United and Mandurang improved their EVCA finals chances on day one of round 11.
In a three-way race with Marong for fourth place, United and Mandurang are well-placed to secure much-needed wins.
United compiled 259 against Marong at Ewing Park thanks largely to an 80-run stand for the ninth wicket between Dooley Niemann and Troy Young.
The Tigers were in trouble at 8-156 before Niemann (51 not out) and Young (48) smashed eight sixes and five fours between them to turn the game in United's favour.
Earlier, United skipper Harry Whittle made 48 before becoming the first of four scalps for Marong spinner Dean Cosgriff (4-38).
United missed an opportunity to gain a one-game buffer on Mandurang and Marong when it lost to premiership favourite Sedgwick in Sunday's one-day encounter.
After winning the toss and batting, United had a score of 200-plus on the radar when it was 1-93.
However, the Tigers couldn't maintain their momentum against some tight bowling from the Rams.
United eventually posted 8-163 off its 40 overs, with Patrick Hartney top-scoring with 44.
In reply, it took Sedgwick until the final over to secure the points.
The Rams lost three early wickets to be 3-28 and it appeared as though the Tigers could cause an upset.
Sedgwick skipper Rick Ladson took 20 balls to get off the mark, but his patience paid off.
The experienced left-hander added 79 with Greg Thomas (41) to put Sedgwick back on track.
Ladson’s departure for 63 off 78 balls gave United a sniff of victory.
With two overs remaining Sedgwick required 17 runs to win with just three wickets in hand.
Wily veteran Scott McKenzie stepped up for the Rams and scored 11 runs off the penultimate over.
Jordan Ilsley then hit two boundaries off the first three balls of the final over to secure victory for Sedgwick.
Ilsley finished unbeaten on 21, with McKenzie 14 not out off just eight balls.
McKenzie’s cameo with the bat followed an equally important cameo with the ball late in United innings.
He took 2-6 off three overs to help restrict United to a score below 170.
United’s best bowler was Joe Hartney, who took 2-25 from his eight overs.
Mandurang did its finals hopes no harm on day one of its clash with West Bendigo on Saturday.
Mandurang went to stumps on day one just 86 runs away from securing first innings points.
West Bendigo had looked in control of the game at 1-90, but the Redbacks lost their way with the bat.
They lost final nine wickets for just 76 runs to be all out for 166 inside 55 overs.
Beau Roy-Clements ripped through the West Bendigo middle-order and finished with figures of 4-36, while Jeremy Hancock picked up 3-43.
Gary Singh (53 off 52 balls) and Darren De Marchi (36) batted well for West Bendigo.
Mandurang raced to 0-81 in its first innings, with Phil Berry unbeaten on 41 and Rhys Williams 34.
Emu Creek holds the upper hand in its potenital semi-final preview clash with Spring Gully.
Opening bowler Anthony Collins took 5-64 and spinner Todd Brown claimed 3-29 as Emu Creek dismissed Spring Gully for 160.
Rhys Webb (36) and Lachlan Brook (26) made starts for the Gully, but couldn't go on with it.
Byron Perrin made a crucial 29 not out to lift the Crows above 150.
Emu Creek batted for 10 overs and moved to 2-49, with openers Luke Bennett (12) and Shane Hamilton (14) back in the sheds.
California Gully has given itself a chance of winning its first game of the season.
The Cobras bowled a disappointing Maiden Gully out for 173 and will resume next Saturday at 2-28.
Maiden Gully made a blistering start with the bat and were 0-71 before the loss of Alex Gorrie for 52 triggered a collapse of 10-102.
Gorrie's opening partner Angus Chisholm top-scored with a patient 54, but the rest of the Maiden Gully line-up failed to fire.
All five of California Gully's bowlers took wickets, with Shaun O'Shea (3-44) the most successful.
Maiden Gully struck twice before stumps through medium-pacers Shane Rabbitt and Rob Brown.
Jordan Knight (11 not out) and Brad Webster (0 not out) will resume for California Gully next Saturday.
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