KIEWA’S powerful batting line-up fired a warning shot across the bows of other likely finalists with an emphatic win against Howlong on Saturday.
Kelvin Bailey (61), pushed up the order to open in the clash shortened to a one-dayer after the previous week’s rain, provided the foundation to Kiewa’s 230 off just 40 overs.
Ash Sutherland (89no) and Josh Bartel (46) were also key contributors.
Teenage speedster Ryan de Vries then set the tone for the Spiders’ run chase with a rearing short pitched delivery to opener Stephen Burgess, catching his glove in the first over — the Spiders dismissed for 94 in just 22 overs.
Kiewa now sits fourth, well inside the top six.
Kiewa captain Shane Streeter said his team had finally delivered on its potential.
“If we can put together our best with the ball and bat then I don’t think there is a team in the competition that can match us,” he said.
“We changed things around on Saturday when it was reduced to a one-dayer and Kelvin (Bailey) got us off to a flyer — his power is just devastating.
“Then Ash was in great touch and just cruised to 89, never really looked like getting out and Josh (Bartel) let loose with the bat at the end.
“It is probably the first time we have reached our full potential.
“There have been games where we have batted well and bowled poorly and others where we have bowled a side out for 150 and then struggled to get the runs.”
Medium pacer Jesse McInerney made the most of his chances in the top grade with three wickets from his six overs.
But Kiewa will go into the last round of the home-and-away season next week against ladder leaders Eskdale without Bailey and Bartel.
“It will be a test, particularly without those two, but Graeme Edwards comes back into the side and we don’t lack depth in the batting,” Streeter said.
“Our numbers nine and 10 got 50 and 40 the last time they batted, so we bat pretty deep.”
Elsewhere, Eskdale all but sealed top spot with an eight-run victory over Yackandandah at the weekend.
Batting first at home Ben Paton (28) and Jamie Baude (33no) were the keys to their total of 136 which suffered on a slow outfield and losing four wickets to run outs.
The second-placed Roos were dismissed for 128 with eight overs still to bat.
Baude expected the top of the table clash to go down to the wire and wasn’t disappointed.