The squeeze is on in the middle of the Murray Valley Cricket Association’s premier division table.
One win separates third-placed Deniliquin and fifth-placed Nathalia after the former lost its second game in a row on Saturday, with the Purples and Barooga (fourth) each snaring victory to close the gap on the ladder.
It was the Hawks who hunted down the Rhinos at Barooga Recreation Reserve, rolling the visitors for 130, before chasing the target down with six wickets in hand.
Riley Gow (3-31) and Zeke Bunge (2-23) bowled superbly for the Hawks as Deniliquin’s batsmen struggled to get going across the innings.
It took until number seven batsman Chris Pyle (20) and number eight Harry Hillier (24 not out) for any of the Rhinos to reach 20 during their innings, but the side could not reach the end of its 45 overs and was dismissed in the 43rd.
Sam Leigh (60 from 67 deliveries) helped the Hawks make quick work of the chase, while Kale Watkins (25) and Amar Ullah (22 not out) also got starts.
Andrew Hogan took 2-37 for the Rhinos.
In other action, Nathalia had a solid win against Tocumwal, with Aaron Harding (3-27), Adam Jorgensen (2-15) and Brayden Summerville (2-25) producing a great bowling performance to restrict the Bloods to 9-178 in their 45 overs.
Scott Morris (56), Jorgensen (45) and Brodie Ross (30 not out) then steered the Purples to a three-wicket win inside 35 overs.
There were a few nervous moments late in the chase though, with three wickets falling for zero runs when Nathalia was still 21 runs from victory.
Ranji Oliver (49) and Reilly Rennick (36) were brilliant for the Bloods with the bat — as were Matt Wilson (3-36), Rennick (2-38) and Andrew Arthur (2-46) with the ball — but it was not enough to lift the side to success.
Katamatite had a huge win against Cobram-Yarroweyah United at the weekend and, in the process, consigned the combine to division one for the remainder of the season as the top tier drops to six teams for the two-day clashes.
Brayden Beaton (67) and Tom Pendlebury (3-11) led the way for the Tigers as they posted 8-216 and dismissed United for just 86 inside 23 overs.
Ayden Latessa (4-20 and 31) played almost a lone hand for the combine in the defeat, but skipper Mitch Richmann (2-48 and 20) also showed resistance with bat and ball.