The hopes held by Old Paradians/St Francis of moving into the Diamond Valley Cricket Association’s Barclay Shield top four have been boosted.

Sitting outside the top four only on percentage heading into the second last round, the Wolves were needing at least one win, and possibly two, in the final two rounds.

The first step looks to have been completed, with the Wolves already claiming first-innings points against bottom side Research Eltham Collegians. Wolves restricted the Collegians to 106. Udhara Hewa Wellalage and Supun Passikku Hannadige took four wickets each.

In reply, Wolves secured first-innings points before stumps and will resume at 6-108. Kevin Lowe made a quick 47.

The Wolves will aim for an outright win and an extra four points that could come in handy in the hunt for a top-four spot.

Another side looking for a win to keep its finals hopes alive is Epping, which sits six points outside the top four in seventh spot.

Facing third-placed Diamond Creek, Epping made 173, bowled out with more than 20 overs remaining.

John Kulikowski top scored with 62, while late-order hitting from Marcus Murphy proved vital in pushing the score past 150.

Bundoora, three points ahead of bottom side Research Eltham Collegians, is on track for a win that will keep it out of relegation contention.

Bundoora is 1-49 chasing Macleod’s 103. Ryan Eley was the pick of the Bundoora bowlers with 4-31.

Riverside restricted North Eltham Wanderers to 131 and Rosanna made 134 against Lower Eltham.

In the Money Shield, Plenty Power will resume at 2-236 after it easily chased down Lalor Stars’ 147.

It was the Mitch Johnson show for the Power – he took 4-32 and then backed it up by making 162 not out.

Whittlesea was bowled out for just 91 in a disappointing performance with the bat against Lower Plenty, which made the target and will resume at 5-147.

Bundoora United is 2-38 chasing Banyule’s 118. Scott Barnett destroyed Banyule’s batting line-up, taking 7-32 off 18.5 overs.

Mernda survived a couple of late overs unscathed after bowling Heidelberg out for 166. Akila Isanka took four wickets. Mernda will resume at 0-4.

In the other match, Eltham is 3-41 needing 88 for first-innings points against Montmorency.