Turk, Mick Butler and Trent Charlton to have Junee tottering at 3-32.
Darren Rafferty played a lone hand in the top order, striking a measured 25 before Coolac struck again, claiming Rafferty and Brett Dobson in quick succession.
James Hook proved the key man in the middle order, playing a fine innings alongside Nathan Charlton to see off the Coolac attack and claim victory in the 21st over.
Captain Will McGrath said he was “over the moon” at beating Coolac considering we weren't at full strength.
“Great bowling and pressure fielding was the key to the victory,” he said.
Junee will next play the Lotts Hotel from Gundagai this Saturday at Stan Crowe Oval.