Mt Clear has put the heat squarely on Wendouree with an authoritive batting display in Ballarat Cricket Associations firsts on Saturday.
Veteran Darren Fletcher gave Mounties a firm grip on the two-day game with a maiden century.
He reached 143 batting at three as the Mount Clear reached a massive and possibly unassailable 5-378 off its 80 overs at Mt Clear Recreation Reserve.
Mounties went into round 13 six premiership points clear on top, with Wendouree four points outside the top four in fifth position and desperately needing to win.
Fletcher’s knock featured 17 fours and five sixes as he shared a series of innings-shaping partnerships.
The best came with Les Sandwith putting on 116 for the fifth wicket.
Sandwith went on to make 69 (6 fours, 2 sixes) and add another 119 with Curt Townrow, who signalled his return to the side for the first time this season with 81no (5 fours, 6 sixes) after a double century in the seconds.
Tom Godson toiled hard with the ball to take 3-63.
NORTH Ballarat has taken another major leap towards playing finals.
The fourth-placed Roosters set Buninyong a formidable chase by getting 9-304 at the Northern Oval.
Run machine Leigh Lorenzen took his season run aggregate past 700 with 85 (15 fours, 1 six) at the top of the order.
He combined with Sri Lankan import Janath Tissera, 94 (16 fours), to put on 181.
Mick Nolan, 65 not out (5 fours), then kept the runs going through the middle and lower order.
Although it was a tough day in the field for Buninyong, Brad Palmer shone.
The veteran took 7-84 off 27 overs.
Palmer was instrumental in North Ballarat losing 3-1 when Buninyong finally made a breakthrough.
Wickets tended to fall in clusters, but the damage was already done for Buninyong, which will lose touch with the top four if it loses.
EAST Ballarat firmed its hold on second position by taking first innings points against hapless Ballarat-Redan at Alfredton.
The Hawks knocked over the home combination for 79 and then smashed 4-236 off just 42 overs.
Cameron Carter returned season-best figures of 4-20 for East Ballarat in an even display in which five bowlers picked up wickets.
Tristan Dixon then went on a rampage with the bat - getting 142no with 19 fours and three sixes.
NAPOLEONS-SEBASTOPOL battled to 226 against Golden Point at the Eastern Oval.
Luke Corden, 81 (10 fours, 2 sixes) and Jonah Healy, 86 (16 fours) anchored the innings.
They put on 122 for the fourth wicket.
However, when they were finally separated the wickets crumbled and runs dried up - losing 5-4.
Manjula De Zoysa took 5-50 and Josh White chimed in with 3-28.
DARLEY already has first innings points after dismissing Brown Hill for 82.
The Bulls toiled away for 55 overs at Darley Park, with Paul White, 29, top scoring and one of only two batsmen to reach double figures.
Hasitha Wickramasinghe took 4-14.
Darley is 1-86 in reply.
MT CLEAR 3-378 v WENDOUREE
JM Smith c S Segrave b T Godson 14
B Moyle c G Webb b R Simmonds 34
DN Fletcher b J Butler 143
NA Yates c HI Pyke b T Godson 25
J Burns b T Godson 1
L Sandwith not out 69
CJ Townrow not out 81
FOW: 30 (JM Smith) 69 (B Moyle) 141 (NA Yates) 143 (J Burns) 259 (DN Fletcher)
J Butler 18-5-1 76
T Godson 19-7-3 63
