Victoria 298 & 0 for 0 need 61 runs to beat Western Australia 122 & 236 (Cartwright 82, Boland 4-69, Perry 3-44, O'Neill 3-52)
Victoria were on the cusp of sealing a spot in the Sheffield Shield final, but rain and bad light halted their push for victory on day three against Western Australia at the WACA.
Chasing a target of just 61 runs, having bowled out WA for 236, Victoria's second innings did not start due to bad light prompting stumps.
The final two sessions were heavily impacted by persistent drizzle to frustrate Victoria, who with a win can secure a place in the final starting on March 23. But they remain firmly in the box seat with sunny conditions expected in Perth on Friday.
A determined Victoria once again outplayed WA, who have been lacklustre throughout in essentially a dead rubber for them with a home final already secured.
WA were 8 for 210 when play resumed with one hour left in an extended day's play. But they lost their last two wickets quickly before the gloomy conditions intervened.
In his Shield return, Scott Boland has been spectacular with four wickets in both innings and showed little rust despite not having played since the first Test against India in Nagpur last month.
Starting day three at 88 for 3, still trailing by 88 runs, nightwatcher Corey Rocchiccioli fell early to a relentless Boland who had dismissed openers Sam Whiteman and Cameron Bancroft during two menacing bursts late on day two.
WA were on the ropes, but Hilton Cartwright provided resistance in an absorbing battle with Boland. He picked off rare loose deliveries to ensure the scoreboard ticked over and absorbed probing bowling, including getting hit in the groin by a sharp delivery from Boland.
But Cartwright was playing a lone hand as allrounder Aaron Hardie's crucial wicket fell just before lunch for a painstaking 13. WA's slim hopes were left to Cartwright and Ashton Turner, playing his first Shield match since October 2020.
Turner had batted well alongside Cartwright in WA's best partnership in their subpar first innings of 122, but he needed to perform a major rescue job akin to his continual feats as skipper for BBL champions Perth Scorchers.
In a far cry from his belligerent batting in the BBL, Turner wisely dug in as Boland unleashed a probing spell after lunch. Turner played second fiddle to a determined Cartwright eyeing his first ton of the Shield season.
They added 41 runs to put WA on the brink of getting a lead before Turner was caught behind off quick Fergus O'Neill, who in his next over claimed the big wicket of Cartwright for 82.
It was disappointment for former Test allrounder Cartwright, hoping for a ton after unluckily missing out on WA's 50-over Marsh Cup triumph last week.
Cartwright has made seven half-centuries during a solid Shield season and has been clearly WA's best performer in this match having also taken three wickets on day two.
Victoria could sniff wrapping up victory quickly but rain - a rarity in Perth this time of year - halted their charge multiple times as the match dragged into a final day.