Any hopes of Benalla Violet Town United reaching the finals has been dashed after the first day in the field against table-topping City Colts.
The Diggers were punished by the Colts as they endured a long day in the field with only 10 fielders.
Skipper Rob Saker lost the toss and the Diggers were asked to bowl on what was a perfect batting wicket.
Opening bowlers Tom Williams and Nathan Abley failed to execute early as the United field leaked runs and the Colts’ opening partnership took the score past 50.
With the score on 54 after nine overs, Saker took the first wicket thanks to a sharp catch from Williams.
The Diggers were forced to fight for each wicket, as the second wicket partnership continued to pile on the runs.
The introduction of Sam Hazell saw the removal of dangerous pair Hayden Murray and Kent Braden while Matt Holmes’ wily off-spin also chimed in with a wicket to have the hosts at 4-148.
The determined Colts batsman fought back and took advantage of a tiring BVTU bowling attack and field.
Williams bowled a fiery second spell to snag a couple of wickets to finish at 2-48. Abley bowled a good second spell to take three lower-order wickets.
Even though only one Colts batsman made 50, most others chipped in to reach the sizable total of 273.
After the final Colts batsman was dismissed, the Diggers had to face five overs at the end of the day.
After a spectacular catch at gully, Simon Holmes was out, leaving the Diggers on 1-7 and facing an uphill task this weekend.
A win would see them reach the finals.
Things were just as tough for BVTU’s C-grade team as it was also forced to play with only 10 players when it fronted up against ladder leaders Rovers Bruck United.
The Rovers were restricted to 133, while the Diggers were never in the hunt as wickets fell regularly. BVTU was eventually dismissed for 60.
The Under-12s continued their fine finish to the season, notching up a victory against Greta in a good team performance.
Max Woods led from the front with the ball, taking three wickets. With the bat Flynn Weeks made 20 before retiring.
Sam Heaney made 17, while Max Cullen chipped in with 11 as the young Diggers won by 13 runs, 5-133 to Greta’s 7-120.