L Hurse 9-0-0-48
R Simmonds 19-3-1-90
S Segrave 3-0-0-18
L Argall 7-0-0-35
G Webb 5-0-0-40
BALLARAT-REDAN 79 v EAST BALLARAT 4-236
LA Fisher c J Brown b O Hayes 0
T Sutton c L Hodgins b C Carter 4
J Hayes c J Eyers b O Hayes 3
Z Jenkins c J Blandford b C Jerram 17
R Aikman lbw b C Carter 2
CH Wilson c J Eyers b J Nichols 6
S Allan b T Dixon 31
B Thomson c C Jerram b C Carter 10
M Hayes c J Eyers b C Carter 0
M Aikman not out 0
S Hope c L Hodgins b T Dixon 0
FOW: 0 (LA Fisher) 8 (J Hayes) 8 (T Sutton) 14 (R Aikman) 35 (CH Wilson) 35 (Z Jenkins) 65 (B Thomson) 79 (M Hayes) 79 (S Allan) 79 (S Hope)
O Hayes 11-5-2-20
C Carter 12-6-4-20
J Nichols 6-3-1-11
C Jerram 5-1-1-22
T Dixon 3.4-2-2-1
L Hodgins c R Aikman b M Hayes 14
T Dixon not out 142
H Ganley c J Hayes b T Sutton 25
B Whittaker c Z Jenkins b M Aikman 29
J Eyers c B Thomson b Z Jenkins 14
J Blandford not out 0
FOW: 56 (L Hodgins) 147 (H Ganley) 206 (B Whittaker) 236 (J Eyers)
B Thomson 6-3-0-6
M Aikman 9-1-1-54
S Hope 2-0-0-23
M Hayes 6-1-1-51
T Sutton 9-0-1-52
Z Jenkins 10-0-1-42
DARLEY 1-86 v BROWN HILL 82
M Sandford c LG Herring b R Moore 2
T Bourke-Finn b B Barnes 8
N Clarke c M Alexander b B Longhurst 4
R Knowles c B Barnes b R Moore 9
J Knowles c R Moore b H Wickramasinghe 14
P White b H Wickramasinghe 29
C Tonkin b H Wickramasinghe 6
N Steenhuis c DP Hyatt b B Longhurst 1
T Miller run out 1
A Coxall c DP Hyatt b H Wickramasinghe 0
D York not out 2
FOW: 4 (M Sandford) 11 (N Clarke) 20 (R Knowles) 38 (T Bourke-Finn) 54 (J Knowles) 69 (C Tonkin) 78 (N Steenhuis) 79 (P White) 79 (T Miller) 82 (A Coxall)
B Longhurst 16-7-2-18
R Moore 8-4-2-13
B Barnes 7-5-1-6
MJ Ward 6-2-0-14
H Wickramasinghe 13.1-7-4-14
DP Hyatt 5-2-0-12
DP Hyatt c P White b D York 39
LG Herring not out 22
R Moore not out 22
FOW: 55 (DP Hyatt)
J Knowles 6-1-0-25
A Coxall 6-0-0-30
D York 3-1-1-8
R Knowles 1-0-0-3
T Bourke-Finn 3-1-0-15
M Sandford 3-0-0-11
GOLDEN POINT v NAPOLEONS-SEBASTOPOL 226
D Scott b M De Zoysa 37
L Storey c L Anderson b B Van De Heuvel 9
DJ Carroll lbw b D White 0
L Corden c A Falkner b M De Zoysa 81
JF Healey b M De Zoysa 86
B Poursanidis c & b J White 0
SO Dunne lbw b J White 1
Z Hunter c A Falkner b M De Zoysa 0
J Goossens b M De Zoysa 1
M Messemaker c D White b J White 0
J Lynch not out 2
FOW: 35 (L Storey) 40 (DJ Carroll) 84 (D Scott) 206 (L Corden) 212 (B Poursanidis) 222 (JF Healey) 222 (SO Dunne) 224 (Z Hunter) 224 (J Goossens) 226 (M Messemaker)
S Ogilvie 9-3-0-25
B Van De Heuvel 16-6-1-45
D White 13-2-1-38
M De Zoysa 23-6-5-50
M Harris 2-0-0-23
S O'Loughlin 3-0-0-10
J White 10.4-2-3-28
NORTH BALLARAT 9-304 v BUNINYONG
L Lorenzen c L Rigby b B Palmer 85
J Tissera c B Palmer b D Kitchen 94
H McGregor c R Hind b B Palmer 0
C Miles c G McLeod b B Palmer 6
M Nolan not out 65
MA Zakynthinos st H Bond b B Palmer 18
MJ Nicholson c H Bond b B Palmer 0
J Crosbie c D Tasker b B Palmer 2
AS McCafferty b B Palmer 3
S Jackson b B Palmer 23
A Eddy not out 1
FOW: 181 (J Tissera) 182 (L Lorenzen) 182 (H McGregor) 201 (C Miles) 245 (MA Zakynthinos) 245 (MJ Nicholson) 255 (J Crosbie) 266 (AS McCafferty) 298 (S Jackson)
L Rigby 14-4-0-5
M Ringin 14-3-0-46
G McLeod 9-0-0-55
B Palmer 27-3-7-84
D Kitchen 3-0-1-19
R Hind 2-0-0-18