With third spot on the line, Central/Stirling met West Augusta on a sweltering Saturday at ETSA Oval.
With the temperature exceeding 40 degrees, the game was reduced the 40 overs per side, and it was Central that negotiated the conditions better on their way to their fourth win of the season.
After bowling the Hawks out for 113, Jeremy Edson lead the run chase with 37-not-out to see the Tigers home by five wickets.
Garth Burley and Kale Irvine got things going for West and saw off the new ball, while scoring at just over three an over.
The first wicket fell when Burley was out caught behind for 11 to leave West 1/37 off 13 overs.
Declan Duffy took his place at the crease, but didn’t last as long and was nicked off for just four.
Mitchell Foote came in at number four and had immediate impact with two fours to start his innings.
Foote and Irvine got things moving again slowly, but some tight bowling from Cameron and Jeremy Edson brought about Irvine’s downfall, as he mistimed a cut shot off Jeremy for 38.
Foote was joined at the crease by Jason McInerney and the two experienced players in the West line-up lifted the run rate, before another sharp caught and bowled effort from Cameron Edson saw the back of McInerney for six.
This began a collapse, as the Hawks’ middle order looked to lift their total to something defendable.
Tom McInerney, Joel Coulthard and Darcy Irvine all fell to good catches from wicket keeper Lucas Hill off Cameron Edson.
With Foote still at the crease, West were hopeful of achieving a good score, but these hopes were lost when he edged one off Roby McDonald, but Lucas Hill dropped it. However, a quick single allowed Toby Baxter to collect the ball and run Foote out in bizarre circumstances.
Central then finished things off quickly and bowled West out for 113.
Edson was the pick of the bowlers with 4/17 from his eight overs, while Irvine and Foote were the only two batsmen to get going with 38 and 30 respectively.
The run chase got off to a horrible start for Central, with Darcy Irvine knocking Drew McDonald over for a duck. Drew’s brother, Roby, came in at three and partnered Lucas Hill for 13 overs to get things back on track.
McDonald was the aggressor of the two, hitting four boundaries, before chopping one onto his stumps off Jason McInerney for 23.
West then had a purple patch, taking three wickets for just five runs in the space of six overs. Kale Irvine got the big wicket of Hill for 15 and Toby Baxter was caught after top edging his first ball off Russell Coulthard.
Then, Jeremy Edson stepped up and clicked into gear. He belted Irvine for four consecutive boundaries to break the shackles and put Central back on top in the game, leaving them needing 50 off the last 15 overs.
After racing to 23, he lost his partner, Ryan Finlayson for nine and the game was back in the balance. However, it was quickly taken away from the Hawks, as Orson Poole came out and scored some crucial runs in his supporting role with Edson.
When the Tigers needed just 20 runs to win, Poole launched a six and a four within three balls and he and Edson guided them home by five wickets.
Edson and Poole both finished not out on 37 and 26 respectively, while Russell Coulthard was the only West bowler to take multiple wickets.
After this loss, the only way West can make the top three and qualify for finals is if they beat Quorn and South in their final two games, while Central will need just one more win to cement their preliminary final spot.
In Round 14, the Tigers take on South Augusta, who have already locked in their place in the Grand Final.
If West are unable to defeat Quorn in the penultimate round, the clash between Central/Stirling and Quorn in the final minor round will act as a preview to the preliminary final.