BENDIGO has all but guaranteed a berth in Thursday's Northern Rivers Under-14 Country Week grand final after defeating Shepparton by eight runs in a thriller on Tuesday.
The round two clash at Tallygaroopna went down to the wire, with Shepparton requiring 14 runs off the last over to chase down Bendigo's total of 170.
All-rounder Daniel Clohesy was given the task of bowling the final over and he didn't let his team down, conceding just five runs.
Earlier in the day, Clohesy (40), skipper James Ryan (40) and Matthew Long (28) led the way with the bat for Bendigo.
Opening bowler Sean O'Farrell was Bendigo's best with the ball, taking 3-22 off eight overs.
Clohesy, Long, Jack Bourke and Liam Brown picked up one wicket each.
Bendigo is the only unbeaten team heading into Wednesday's third round clash against Goulburn Murray at Moama.
Shepparton, which plays Seymour in round three, appears Bendigo's most likely grand final opponent.
Seymour (5-109) defeated Shepparton Colts (108) in round two, while Murray Valley (5-140) kept alive its hopes by beating Goulburn Murray (126).
Bendigo's under-16 side suffered its second-straight loss in the Northern Rivers Under-16 Country Week carnival.
After losing to Seymour in round one, Bendigo was bowled out for 55 by Shepparton in Tuesday's clash at Tatura.
Shepparton replied with 3-93 off 18 overs before stumps were drawn early.
In other round two matches, Seymour (112) defeated Shepparton Colts (102) and Goulburn Murray 7-124 were too good for Murray Valley (110).
Bendigo's third round match is against Goulburn Murray at Cooma.
Meanwhile, Victoria Country faces a tough run chase going into day two of the Australian Country Cricket Championships in Canberra.
The Victoria Country squad, which includes Strathdale-Maristians trio Travis King, Linton Jacobs and Cam Taylor, will chase New South Wales' imposing total of 7-321 off 95 overs.
Jacobs was Victoria Country's wicket-keeper, taking catches to dismiss the Blues' top scorers Matt Littlewood (96) and Greg Hunt (85).
Taylor bowled 15 overs of leg-spin for figures of 0-45, including two maidens.