The beat goes on and the pressure remains on all sides. This round is as even as it can get and results could have an enormous impact on how the four will shape up. Bridge Blue is still the pacemaker and will be favourite in almost every game the side contests. Favouritism doesn’t always measure up and that is why anything can happen in this round. One thing that is for sure with so much at stake it will be a wonderful spectacle of high standard bowling.
Mannum has the bye so with no points allotted I am tipping the side will lose second spot, temporarily anyway.
Bridge Blue vs Jervois
This is the first of the tongue twisters and I am tempted to say all “Played Well.” I won’t do that however I’ll have a go in an attempt to keep my record as a first-rate tipster intact.
Jervois usually responds positively to a setback and the teams did that last Saturday. Now they face another challenge that might show who is the favourite. The selectors reacted with a couple of changes, the more notable being the installing of Russell Schutz as skipper. “Rusty” held the position in the recent glory days and had success with his team first up back in the role. So with Graeme Herbert, Graham Fromm and their teams firing “The Bluds” look right up to this test.
Blue’s can’t see any changes needed unless forced on the selectors, the teams of Paul Smart, Bruce Attrill and Gerry Penta have been good enough to get them this far so there is no reason they cannot perform again in this contest. They did lose on one rink but are good enough to recover from that and like most sides will settle for 10 points in the majority of situations. They did punish their opponents in round one which they have to fall back on but so too have Jervois.
Which ever way you assess it the word blockbuster bobs up into the frame, certainly worth good money to see. I am going to settle for Blues to get through by between 1-10 shots.
RSL vs Bridge White
This will be another absorbing contest with the two sides on entirely different missions, White’s will be after their place in four after losing it because of the bye.
On the other hand the RSL teams are promising a lot but not quite delivering, last Saturday was commendable but they don’t need commendation they need points and need them quickly.
One rink wins will get you nowhere, the teams of Noel Kneebone, Gary Daniel and Stuart Keough know that they will all need to perform to a maximum to stage a comeback.
Bridge White’s will not like the position they have found themselves in and the teams of Chester Moore, Ted Baxter and Ian Oats will be out to set right the state of affairs. The bye is not ideal but all sides have to contend with it so it cannot be an issue. Prior to it White’s had mixed form and really need to nail this one to stay in contention. RSL will show up for a while but in the wash up cannot win this match , White’ will have a grip on it by half time and go on to win by 11-20 shots.
Tailem Bend vs Karoonda
This is one of those games that takes a bit of sorting out. Only one point separates them on the ladder and both have had their share of ups and downs.
The Malleeites will not be happy about their slide down the ladder especially after holding second spot early on, now they have to start all over again and the teams skippered by Kim Tomkinson, Ian Symonds and Gary Zadow are capable of doing just that.
Over the page Tailem Bend is lining up for three wins straight nevertheless if the teams of Duane Edwards, Merv. Stevens and Sam Shepherd are any judges at all they will be aware this will be no easy task.
The same goes for trying to sort out the result, so I pick Tailem because they will be on their own deck and make the margin 1-10.
Mannum and Jervois Black will be at each other for top position while the rest of the field will be chasing third or fourth positions. There is still a lot of time to close the gap on the top two but I think it is a futile chase.
Karoonda vs Meningie
It is somewhat puzzling why Meningie is fresh out of Divvy. One is not performing to a bit higher standard, the last time they relegated themselves they went on to win the flag, the present playing group may well do the same, but they will need to get a wriggle on. Karoonda is struggling on the bottom rung and will be under pressure to improve on that position. Even at Karoonda I see Meningie too good by 11-20.
Bridge Red vs Jervois Black
After some commanding exhibitions, Bridge Red surprisingly went down last start, now the side will have to try and get back on track against strong opponent Jervois Black. Blacks will be having a go at top spot while Reds aim will be to get a bit closer to second position. A hard one but I think Black’s can keep up the momentum with a 1-10 win.
Tailem Bend vs RSL
Tailem has been well and truly in the doldrums and sits second to bottom behind RSL which is coming off the bye, prior to that the side put together two very good wins. So it is all in the balance but I do think Tailem will lift sufficiently at home to get a 11-20 win.
Mannum vs Bridge Green
This has all the hallmarks of being an absolute classic game of bowls, as far as top spot goes Mannum is on shaky ground but with the irrepressible Tommy Towns the head coach they look set for a steam rolling season.
Two big rink wins set the scene for the demolition last start and while Tommy had a spacious margin up his sleeve he admitted a lot of luck went his way. That however is part of the game.
Bridge Greens are a very good side and on recent form the teams will take a lot of beating, they upset a pretty hot side last Saturday and are right up to this standard. They are hanging on in fourth spot so a win here will be most handy. I am going against them but they are in with a positive chance.
I’ll stick with Mannum to make it by 1-10 shots.
After a touch of revamping this division has settled into a fine competition that promises to run right down to wire with all in with a chance.
Unavailability up higher on the list takes a toll but at the moment the Prem. table couldn’t be much closer between the top four, and the rest are right in the action also.
Mannum Gold vs RSL
This is third against sixth and the higher placed Gold’s will be hard to overcome, just the same the RSL players cannot be denied, last Saturday they pulled off a narrow but inspiring win that puts them in good stead for this assignment. Over the journey so far Gold’s have contributed much more and should get through by 11-20 shots.
Jervois vs Meningie
Meningie has picked up but will find the going very awkward to knock over middle of the field Jervois. Definitely not out of it if they field a full muster, I will however select Jervois by 11-20 shots.
Tailem Bend vs Mannum Green
There is a big gap between these two on the ladder but Tailem at full strength is given a chance, I do feel though that Greens look too strong for a bottom side and I will give it to them by about 11 shots.
Murray Bridge vs Karoonda
Karoonda is not badly placed but will find it tough against the top side. Especially with the experience of David Trevorrow and Warwick Hack skippering the Bridge teams.