Queanbeyan are confident they can cover the loss of potential future England fast bowler Ed Barnard in their quest to finish top two and earn a home final in the Cricket ACT two-day competition.
Queanbeyan's 54-run win over Tuggeranong Valley at Chisholm on Saturday gives them a chance to finish top if they beat Eastlake in the final round.
The race for the minor premiership was thrown wide open following Western District UC's 58-run victory over Eastlake at Kingston, putting Wests also in the hunt for top spot, needing to beat Ginninderra to have a chance.
But Queanbeyan will have to do it without Barnard, with the England under-19 returning to begin pre-season for his county, Worcestershire.
His contribution will be sorely missed, especially with the ball where he averages less than 20 runs for every wicket.
But they have a handy replacement in ACT Comets coach Mark Higgs, who played for South Australia and NSW in the Sheffield Shield and is set to come into the side.
"With Eddy going back to Worcestershire to pursue his cricketing career and trying to land his spot there, but Higgsy slots in perfectly – we still keep an option with the bat and ball," Queanbeyan captain Sam Taylor said.
"If we win next week it's us into first spot. That's big on our mind but at the same time we've got to get past Eastlake. They're a good team with plenty of bowling and batting options."
Queanbeyan were able to run through the Tuggeranong line-up, with their quicks Taylor (4-38) and Guy Gillespie (3-25) the main culprits.
The Wests bowlers also dominated to give them a chance to claim the minor premiership, while an unbeaten 145 from Jono Dean was only stopped by the rain as Weston Creek Molonglo tried to chase down North Canberra Gungahlin's massive total of 9-344.
AT A GLANCE
Western District UC 225 and 1-94 (Matthew Gilkes 55 not out) bt Eastlake 167 (Paul O'Malveney 49, Dale Riley 4-50, Alex Taylor 3-14)
Queanbeyan 172 and 2-84 (Lakshmn Shivakkumar 32 not out) bt Tuggeranong Valley 118 (L Witheridge 39, Sam Taylor 4-38, Guy Gillespie 3-25)
North Canberra Gungahlin 9-344 dec dw Weston Creek Molonglo 5-218 (Jono Dean 145 not out, Harry Medhurst 43)
Ginninderra 195 bt ANU 179