MATT Hyden smashed an unbeaten century as Brown Hill powered towards its showdown with Ballarat Cricket Association club firsts flag favourite Mt Clear.
Hyden led the charge as the Bulls cruised to an emphatic 152-run win over East Ballarat on Saturday.
Brown Hill’s victory leaves it second on the ladder behind the Mounties, with the two to lock horns in a two-day clash, starting next weekend.
Hyden’s 128 not out set up the Bulls’ easy win, with the opener combining with Ryan Knowles (68) for a 143-run second-wicket stand.
This helped the visitors reach 5-263 at the end of 45 overs, leaving East to chase a target at almost six runs an over to win the match.
But that never appeared likely, particularly with Shane Harwood in fine form with the new ball.
The former Australian quick tore through the Hawks’ top order, snaring 4-12 to leave the home side in trouble.
East was 5-17 at one stage in its innings, but avoided a complete embarrassment thanks to some handy lower-order contributions.
Josh Brown (19), Harry Christie (18) and Nick Waldie (16) were able to get a few late runs and carry the team to 111 before it was bowled out in the 32nd over.
East’s defeat sees it slip outside the top four to fifth, now five points behind fourth-placed Wendouree with three rounds to play.