Could Werribee be a major player in the Victorian Sub-District Cricket Association north-west finals?
The Tigers have largely escaped the spotlight after losing their opening four games of the season, but since round five, no team has accumulated more points.
Only top-of-the-ladder Melton has matched the 33 points that Werribee has picked up since December 2.
The Tigers have gone undefeated in that span – winning four, drawing two and a tie.
Most would have felt that Werribee’s finals dreams were gone when they lost their opening four games, but belief has never waned in the Tiger camp.
Tigers captain-coach Tim O’Brien lauded the character of his players to keep fighting it out.
The Tigers were rewarded for their endeavour with a spot in the top six with two rounds to play.
“I can’t fault the character of the boys,” O’Brien said.
“We did the same last year, I think we needed to win the last four games to make the finals, so I knew we definitely had it in us after what we did last year.”
It was do or die for Werribee on Saturday.
The Tigers have been in this position for most of the season, but the pressure has not got to them yet.
Defending their 9-233 declared, Werribee managed to bowl Yarraville out for 163 at Chirnside Park on Saturday, replacing them in the top six as a result.
“It was a massive result in the context of the season,” O’Brien said.
“If Yarraville had beaten us, they would’ve gone two games clear of us, so us winning gets us on the same points and our percentage is fairly healthy, so we’re ahead of them at the moment.”
Jonathan Burton put the finishing touches on a man of the match performance for Werribee.
The new ball operator finished with 6-30 off 22.2 overs, including a jaw-dropping first day hat-trick.
Spinner Michael Kelly was the key for Werribee on day two. Kelly finished with 3-49 off 18 overs – all three wickets coming at vital times, including two in one over.
“He’s been real important for us,” O’Brien said. “He came on when we really needed something, when they had put on a fair few.”
Jack Budd took 1-29 off 15 overs, including the prized scalp of Yarraville captain-coach Matthew Love for 77.
While Love was at the crease, the visiting Eagles were still every chance of chasing down the score.
Now Werribee has gone from the hunters to the hunted, can they keep up their winning ways and wrap up a finals berth?
The Tigers will need to be wary of the unpredictable Taylors Lakes, which beat them last season. The sides will meet in a two-day game at Chirnside Park starting on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Hoppers Crossing refuses to be counted out of the finals race.
The Cats are just three points outside the top six after a solid 60-run win away to Preston on Saturday. With only 185 runs to defend, the Cats made it look easy, rolling Preston for just 125. Abbas Faiyaz was the star with the ball for the Cats with 4-29 off 16.4, while Brett Smith took 3-28 off 13 and wicketkeeper Justin Goegan took five catches. Hoppers Crossing will host ladder-leader Melton in a huge game at Hogans Road Reserve starting on Saturday.