Dampener for Northern Brave | PHOTOSPORT

Blaze take direct entry into Final

For the first time all season, Wellington Blaze didn't walk away from a game with the win - but even a washout in Hamilton was enough to seal the top spot at the Final for the standout performers.

Undefeated, with one round still in hand, the two points for total abandonment against Northern Brave (following a massive subtropical rainstorm that swept across the top half of the North Island) was all the Wellington women needed to cement the top qualifier berth this summer, with the Canterbury Magicians no longer able to reach them on 32 points.

The wild weather was an unfortunate dampener for this season's popular Pride Round, and left hosts Northern Brave all dressed up with no party to attend.

For Brave's women, the split points confirmed that they would not be off to the big dance, marooned in fifth spot, unable to catch up now with the top three.

Meanwhile all eyes are on second spot, with the women's second qualifier getting to host a home Elimination Final this season.

The Canterbury Magicians are in the box seat after another win on Friday night against the Central Hinds, but if the Otago Sparks can win their last three games - two of which are big clashes against the Magicians - then it will be the Sparks in the second spot.

This Monday's scheduled twin fixtures between the Auckland Hearts and Aces and Northern Brave women and men at Kennards Hire Community Oval in Auckland have already been called off due to the flooding at the ground after Friday's deluge, with the venue having looked more like a lake than a cricket oval.

The points have been shared for this round as well, and added to the points table already, meaning that the Hearts and Aces have just one more opportunity in the regular season to get a win, at the Cello Basin Reserve next Sunday.

Alas for the Auckland Aces, they are now playing for pride this season, too far behind the field.

The Hearts currently have a tenuous hold on third spot in the women's league, and will be hoping the Hinds and Magicians can despatch the Sparks to shore up their own chances of qualification.

With the curve ball of the weather, the split points have done nothing to ease tensions on a tight men's table.

The men's game in Hamilton between the Northern Brave and Wellington Firebirds was also washed out without a toss on Saturday, and just four points separate the top five men's sides.

The Canterbury Kings are the new leader after despatching the Stags at Hagley Oval, but the Stags and Northern Brave are just two points behind them, with four points available per round. Brave, the Firebirds and the Aces only have one game in hand now, but the Stags and Kings have two, and everyone will have a wary eye on the Otago Volts who have three games in hand, starting with the Stags tomorrow in Dunedin, and could easily tear up into top spot.

Watch this space!