WAGGA RSL have sent a warning it may not be a two-horse race for Wagga Cricket supremacy after breaking into the top four with an upset win over Saint Michaels on Saturday.
Keen to atone for an "embarrassing" nine-wicket two-day outright loss to the Saints in November, RSL's patience with the bat proved crucial in the 31-run win.
After winning the toss and batting first, a patient opening partnership from Ethan Perry (46 off 83 balls) and Marcus Sevior (12 off 35) set the tone before James Richards (56) and skipper Sam Perry (50 not out) accelerated the rate to guide RSL to 5-207.
Entering the round level with defending champions South Wagga in the competition lead, the Saints were in early trouble at 2-6 and the dismissal of opener Beck Frostick (57) ended their hopes, finishing with 9-176.
"The last time we played them they beat us outright quite convincingly, which was a bit embarrassing at the time, but it was good to get the win and redeem ourselves a bit," Sam Perry said.
"We definitely mentioned it and it may have played a little part as soon as we started playing, what happened previously wasn't in the guys' minds.
"We batted how we wanted. Ethan and Marcus put on a good platform and Jimmy attacked the short boundary and turned the strike over when he needed."
Perry pulled a surprise by opening the bowling with left-arm off-spinner Hamish Standley (1-27 off eight overs), who repaid the faith by dismissing Saints opener Justin Ward for a duck.
Tim Cameron (3-26) led from the front and Henry held down an end at the start when they were looking to score quickly," Perry said.
"We don't normally (opening the bowling with him) but we were a new bowler short and Henry's done it a bit in Twenty20, so we thought we'd give him a crack and he was outstanding."
The result allowed RSL to leapfrog Lake Albert into fourth, and they now have a chance to put a gap between themselves and the fifth-placed Bulls and sixth-placed Kooringal when they play the Colts in a Twenty20 fixture at Robertson Oval on Monday night.
"If we can win that it gives us quite a good break between us and fifth and sixth," Perry said.
"I've said the last couple of times when we've had our team debriefs how important this game is but it seems each game we play is more important than the previous week.
"You don't want to beat one of the in-form teams of the comp, then drop the next one."