Timaru Boys' High School (TBHS) proved they could be a genuine top-four threat when they beat third-placed Wakanui Blue 4-2 in senior men's hockey on Saturday.
Two goals from Max Carter helped them to a deserved win at the Trust Aoraki turf.
A win this Saturday over Northern Hearts would give the schoolboys a top-four finish, but Cambridge also still have a mathematical chance of making it if they win their remaining two games and TBHS slip up.
The schoolboys played with width and pace, their accuracy was much improved and when the visitors tried to mount a comeback, they kept their composure and replied with a goal to restore the margin.
TBHS coach Ben Grant described it the best game his team had played during his reign.
"That was probably the best performance the boys have put together in the past two seasons.
"We had a lot of patience, linked a lot of passes and it felt like we were always the aggressors."
"Saying one player was the standout over another would be a discredit; it was a solid team performance."
There were many standouts in the effort, with goalie Alistair Harvey having a typically solid game, Keanu Darby resolute at the back, while BJ Mason scored the third goal, to make the game safe, which was deserved considering the amount of running he had to do throughout the 70 minutes.
They also did a good job of shutting down the competition's best goal-scorer, Hayden Sinclair.
Wakanui Blue player/coach Sam Moore said his team was outplayed in all areas and it was a timely wake-up call for his team, one week out from the top-four competition.
In other results, Tinwald continued their late-season surge with a 3-0 win over Tainui; Northern Hearts scrambled past Cambridge 2-1; while Wakanui Black embarrassed Excelsior 17-3 to secure the McCosker Trophy as winners of the round-robin.
Northern Hearts coach Carl Hardacre said his side may have gone off the boil in recent weeks despite a forgettable victory over Cambridge.
He said the game did not reach any great heights and said the match was awful to watch at times.
Wakanui Black player/coach Mark Bennett said the scoreline summed up the match against Excelsior.
He said while the match was of a poor standard, he was pleased to see Ryan Hampton score seven goals.
Tinwald coach Murray Bonnington said scoring, not just creating chances, had given his team a needed confidence boost.
Daniel Stagg scored twice for them in the second half after Thomas White opened the scoring.
In women's action, Craighead suffered a frustrating 2-1 loss to Hampstead, Pleasant Point earned a 3-0 win over Geraldine and St Andrews beat Timaru Girls' High School 10-0.
Pleasant Point player/coach Janelle Amalfitano said the win over Geraldine was her team's best performance all season.
Hampstead player Rebecca McCloy said her team kept pace with the speedy Craighead team and showed how much they had improved throughout the season.
- The Timaru Herald