Crucial centuries to City United skipper Matt Trappel and Kurri Weston all-rounder Steve Abel have kept their teams in the contest after an eventful day one of round eight in Maitland first grade cricket.
Sent into bat on a soft-wicket by Tenambit Morpeth, Trappel's 108 and 42 to keeper Matt Latham were critical as City United were all out for 235 in the 76th over.
"The wicket was soft and very difficult to bat on," Trappel said.
"They won the toss and sent us in and were able to take advantage of the conditions."
The conditions were all the more difficult to contend with after the three-week break for Christmas and Andrew Vickery 17, Todd Francis 10 and Tim Burton 12 not out were the only other City batsman to make double figures.
Tenambit teenager Baylee Borrow, who is still eligible for under-16s, picked up the crucial wickets of Trappel, Latham and the big-hitting NIck Bower to finish with 3-50 from 16 overs.
Borrow is one of several youngsters in the Bulls side who will give the club confidence going forward that they can be a competitive force at the top level again.
Shane Wind continued his outstanding season with the ball for the Bulls picking up 4/78 and to take his season tally to 18, equal second across the competition.
City will be confident they have enough runs going into the second day with the competition's leading wicket-taker paceman Burton leading the attack. Burton has 20 wickets, while spin options Francis and Bower have 13 and 12 wickets respectively.
Kurri Weston and Thornton are evenly poised with Abel's 123 the outstanding contribution to the Warriors total of 282 from 63.5 overs and the Thunder 2/78 in reply from 16 overs.
While Abel was the star with the bat, Elliott Thompson picked up five wickets with the ball.
Abel hit 20 fours and three sixes in his swashbuckling innings.
Unfortunately, for the Warriors several batsman got starts but weren't able to go on with their innings. Liam Neild and Tyler Power were both out for 28, Josh Tuckwell made 24, Daniel Russell 22 and Lachlan Vassella 19.
The game is evenly balanced going into next week's day two. Full points for a win are critical for the both teams who risk missing out on the semi-finals after the Warriors made the grand final and Thornton were semi-finalists last season.
Kurri Weston are sixth on the ladder with 18-points, 10 points behind Eastern Suburbs and Raymond Terrace in third and fourth respectively.
Thornton are seventh with one win and 13 points.
A five-wicket haul by Daniel Flynn has Raymond Terrace on top in what is shaping as a tight contest against Eastern Suburbs.
Flynn turned the game with the crucial wickets Trent Park for 47 and Jack Bennett for a duck with the score on 126 to halt the Griffins momentum with the bat.
He finished with 5-62 from 24 overs and was well supported by Leigh Osmond who took a super-economical 2-13 from nine overs.
Easts opener Will Stoneman continued his fine form at the top of the order with 54 to take his season tally to 301 at an average of 43.
Michael Gavan made 66 not out and shared an important 77-run eighth-wicket partnership with Daniel Stoneman (28).
- Western Suburbs 33
- City United 33
- Eastern Suburbs 28
- Raymond Terrace 28
- Northern Suburbs 23
- Kurri Weston 18
- Thornton 13
- Tenambit Morpeth 8