AINSLIE Park faces a litmus test of its finals aspirations when it chases Norwood's 217 in the RDCA Lindsay Trollope Shield this Saturday.
The Parkers' bowling attack regained control of the first day's play with several late wickets after the Norsemen were at 3-100 mid-innings.
Ben Hastie (55), Brendan O'Riley (51), Jarrod Hochkins (43) and David Hester (35) were the mainstays of the innings.
Parkers captain-coach Mark Arnot said his bowlers had got themselves back into line and restricted the Norsemen. "The total was not as much as we would have expected halfway through play. They were looking pretty comfy and batting well. We just started bowling tighter."
Teenage medium-pacer Brad Wadsworth was among the Parkers' best bowlers in his second game for the senior side.
Arnot said his side simply would have to bat out its allotted overs this Saturday to assure victory. "If we bat our overs we will have a good chance of winning. It's about batting for all our time. I am confident we can do it, it's a great challenge for us.
"But when you have runs on the board you are in a good position. We have lost a bit of experience from last year but we do have enough cattle to make that score. We need to be smart and slowly chip away."
Last year's premier Warranwood had a day it would rather forget when North Ringwood ripped it apart for a meagre 112.
At one stage the Sharks were 8-66 before Andrew Spittle (32) contributed at the end. Luke Ridgewell (3-17) and Carey Arthurson (3-29) did the damage for the Bulls. North Ringwood will resume this week at 2-18.
On a slow Hughes Park, the game was in the balance with Mooroolbark at 3-65 against Croydon North. A brilliant fourth-wicket partnership of 176 between Brendan Ricci (119 not out) and Adam Brush (89) then turned the game to see the Barkers compile 5-270.
After losing an early wicket, South Warrandyte's David Hill (63) and Josh Barrett (42) put on 81 for the second wicket before a collapse saw the Hawks sit at 6-127 off 44 overs.
Michael Crosbie (50no), Damien Vosso (42) and Paul Milne (25no) negotiated the rest of the overs to see their side finish on 7-243 against Bayswater Park.
South Croydon's Josh Stewart (76) and Steve Staddon (28) gave the Bulldogs a steady start against Wantirna South.
Michael King (68) and Phil Cross (31) then took the score to 4-191 before a late flurry of wickets saw South Croydon declare at 9-244 with six overs remaining. Travis Clarke (4-22) took the bowling honours for Wantirna South, who will resume at 0-13.