St Michaels have frustrated South Wagga by holding on for a draw at Robertson Oval on Saturday.
Chasing 292 for victory, Saints finished 58 runs short of the target but a 35-run last wicket partnership from Mitch Black and Tom Williams prevented the Blues from taking the win.
St Michaels opener Eric Koetz (42) got his team off to a good start as they batted out 86 overs.
Michael Mitchell (52) and then Black (51 not out) proved to be thorns in the Blues side.
Black and Williams (eight off 32 balls) held tough to see their team finish at 9-233.
With still unbeaten, after coming so close to another win Blues captain Joel Robinson was surprised by the tactics Saints captain-coach Ryan Forsyth employed.
“We dominated the whole match from ball one to the end,” Robinson said.
“We were very, very confused with their tactics and the way they went about it.
“Obviously they are still in last spot and we are still in the top two.
“We couldn’t work out what was actually happening as they had no intent to win the game.”
Wagga cricket brought in a new scoring system last season which sees the points shared if the chasing team isn’t bowled out and the match declared a draw.
Previously if a team hadn’t chased down the total they lost.
With St Michaels trying to get off the bottom of the ladder and push their case for a finals spot, Robinson was shocked by their tactics
“The rule is in place for teams to save games but for teams that have pretty much played themselves out of a finals spot it was very confusing,” he said.
“From ball one there was absolutely no intent to win the game.
“I don’t mind the rule brought in, but the rule isn’t meant to be for negative cricket to played.
“That is exactly what happened and even at the end they needed 6.5 an over with 18 overs to go with three wickets in hand and didn’t even try to win.
“I’m all for the rule to help teams that either lose a group of wickets chasing a score or lose the wickets late in a run chase and use it as a last resort, or in a final, but not from ball one.
“If we draw the last three games we still make finals but now they have to win games and rely on on other results.
“It’s very silly tactics.”
Robinson picked up three wickets while Adam Skow and Nathan Cooke both snared two.
Robinson thought Cooke was unlucky not to pick up a few more.
South Wagga have now slipped to second, two points behind Lake Albert while St Michaels remain fifith, two points adrift of fourth-placed Wagga RSL with big matches against the Bulls and Bulldogs to come.