Another bag of tricks coming up this Saturday, with the results at all three fixtures capable of turning positions on the ladder upside down again. All three matches last round were classics and this one coming up will be no different. It’s Tailem Bend’s turn to have the bye, so with no points available the side will have to be patient. Bridge Blues are under pressure to hold top rating even though they are 10 points clear. Jervois is poised to throw out a serious challenge and so is Mannum, while Bridge White will be desperate for points at Jervois to stay in the four.
At this early stage the bottom three Tailem Bend, Karoonda and RSL are certainly not out of it although this round will tell a story.
Jervois v Bridge White
Jervois at home will present massive task for Whites to conquer, however with skipper Ian Oats pulling the strings they cannot be discarded. Ian loves the smell of finals action and if that rubs off onto his players, the side is in with a chance. Going into last Saturday’s round they were under the pump to perform, it’s not always easy at the RSL cauldron where the cliff face is intimidating and the venue is on the eastern side of the river. The players got through alright and that success will hold Whites in good stead for this crucial encounter.
There is no doubting the Jervois squad; when the pressure is on they have the ability and the motivation to perform. They lost players from last season but have recruited well and it was “Prez” Fromm who nailed his old Blue side last Saturday. Now they are on the hunt for top spot and while no matter what the result they won’t get it this Saturday, the teams will however do enough home at “Hicksville” to stay right in the running. Make the margin 11-20 shots.
Bridge Blue v Mannum
This will be another blockbuster with Blues striving at home to hold top spot and Mannum third, frantic to build on their place in the four. Both sides are craving points after going astray in previous encounters. Prior to the bye Mannum missed out completely which would be a worry but not something to dwell on. On the other hand Blue’s one shot loss would be more annoying than anything else; they can and will recover and focus on the game at hand.
On the other side of the fence Mannum is not so settled, the rumour circulating is that the Divvy One boys are looking over their shoulders, of the 12 in Divvy Two ten reckon they should be promoted. That is entirely up to the selectors, in the meantime I am tipping the way it stands at the moment: Blues will be favoured to win by 11-20 shots.
Karoonda v RSL
Now this fixture will expose who is going where and how far. If the “Malleeites” turn the clock back a bit to last Saturday many might say the best side lost, and they could be right... whatever, they will start favourites in this one at home and should win. Even so, a case can be put up for the RSL players as well, they are competing strongly without getting over the line and it is the close ones that you must get your share of. The state of affairs is that neither of these two are exclusively out of the reckoning, so they both have a mighty lot to play for. The problem is there can be only one winner and whichever one finishes off the pace will find it extremely difficult to make any sort of headway. Because of Karoonda’s record at home and a splash of exuberant youth, I am leaning towards the home side to win by 1-10.
Mannum dictates at the head of the table and the way they are travelling will take quite a bit of holding back. Especially if they can get through this Saturday, they already have 12 points to play with and a few more will really blow it out. The positions tighten up after that and fourth spot is up for grabs with plenty of hopefuls on the lookout.
Meningie v Bridge Red
Bridge Red is loaded with experienced campaigners and when at full strength look a fearsome bunch to contend with and are certainly on the lookout for a higher position than third. I don’t think there is any doubt about them climbing the ladder and second place will be their first objective.
Meningie players will be pleased if they can get their game together and mount a strong forward move, it could eventuate at sometime but not this Saturday. I am tipping Reds will be the mover and shakers and show strength with a 11-20 winning margin.
Bridge Green v RSL
If RSL can maintain the standard of play they are producing at the moment they will give this a mighty shake. The main thing is to put it all together for two or three weeks straight, that will make opposition sides start to sit up and take notice. Bridge Green’s are sitting in third place and ready to pounce when the opportunity arises, this could be it by 11-20 shots, but an upset result wouldn’t surprise.
Jervois Black v Mannum
Jervois Black has gone off the pace just a little bit but is still in third place and more than capable of mixing it with this strong Mannum side. The game is at Jervois but Tommy’s Toys are so confident they would make themselves favourites playing on a bitumen road with wooden bowls.
There is no doubt Blacks are up to the challenge, but I do feel their last loss would have taken a bit of wind out of the sails. I’ll go for Mannum by 11-20 shots.
Jervois Red v Tailem Bend
There is not a lot between these two on the Prem Table but I do feel that Reds will line up as the better proposition. Even though they are both low down the winner will suddenly look a lot better in the ratings, but will still need a spate of really good bowling to make any impression at all.
Reds will be favourites and should win by 11-20. But there could be a surprise result.
Plenty of mystery surrounds the top four with only eight points separating the leader from fourth position. Heading the list is Murray Bridge, Mannum Green, Mannum Gold and Jervois Then there is quite a gap to the remaining contestants led by Karoonda.
Karoonda v Mannum Gold
Karoonda sits 20 points outside four and even at home will find Mannum Gold too big an obstacle to negotiate. A lot of clubs need a full complement of players to perform adequately and this will apply in this contest. As it stands I would say Gold’s will be better equipped to get through by 11-20 shots.
Meningie v Tailem Bend
Meningie has tallied up two more points than Tailem Bend but I think if both have full lists it will be a very good contest. They both struck pretty stiff opposition last start but didn’t fare too badly considering their positions on the ladder. I’ll give the nod to Tailem Bend by 1-10.
Mannum Green v Jervois
These two are not all that far apart on the ladder Mannum is second and Jervois is fourth. This is a set up for an interesting contest. The two of them are coming off wins and seem to be evenly matched making it tough to pick the winner. Even so I have a feeling that Jervois can cause a mild upset at Mannum and win a very close one between 1-8 shots.
RSL v Murray Bridge
RSL faces a massive task to upset their top placed opponents, there is far too bigger gap between them to consider an upset.
Still it is all about what happens on the day that counts and if RSL can find a bit extra at home they could put up some resistance.
Considering all angles though at the finish The Bridge will probably be up by 21-30 shots.