Mackenzie gave themselves an outside chance of making the Hammersley Cup top four in the penultimate round robin game by beating Waimate 22-21 in the last minute of their game.
The result tied the Rams with Temuka in fourth place but they will need to upset Harlequins at home on Saturday to make it.
Temuka have the far easier final game against a poor Pleasant Point side while Waimate, who have a two-point advantage, play wooden spooners Old Boys and should win with ease.
Who will top the round robin is also up for grabs in the final round as Celtic hosts Geraldine and a four-try bonus point could tie them at the top if Mackenzie play their best against Harlequins.
In the end it matters little as the format of the semifinals sees one play two, with the winner straight through to the grand final.
The loser faces the sudden death winner of third and fourth and neither of the top sides are likely to want to be in that position.
At Manchester the game wasn’t much until it burst into life in the final five minutes, with the home side guilty of too many handling errors.
Mackenzie scored first after stretching Mackenzie with prop Aaron McCall on the end of a line after three minutes.
Waimate centre Matt Hayman got his team back in the match with a brilliant 50m-plus run when he shrugged off tacklers and beat others to score and Theo Davidson’s conversion put them in front 7-5.
It was however shortlived as the Rams hooker Charles Aho was over in similar circumstances to his front row mate. Midway through the half Davidson landed a penalty to close the gap to 12-10.
Mackenzie then extended their lead in bizarre circumstances.
Captain Nick Love chased hard a penalty kick that missed and when it was fumbled in-goal he pounced and gave Damon Smith an easy conversion to make it 19-10 at halftime.
Waimate looked to have snatched it 21-19 in the 39th minute, when Davidson landed his third penalty after Mackenzie were marched 10-metres for an indiscretion.
It wasn’t all over, however, when Waimate failed to kick the ball away from their danger area and were then penalised and Smith landed a good kick to silence Waimate’s faithful.
For Waimate Hayman played very well and Miles Medlicott also had his moments. Upfront lock Hamish Fraser worked hard as did Simon Bleeker.
Seniors vs Mackenzie 21 – 22 (Loss)
Senior B vs Mackenzie 34 – 10 (Win)
U18 vs Geraldine 70 – 7 (Win)
U16 no match
U14.5 vs Geraldine 22 – 50 (Loss)