A fortnight after thinking their season might be done, Merewether have snuck into the semi-finals following an outright victory against Wests in the second last over of the regular rounds.
Merewether (60 points) went from sixth to fourth spot on the Newcastle District Cricket Association competition ladder, jumping both defending champions Wests (52) and University (57) because they claimed maximum points at Townson Oval on Saturday.
It was a rain-affected weekend, with both teams in the grand final replay chasing a result on day two to claim one potential top-four position and keep their campaigns alive.
Across at Passmore Oval and a win for now fifth-placed University could have brought an end to those aspirations but there was no play between the Students and Hamilton-Wickham, leaving the Sea Dragons stranded on 7-240 and eventually slipping out of the title race.
Merewether, who narrowly went down to third-placed Charlestown (62) last start, will now visit minor premiers Hamwicks (69) in the play-offs this weekend and captain Simon Moore said it was a satisfying feeling.
"It was one of the great victories for us," Moore said.
"Obviously outrights are hard to come by, but after the first week we had an opportunity to push for one and we got the job done in the end."
Wet conditions meant play started an hour late at Merewether but overs weren't reduced.
The Lions resumed at 2-77 and declared at 4-113 after reaching Wests' total of 106.
In the second innings Wests were 8-124 before a rain delay saw 10 overs lost.
The visiting Rosellas then opted to declare, setting Merewether 118 to win from the remaining 25 overs.
Wests took five of the 10 wickets they needed to advance but the Lions reached the required target with six balls to spare and with inclement weather threatening to halt proceedings.
Merewether left-arm orthodox spinner Tim O'Neill finished with match figures of 10-94 after back-to-back five-wicket hauls and all-rounder Zac McGuigan made 81 runs across two digs, featuring a half-century on Saturday.
"They [O'Neill and McGuigan] were the two stands out for us," Moore said.
Elsewhere, Belmont ended their season on a high at Cahill Oval by securing the five wickets they required to successfully defend 161 and claim a 53-run victory against Wallsend.
The visitors resumed day two at 5-76 but were dismissed for 108 just before lunch with Belmont's Alex Cook adding another two victims to his collection for figures of 4-21 from 15 overs.
Complete wash outs at Lynn Oval and Pasterfield Sports Complex meant respective games between Stockton (8-127) and Charlestown as well as Cardiff-Boolaroo (0-5) and Waratah-Mayfield (135) finished as draws.
In this weekend's other semi, second-placed Toronto (65) meet Charlestown at No.1 Sportsground.
SEMI-FINALS: Hamwicks (1) v Merewether (4) at Passmore Oval; Toronto (2) v Charlestown (3) at No.1 Sportsground.
LADDER: Hamwicks 69; Toronto 65; Charlestown 62; Merewether 60; University 57; Wests 52; Wallsend 43; Cardiff 41; Belmont 35; City 29; Stockton 24; Waratah 21.