Woodend is hoping it can continue its good form in the Gisborne and District Cricket Association McIntyre Cup finals.
Having won its last three matches, Woodend enters the finals as the form team with the exception of Bacchus Marsh which went through the season undefeated.
Woodend got a small test of what finals will be like over the last two weekends, facing two-time reigning premier Gisborne, in virtually an elimination final.
Whichever team won the match would seal a finals spot, while a loss would all but end the other’s finals hopes.
The Dragons made a more than competitive 239 on day one.
Woodend started well before slipping to 3-67. A partnership between skipper Adam Johnstone and Nick Smith put Woodend to within sight of the win.
The middle and lower order did the job, with Woodend finishing 7-274.
Injured Woodend coach Michael Nalesnyik was thrilled to have sealed a finals spot.
“It’s good to make sure we’re in the finals mix and we knocked out one of the good sides in the process.” Johnstone top scored with 108, which included 17 fours and one six.
Nalesnyik said it was a perfectly timed innings from Johnstone.
“It’s the most free flowing innings I’ve seen from him,” he said.
“He had to leave at 5pm to go to work, so he made his 100 and then went to work.
“He was about 60 and then he put his foot down and the flood gates opened. He hit the 100 with a few minutes to spare.”
Woodend faces Riddell this weekend for a spot in the grand final.
The teams split their two contests this season, with Woodend winning the two-dayer.
They enter the finals on the back of three straight wins and back themselves in if they continue to show the form they had over the last month.
“I suppose it’s a good habit to get into, that winning habit,” Nalesnyik said. “We’re all enjoying our cricket and it’s a great bunch of guys,” he said. “All the teams in the finals have two or three really good players and we think we go pretty deep.
“There’s a few guys who haven’t hit their peak yet.”
Bacchus Marsh will face Romsey in the other final, with Romsey doing enough to seal fourth spot despite a final round loss to the Bulls.
The Bulls won that game with ease having made 324 in their first innings. Romsey made 113 in reply, before the Bulls were bowled out for 190 in their second innings.
Riddell sealed second with a win against Sunbury United, which also consigned United to relegation after finishing bottom. Sunbury and Diggers Rest Bulla were the other winners on Saturday.