It’s been quite a while since a pennant bowl has been delivered.
The Christmas break, followed by last Saturday’s heat cancellation, could have eased the pressure on some sides, while others might have thought they missed out on a few points.
Whatever, there are still eight fixtures to go to finalise the minor round so plenty of opportunities are still on offer to be part of the major round.
Our bowlers are certainly keen to get back onto the greens.
Jervois vs Karoonda
Both of these sides for different reasons to a great extent need points.
Jervois with the bye benefited from the cancellation and now stay well in contention for top spot.
On the other hand Karoonda, who are just hanging on for a place in the top four, need the win badly to stall the challenges that will come in the later rounds.
Anyway, it is one at-a-time and this one is the first mighty test that I reckon Jervois will be too good in.
I’ll tip them by 11-20 shots.
Bridge White vs Mannum
This has all he makings of being another classic match coming up here between two sides.
Expectations for both White and Mannum are high for the rest of the season, but their main objective, however, is to make a stand this Saturday.
The winner will be able to breathe a little easier, while it’s back to the drawing board for the loser.
Both are very worthy contestants and are playing good bowls.
There can be only one winner though and it points to White. I think they will be only just too good and sneak home by 1-10 shots.
Bridge Blue vs Tailem Bend
If Tailem Bend can win this massive challenge then they will stay alive heading towards the end of the season.
If they can’t, the pressure is right on to keep the door ajar – which they might struggle to do.
Tailem Bend really has had a poor season so far and yet, even though the side is second to bottom, strangely enough there is still a genuine chance they could slip into the top four come finals time.
There is no better way to do that than to defeat the top side and this their opportunity to do so.
As it stands, Blues are going far too well for that to happen, and there is actually a bigger probability of me opening the batting for Australia.
Blues do however know the possibility of losing top spot exists and that will drive them to a solid 11-20 win.
Meningie vs Mannum
This will be a very interesting encounter down by the lake.
Both are quality sides and, heading into the final stages of the season, both have a lot to play for.
Meningie are due to prove something to the rest of the competition whereas Mannum truly answers to no one but themselves.
Their form has been consistently good for a long time, but it doesn’t mean they’re above dropping a match.
I just have a strange feeling that Meningie will find a bit extra on their home deck and get through this very important assignment by 1-10.
Jervois Black vs Jervois Red
A derby is always entertaining and this will be no exception.
Black have held a lofty position for most of the season and will be primed to the hilt for this clash.
They certainly will need to be this weekend as Red, who had a slow start to the year, are about to stake a claim.
They still fall a fair bit short of how Black have been performing though, and will struggle to match it with them for the full game if they aren’t all on.
It will be a typical derby that promises to be fought out to the bitter end with Blacks holding on for a 1-10 victory.
Bridge Red vs RSL
RSL will struggle to win this meeting, Reds on paper and on form look to have their opponents covered in most areas.
There is a possibility however that RSL will show up for quite a while without being a real threat to Reds who could win by as much as 21-30.
Karoonda vs Bridge Green
Murray Bridge Green is much higher on the ladder than Karoonda and should win this comfortably.
Funny things really can sometimes happen out in the Mallee, and this might give Karoonda a fighting chance.
Having said that, I really don’t think that will be the case this time.
Green should be too strong and take it home by 1-10.
RSL vs Meningie
These two are really low down on the ladder and well out of sight of the leading place-getters.
Just the same, it should be a good contest. I feel that RSL at home will win by 1-10.
Tailem Bend vs Mannum Gold
Positions on the ladder strongly point to a win for Mannum Gold and, sometimes you can’t go past the pure facts.
In this instance, it is top against bottom so I will make the margin a 11-20 shot win to Gold.
Karoonda vs Mannum Green
Weighing this up there is very little in the way of points in this competition between top and fourth.
Green are currently sitting in third position, trailing only on percentage but they are 26 points ahead of Karoonda, which tells a story.
Being all the way out at Karoonda might have some influence on the outcome, but I do fancy Green to get up by 11-20.
Jervois vs Murray Bridge
Murray Bridge is in second place but only four points ahead of Jervois so this will be the match of the round.
This match will truly be full of interest as far as shaping the round goes, so eyes will be on the results.
Both are evenly poised, so it is tricky to predict a winner out of the match.
Going with the gut, I will stick with Jervois to make the charge and take home a tough victory by a margin of 1-10 shots.