NORTH West Sydney Hurricanes have kept their Sydney Shires Competition finals dream alive despite a shaky start against Lane Cove at Bruce Purser Reserve on Saturday.
The hosts lost the toss and were sent into bat in steamy conditions at Kellyville.
The Lane Cove attack used the conditions to their advantage and ripped through the Hurricanes' top order to have the hosts in trouble at 6-80.
With the team's finals aspirations now firmly on the line, it was left to the Hurricanes middle order to save the game and to avoid first-innings defeat.
Justin Nelson (99) combined with Joel Scurr (84) to take the game away from Lane Cove and build a good score before Lee Rynhart added a quick-fire 56 to help the Hurricanes post a first innings total of 303.
Defending a sizeable lead, the hosts were free to attack Lane Cove in cooler bowling conditions.
Scurr followed up his batting heroics with a dominant bowling display and picked up two vital wickets late on day one.
Lane Cove will resume their innings on Saturday at 2-54 needing a further 249 to avoid a first innings defeat.
A win over competition front runners Lane Cove would move the Hurricanes within reach of the top four. Epping are just six points ahead.
The Hurricanes face a favourable run home to the finals with Roseville away, before a return home match against wooden-spooners Georges River and a final-round match against Lindfield.