Eastlake fast bowler Anthony Meere traded the ski slopes of Japan for a five-wicket haul to put his side in the box seat of securing a place in the Douglas Cup semi-finals.
Meere claimed 5-24 to help dismiss North Canberra Gungahlin for 131 on the opening day of their two-day clash at Kingston Oval on Saturday.
A superb unbeaten half-century from Matt Winter then guided Eastlake to 5-132 at stumps to claim first innings points.
Eastlake started the last round of the season in fourth place on the table on 22 points, two behind North Canberra Gungahlin.
Both teams are nervously looking over their shoulders with Queanbeyan (14) on track to snatch an outright victory against last-placed Ginninderra.
Meere didn't show any rust despite having not bowled for a month, the 34-year-old troubling the Norths' batsmen with his consistent line and length.
"I went skiing in Japan for three and a half weeks, so clearly the skiing has a correlation with bowling well," Meere said.
"The ball was coming out well before I went overseas and took four wickets against ANU.
"I got a couple to nibble off the pitch, seemed to bowl good areas and that's the main thing."
Eastlake is aiming to redeem itself in the two-day competition after winning the minor premiership in the Gallop Cup, but bowing out in the semi-finals of the 50-over format.
Winter stood up when it was required in the vital run chase, finishing on 58 not out as wickets fell around him at the other end.
"The pitch certainly changed a little bit in the afternoon and the spinners bowled really well and Matty certainly performed a sensible knock, playing the balls that were there for him to hit," Meere said.
"We're very confident of playing finals since we got first innings points and actually giving it a red-hot crack in the finals series.
"Although the boys lost the last couple of games against some strong opposition, we're starting to build and that will give us some confidence."
Queanbeyan are in a strong position to reach the finals after bowling Ginninderra out for 86.
Ginninderra will resume in their second innings at 2-31 next week, needing another 40 runs to make Queanbeyan (6-157 dec) bat again.
Vele Dukoski (5-40) and Guy Gillespie (4-22) shared the spoils to put Queanbeyan on top.
"We've given ourselves a decent chance of getting 10 points so we're pretty happy," Queanbeyan batsman Dean Solway said.
"We didn't want to just play for an outright, we wanted to play good, positive cricket and we knew it could happen.
"We're keen to give it a crack and get into the finals."
Weston Creek Molonglo easily claimed first innings points against Wests/UC in the top-of-the-table encounter at Stirling Oval, and Tuggeranong posted a formidable total of 348 against ANU at Chisholm Oval.
ACT Premier Cricket: North Canberra Gungahlin 131 v Eastlake 5-132 at Kingston Oval. Weston Creek Molonglo 3-214 v Wests/UC 186 at Stirling Oval. Ginninderra 86 and 2-31 v Queanbeyan 6-157 (dec) at Kippax Oval. Tuggeranong 348 v ANU at Chisholm Oval.