Timaru’s season is now in their own hands after they demolished Waimate and Temuka mucked up a gettable chase against Celtic to relinquish second place.
With one round left, the eight-wicket win at Ashbury has put Timaru in the boxseat but things remain delicately poised.
Timaru must now beat all-conquering Celtic in three weeks’ time to guarantee the two will meet again in the final, or else rely on Roncalli/Celtic to upset Temuka at home.
With Timaru and Celtic already confirmed as finalists for the Twenty20 competition, the two teams could see a lot of each other over the next month.
Timaru’s Saturday did not begin so well as Waimate made them work early on, opener Sam Porter taking advantage of some free hits and a fast outfield on his way to 32.
Three wickets for left-arm off-spinner Zane Sanders pulled it back for Timaru before Connor Farrell arrived at the crease.
Farrell counter-attacked his way to 52, an innings that included five sixes and only four singles.
After Farrell tried for the boundary once too often and was dismissed by Josh Smallridge, the Waimate innings folded, losing five wickets for eight runs to be all out for 148.
Timaru lost two wickets early on but once Prabodha Arthavidu (61no) and Josh Dick (57no) got themselves in, the result was never in doubt.
The South Canterbury pair plundered the Waimate attack and reached the target inside 23 overs.
At Mountainview, an impressive maiden century for 18-year-old Liam Beck got Roncalli/Celtic home against Star at Mountainview.
Beck came in at a difficult time early on with Roncalli/Celtic two wickets down with just one run on the board.
He and keeper/batsman Tristram Cooper (41) built a partnership and the runs began to flow.
When Cooper departed Beck found another ally in Ben de Joux.
The two were still together when Cooper dispatched a waist-high no-ball to the boundary to bring up his hundred.
He was finally dismissed for 104 while de Joux kept going to be 31 not out at the end.
Returning fast-bowler Craig Hinton took four wickets for Star as the innings finished at 208-8.
Star then also found themselves at 2-1
Half centuries to Danny Campbell (58) and debutant Russell Thomas (55) put them back in the hunt but they lost six wickets for 23 in an awful middle-order collapse.
The lower order put up a fight but a one-handed catch from Grant Watt – who also took 3-13 with the ball – ended the match with Star 25 short.
A new-look Temuka bowling attack rolled Celtic for 143 at Temuka Oval but a batting collapse left their season on a knife-edge.
Former Canterbury fast bowler and Black Sticks drag-flick king Hayden Shaw lined up for Temuka and took two wickets, while Vaughan Tarrant’s seamers picked up three as Celtic struggled on a playable wicket.
Early wickets sent the jitters through the Temuka batting line-up and they never recovered, all out for 111.
Daniel Dorgan picked up four wickets, with James Blackstock and Sam Carlaw chipping in with two apiece.