Two late wickets has Port Kembla confident they can claim an upset victory over Wests when their Cricket Illawarra two-day clash resumes next weekend.
The Blacks were bowled out for 180 midway through the day, Blake Smith cleaning through the tail to finish with a five-wicket haul.
Anthony Purdevski hit back for the home side late in the day, however, the new-ball bowler taking two wickets to reduce the Devils to 2-26 at stumps.
With the Blacks finishing the day on a high, captain Aaryn Kornberger said his side will enter next Saturday's play confident of their chances of securing the win.
"The match is pretty evenly poised," Kornberger said. "They've got a few batsmen to come in, if we keep persisting and taking wickets, hopefully we'll get the win.
"I would've liked a few more runs and to bat a few more overs, but 180 is still a good score and we've got them 2-26.
"We're in a good position, they've still got to chase another 150 runs, they have work to do, but so do we. The game could go one way or the other, we'll do our best to make it go our way."
Kornberger was a little disappointed with his side's batting performance, the batsmen struggling to convert a start into a big score.
Top-scorer Daniel Lee's (41) wicket triggered a collapse, the Blacks losing 7-64.
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However, with 15 overs to bowl, Kornberger's message to his side was to strike early and he said the word will remain the same when they return to King George V Oval next weekend.
"We wanted to get a few quick wickets late in the day. Anthony was great, it's good to see him take a couple of wickets, he was running in and bowling hard.
"Anthony started us off very well, between him and young Andy Magennis, they're the key. They bowl well when they bowl together so hopefully they can get a few between them and get into the tail early.
"Zach Churchill is the key wicket, if we can get him early, it will be an easier task. We've got to keep pushing on once we get one, we just need to get on a bit of a roll."
Port Kembla's clash with Wests is one of numerous matches evenly poised at the midway point, with Keira and University also locked in a tight tussle.
Keira had the early advantage, the Lions bowling Uni out for 190, however Mitchell Hearn's side hit back to claim two late wickets and reduce Keira to 2/21 at stumps.
Corrimal are also in a similar position to Wests and Keira, the Cougars 3/27 after bowling Wollongong out for 173.
Captain Duncan Maddinson top-scored for the Lighthouse Keepers with 53, while Alex Osborne took four wickets for Corrimal.
Dapto's Jye Phillips fell agonisingly short of a century, the skipper out for 97 as his team reached 237 at stumps.
Finally Balgownie are on the ropes in their clash with Northern Districts, Elliot Hooper tormenting the Magpies batsmen to claim seven wickets and help bowl the side out for 103.
The Butchers are on track to secure first-innings points, reaching 3-78 at stumps.
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