A brave bowling performance by the Deni Rhinos Division One side saw a close finish against Katunga at Memorial Park on Saturday.
After only managing to score 66 runs, the Rhinos were left with a mammoth task with the ball.
The home side impressed, tearing through the middle order to have the visitors 8/60, with the Swans needing seven runs for victory from their final two wickets.
Unfortunately for the Rhinos they were unable to overcome the odds, with Katunga scoring 9/77 before deciding to finish the game early.
The loss resulted in a one-win gap between the sixth placed Rhinos and fourth placed Cobram.
Rhinos skipper Jack Tonta was impressed by his side’s resilience.
‘‘To be bowled out for 66 and then to fight back and have them 8/60 really showed there was a little bit in the pitch for the bowlers,’’ he said.
‘‘Unfortunately we just couldn’t get the job done in the end.
‘‘Every game is a must win from now on to keep our finals hopes alive.’’
Katunga won the toss, choosing to bowl on what was a tough batting wicket.
The move proved a good one for the visitors, claiming Rhinos opener Chris Pyle for a golden duck, trapped in front by Priyankara Silva (1/8 off five) on the first ball of the day.
Tim Hillier then joined Mitch Jefferies at the crease, with the pair combining for 39 runs.
The partnership was then broken with Jefferies (12) caught and bowled by Chris Kelly (2/17 off eight) with the Rhinos sitting at 2/39.
This started a collapse for the home side, with Hillier (30), Tonta (one), Robbie Heane (four), Ben Irwin (two), Tom Fellows (0) and Chris Baines (four) all dismissed to have the Rhinos 8/65.
Phil Rotherham (10 not out) could only add one more run to the final total, before both Will Keech and Cameron McDonald were out for no score.
In reply, Katunga’s Spencer Small scored a crucial 22 runs, with Brad Tweed (16) and Matthew Healey (15 not out) also helping their side to victory.
Rhinos pace bowler Chris Baines was the pick of the attack with 6/16 off eight, while Tonta (2/20) off five) and Hillier (1/12 off six) also claimed wickets.
‘‘Ben Irwin and Tim Hillier got us off to a great start with the ball while myself and Chris Baines kept the pressure on,’’ Tonta said.
‘‘Our fielding and catching was a key in keeping us in the game.
‘‘Overall it was a great team effort in the field.’’
The Rhinos will host fourth placed Cobram on Saturday.
The Rhinos’ Under 14s suffered their first loss of the season, going down to a visiting Nathalia by one run on Saturday.
The young Rhinos batted first, with an unbeaten 20 runs by Kai Hillier leading his side to finish 7/59 after the allotted 20 overs.
In a thrilling finish Nathalia levelled the scores with just one ball remaining following a boundary.
The Purples managed to score a single on the final ball to give themselves a tremendous win.
The Rhinos will now travel to take on an undefeated Cobram for day one of their two day clash this Saturday.