Belltrees and Aberdeen improve finals chances in rain affected UHDCA round 17

FOR the first time this season, more than a game separates fourth from fifth as the race for finals places continues to heat up.

Aberdeen now sit eight points clear in fourth spot, following last weekend's win over Silver Slugs and Rouchel's defeat to Belltrees.

Rouchel does have a game in hand, which could help them in the run home, although they will need to overcome their recent drop in form if they're to still be in contention come round 22 when they face Aberdeen.

After suffering a shock loss to Brook Blue last week, they were unable to turn things around against a dominant Belltrees side, who made 212 in their 40 overs.

Lachlan Clydsdale's 3 wickets weren't enough to hold back Belltrees' confident trio of Trent Coe, Chris Simpson and Earl Burnett, who made 63, 36 and 26 respectively.

Will Osmond also deserves credit for taking 4 wickets, which played a large role in restricting Rouchel to just 81, 39 for which was contributed by Jack Pennell.

Belltrees are now in second having overtaken Merriwa, whose match against Murrurundi was washed out, but are just over .5 per cent ahead of them with their rivals having a game in hand.

Sitting above all are the Belmore Bulls, who did what was expected of them by defeating Souths on Saturday afternoon.

With their opponents batting first and possessing just seven players, it actually looked to be a difficult chase at the half-way mark of Souths' innings as they boasted a score of 1 for 111.

That quickly changed though - like, very quickly - as they collapsed to a total of 115.

Bulls made light work of the chase and a quickfire 47 not out from Nick Crackett saw them catch it in 22 overs.

Strangely man of the match was probably a Souths player though, as opener Steve Unicomb continued his love affair with the synthetic pitch at Saunders Oval by making 80, as well as wicket-keeping well.

The other match played at the weekend saw Aberdeen sure up their position in the A grade finals spots, as they beat Silver Slugs at Harrison oval.

Manu Sharma (67) was well supported by teammates Robert Bennett (36), Nathan Connor (34) and Brandon Parkinson (39) on their way to 218.

Connor could easily claim to be best on ground after also taking 4 wickets from his 8 overs, he now has an equal-third highest tally of 23 for the season.