Rival skippers Jack Bennett and Matt Trappel shared the honours on day one of the two-day match between Eastern Suburbs and City United.
Bennett took 5-69 from 20 overs for Easts and Trappel made an important 92 for the homeside at Robins Oval on Saturday.
But Trappel’s team has the upper hand with Ricky Dent making 49 and Nick Bower contributing 56 in another important lower-order innings to allow City to declare at 9/272.
The move forced Easts to negotiate a tricky three overs, but they did so without losing a wicket and will resume on 0/9.
Trappel said he was very happy with his side’s response after they found themselves 5/120 at tea.
“We got runs at the top of the order, through myself, and we benefitted from having a long order and batted through after being in some trouble,” he said.
“Ricky Dent batted very well and Nick Bower’s runs at the end were very important.”
City will be without key paceman Tim Baker and spinner Michael Heinrich next week but will bring in youngsters Cameron Wynn and Jordan Murphy.
“It’s a really good opportunity for the two boys,” Trappel said.
The other two round 12 encounters are evenly poised after a fascinating day of fluctuating cricket.
Western Suburbs looked to have the upper hand after a superb six-wicket spell by Luke Kealy helped skittle Port Stephens for just 133.
Jeffrey Young gave the Pythons a blistering start making 27 before he was run out with the score on 36. His fellow opener Tyran Eveleigh top scored with 42.
Wests skipper Tom Irwin (21) and No.3 Tony Fuller (28) gave Wests a solid but Port kept on taking wickets, including a stunning caught and bowled by Shawn Davies to dismiss Justin Lantry, and Wests will resume on 5/73.
In the final match Thornton need 36 runs with five wickets in hand to take first innings points against Kurri Weston.
Kurri Weston were all out for 118 in the 46th over, with Simon Marshall top scoring with 37. Brent Dawes took 4-42 off 16 overs and Dan Willis 3-16. Thornton are 5/83.