The Keech Australia Bendigo Fighting Miners leapfrogged Ballarat on the Victorian Rugby Union ladder with a precious 38-26 win over their arch-rival in Saturday’s rugby.
The win kept alive the sixth-placed Miners’ chances of a play-off spot as they now trail fourth-placed Melton by only six points with six games remaining.
Centre Gerritt Maiai spearheaded Bendigo’s convincing win with a hat-trick of tries and four conversions for a match haul of 23 points.
Maiai opened the scoring for Bendigo with a converted try after 10 minutes of play. Ballarat responded with a try seven minutes later, but Bendigo stretched its lead to 14 points with a second try to Maiai and another to fill-in half-back Matt Boyle.
Bendigo led by as many as 21 points in the second half before Ballarat rallied late.
The Manchester Arms player of the day was Gerrit Maiai. He was well supported by Blake Theunissen, Nick Wall, Jake Follent, Josephar Maiai and Boyle.
Next Saturday, the Miners take on Geelong at Epsom.