Deni Rhinos’ Division One side have locked away top spot with a 31 run win against Barooga on Saturday.
Playing on their home deck at Memorial Park, the Rhinos recorded their 10th win of the season to sit 15 premiership points clear on top of the ladder.
Upon winning the toss, Deni elected to bat first against the Hawks’ bowling attack.
Barooga struck early with the ball, with Rhinos skipper Chris Pyle (three) bowled with only 14 runs on the board.
Jonty Tubb (7) and Tim Hillier (0) were both out in quick succession, and when Mitch Jefferies (29) was run out, Deni were in trouble at 4/47.
Charlie Hillier and Anthony Bradley (13) were the new batsmen at the crease for a 22 run partnership before the latter was caught, bringing Tom McCallum to the crease.
The two young batsmen in Hillier and McCallum proved a winning formula for Deni, with the pair putting together a 62 run sixth wicket partnership.
Hillier (41) was the next to go, with Tom Fellows (0) and McCallum (41) following soon after to have the Rhinos 8/147.
The tail-end managed to add an extra 31 runs, with Lachlan Barrett finishing 20 not out to help his side to 178 all out after 39.4 overs.
Sam Poole was the pick of the bowlers with 3/16 off 6.4 overs, with Richard Lavery (3/40 off eight) also bowling well.
Barooga got off to a strong start in their run chase with a 36 run opening partnership between Lavery and Lachlan Sutton (18).
Bradley (3/32 off seven) took the breakthrough wicket for his side, having Sutton caught.
A 30 run second wicket partnership between Lavery and Barooga’s Stephen Marshall was also ended by Bradley, bowling the latter out to have the visitors 2/66.
Jon O’Dwyer’s time at the crease was limited, but Lavery continued to score well alongside Chris Cheong.
The pair put together a 50 run partnership before Deniliquin’s Stephen Marshall (3/5 off four) struck with his first wicket, having Cheong (18) caught out.
The Hawks completely crumbled at this stage with the next six wickets falling for just 21 runs.
It was Marshall who claimed the prized wicket of Lavery, ending his innings on a well made 52 runs.
Charlie Hillier (2/24 off eight) had a successful day, in what was his first game of the year bowling pace, taking the last two wickets to end Barooga’s innings at 147 after 37 overs.
The Rhinos will now shift their focus to a top of the table clash against second place Finley in Finley this Saturday.
The Division Two Rhinos will not feature in finals this year, following a seven wicket loss to Cobram on Saturday.
Deni struggled after winning the toss and electing to bat, managing just 63 runs before being all out after just 17.2 overs.
The visiting Tigers side cruised to victory, taking 18 overs to finish 3/75 to secure second spot on the ladder.
Deni’s season has now come to an end in Division Two.