STEVE Skinner's Newtown Tigers have kept their faint Whitney Cup finals hopes alive after accounting for South Dubbo Hornets on Saturday.
On Saturday, Newtown gained some ground on CYMS and Macquarie with those two sides going down in their games.
This means the final three rounds will be full of interest bearing in mind that premiers Rugby and RSL-Colts won their games on Saturday and are assured of being in the finals.
Protecting their first innings total of 164 from the day one, the Newtown bowlers toiled hard on a less-than-responsive No.2 Oval wicket to have Souths all out for 155.
Newtown then batted a second time for bonus points, declaring at 4-138 after 25 overs and when stumps were pulled Souths were 1-63 from nine overs.
Skinner said the efforts of his bowlers and the continued excellent batting form of opener Tetaan Henning were the main positives to come from the win - as well as the winning points.
"The pitch was a real road and the bowlers had to work hard to get any rewards," Steve Skinner said.
"Ben Patterson was again very good and deserved his 3-34 from 13 overs and young Marty Jeffrey, playing only his second game in first grade, picked up a couple of wickets.
"Marty got a bit of turn and that was good on that wicket.
"While there are still three rounds of cricket to be played and we need to probably win them all to be assured of that third spot, the batting is looking more solid with Tetaan (Henning) and Wayne (Dunlop) hitting the ball really well.
"Tetaan is looking really good on difficult wickets and despite being out of the game for a few years I can now see why he was a first class cricketer in his native South Africa before coming to Australia.
"He's made 42 and 58 in this game and didn't appear to be in any trouble, while Wayne's half century (in the second innings) was also a good sign."
Souths resumed on Saturday 1-14 with Scott Tucker (4) and Nathan Finlay (7) looking to improve. Tucker didn't add to his score and Souths slumped to 3-18 after Shane Groen came and went for two, but Finlay made a useful 42.
However, captain Matt Finlay (31) and Toby Morgan (25) kept the result open for Souths but things were fairly desperate at 9-133 and another 31 was needed.
With Adam Carr (6 not out) down one end, Nathan Astri tried to get them home as soon as he could. He hit two sixes in 14 but then delivered a return catch to Steve Skinner and they were all out 10 runs short of victory.
Skinner claimed the bowling honours with 4-36 from his 13.4 overs while Patterson (3-34) was good.
Newtown openers Henning and Dunlop put on 115 in 22 overs in the second innings as the Tigers pushed for bonus points. Both were out for 58 and the innings was closed at 4-138 from 25 overs.
In the remaining time Adam Carr helped himself to 33 not out and Asher Robbins was 21 not out - Souths 1-63.