MOOROOLBARK'S opening batsmen stood strong after a surprise declaration from Bayswater Park in a RDCA Lindsay Trollope Shield match at Heights Reserve on Saturday.
With the Sharks on 8-151 in the 74th over, captain Ben Beech called his batsmen in, looking to force some late wickets from the Barkers' dangerous top order.
But the ploy failed to yield a wicket. The Barkers were 0-17 and resume this Saturday.
Barkers captain-coach Lincoln Grigg was surprised by the declaration but pleased with how his batsmen responded.
"They had just started to score freely," he said. "It saved us from chasing 170 or 180.
"We got to 0-17, which means instead of chasing a bigger total we will be chasing a little over 130 so we're in a good position and the ground is reasonably quick as well."
Grigg praised his attack, particularly right-arm fast bowler Dan Demitriou (4-40) and first-gamer Dylan Williamson (1-18).
"Dylan kept one end tight and let Dan take wickets at the other end.
"We were able to put pressure on their middle order and turn the game our way."
North Ringwood attempted to follow the lead of former Australian captain Steve Waugh in empowering its tail-end batsmen.
That plan paid dividends against South Croydon on Saturday when an 86-run eighth-wicket partnership between Sam Ridgwell (43) and Michael Wright (41) rescued the Bulls, who went from 8-107 to stumps at 8-193.
The two undefeated teams will be playing for top spot in the RDCA Lindsay Trollope Shield when the Bulldogs chase the Bulls' total this Saturday.
After winning the toss and batting, an undermanned North Ringwood lost wickets consistently to a tight Bulldogs' attack.
At one stage they were 8-107 with Matt Stoikos (41) the top scorer.
But the Bulls then pulled themselves out of trouble with an unbeaten 86-run stand nineth-wicket partnership between Sam Ridgwell (43) and Michael Wright (41) to finish on 8-193, giving them a fighting chance next week.
Ainslie Park's decision to put Warranwood into bat backfired and the Sharks had their best day of the season, compiling 7-286.
After Andy Wu (48) and David Johnson (41) got the ball rolling, and Alec Kajewski (65 not out) and Brett Van Duppen (63) continued the good work to arrive at their final score.
South Warrandyte's Steve Lindsay took two early wickets against Wantirna South to have them at 2-47.
Andrew Jorgensen (101) and Cameron Smith (69) then produced a third-wicket partnership of 167 to see the Devils through to what should be a winning total of 8-318.
Croydon North batted out their overs against Norwood to compile 226. James Belli (64 not out), Ryan Hayres (56) and Nasri Shafiq (49) contributed, while Ben Sansom (3-37) and David Hester (3-42) did the damage with the ball. The round will be completed this Saturday.