SOUTH Croydon got an advantage over its RDCA Lindsay Trollope Shield finals competitors with a win over Warranwood on Saturday.
The Bulldogs faced a one-day clash against the reigning premiers after day one of their game last week was washed out.
The match was also a rematchof last season's grand final.
But with several other matches having started and therefore remaining as two-day matches, the Bulldogs took the chance to take full points, beating Warranwood by 13 runs.
South batted first and compiled 9-150 with Travis Degenhardt (37) and Josh Stewart (33) top scoring. Cameron Moore (3-37) did best with the ball.
In reply, Warranwood was in trouble at 8-97 before the last three batsmen put on 40 to see it finish on 9-137.
Bulldogs captain Josh Stewart said his side had battled without its two opening bowlers but found a way to win.
"The good thing is we and Warranwood knew we would get a result and, given the situation of other games, there would be a few draws," he said.
"So it became a crucial win.
"We have got a really tough start to the year with Warranwood, South Warrandyte and then Mooroolbark, who finished third last year.
"So every win is important with such a tough start, especially over a quality opponent like that."
Stewart said the Bulldogs missed key bowlers Daniel Barsenbach (virus) and Michael King (soreness) although King played as a batsman.
"It was our bowling which won it for us," he said. "We had a few injuries during the week with Daniel and Michael unable to bowl. It was testament to our bowling depth — guys stepped up from minor roles to do a job for us and bowl disciplined and tight lines.
"Ash Viney moved from being a part-time bowler into opening the bowling.
"His second spell at the end of the innings was sensational."
He said off-spinner Rob Hughes bowled eight tight overs at a key stage in the match.
Stewart warned that Warranwood could not be taken lightly despite coming away with an opening round loss.
"They are still a very disciplined and consistent side who remain unchanged from last year.
"We have an enormous amount of respect for them after what they did last year."
North Ringwood resumed at 1-95 and declared at 6-186 with Matt Stoikos (72) and Leigh Jones (41) sharing a second wicket partnership of 106. With 49 overs remaining, Leigh Jones (5-22) and Daniel Xantidis (3-16) ran through Norwood's batting to see the Bulls dismiss the last Vikings batsmen for 87 with two balls remaining.
Mooroolbark's game against Wantirna South fizzled to a draw with the Barker' compiling 9-156 and Wantirna South 0-40. Brendan Ricci (67) top scored and David Ryan (4-25) did best with the ball.
Ainslie Park resumed at 4-42 and pushed their score to 130 with Steve Lindsay (4-32) doing the damage. South Warrandyte then had no answer to the bowling of Scott Panozza (5-31) and were shot out for a dismal 65.
■ Ferntree Gully District Cricket Association, Victorian Sub District Cricket Association and Yarra Valley Cricket Association matches were called off on Saturday due to wet weather the previous night and during the morning.
—Roy Ward and Tony White