Last Saturday produced an outstanding round of pennant bowls when on a rare occasion the bottom three on the ladder knocked over the top three.
The results intensified the push for fourth position between Karoonda, Bridge White and Tailem Bend.
Add to the excitement the gate is open for top rating, Bridge Blue is still there with Jervois second and Mannum third on equal points trailing the leader by nine points.
Following last week’s debacle Karoonda recovered fiercely at home to defeat Bridge White by six shots with one winning rink a draw and a loss.
Karoonda’s Gary Zadow and Jim Freak played out the draw while Les Trewren got a White rink over the line by 14 shots.
The big match winner for Karoonda and Skipper of the round is Josh Porker whose team made it by 20 shots over Chester Moore’s.
Tailem Bend vs Jervois
At Tailem Bend it was an electrifying finish to a classic game of bowls that the locals won by one shot picking up nine very handy points against Jervois.
Tailem’s Duane Edward’s lined up with Rob Hales, Neville Merritt and Glenda Shepherd, they were opposed to Graham Fromm, Tim Hicks, David Graham and Shawn Hicks.
Not much separated them for the first few ends until Tailem won three ends straight to open up a lead of four shots, this was reeled in by Jervois and by the 14th end the scores were tied.
Tailem added a three but two fours and a single gave Jervois a six-shot lead, Tailem hit back immediately winning five ends straight for a total of eight shots.
A threeto Jervois on the 24th sent the team into the last end one shot up. Tailem scored a single leaving the scoreboard showing 24 shots each.
Tailem skipper Merv Stevens had Michael Thorne, Peter Connolly and Graeme Millard on board and they got the jump on Russell Scutz, David Kempe, Len Gommers and Graham Schenke with a five on the second end then singles on the next two.
Jervois answered the challenge winning four straight to go one in front. Tailem hit back strongly capturing 11 of the next 13 ends to hold a lead of 11 shots.
That is when the Jervois team took over, the won they won the last four ends adding 12 shots to the score board that included a six to win by one shot.
The game was highlighted by a series of brilliant bowls produced by both skippers Schutz and Stevens, they continuously converted tight ends in their teams favour.
Millard and Schenke squared off on the lead with accurate draw bowling and Kempe consistently added damaging conversions in the number three position.
It really was a consistent team effort with all players on both teams contributing throughout the match.
It was the other teams that provided the thrilling finish, little did they know that the end result would rest on their shoulders.
For Tailem, it was Sam Shepherd Travis Schenke, Bradon Gregory and Brian Leckie.
Their opponents were Graeme Herbert Garry Mason,Denis Hicks and Martin Beamont. Tailem started the better scoring eight shots to three on the board by the sixth end, Jervois responded without delay winning the next four ends reaping eight shots that set up a three-shot advantage.
Tailem retaliated with a five that helped level the scores at the 14th end mark, after that it was a tense struggle right to the finish line.
Tailem held a three-shot advantage by the 20th end but that was headed when Jervois slammed on a five at a critical stage of the match.
Tailem answered that with a three on the 24th end, this is when the apprehension set in.
With the other twi rinks finished for the day the overall score scores were locked together with the winner of this remaining rink left to decide the end result.
Jervois set up the head early in their favour until Travis Schenke, under extreme pressure, sensationally drew the shot, there was still a little bit of room left for Jervois but the delivery by Schenke was still holding when Herbert arrived on the mat for the last release of the match.
With his experienced number three Garry Mason roaring at the burly skipper to drive the shot bowl out, he had a go, but misses by a fraction leaving Tailem winners by one shot and bringing to an end a sensational days bowling.
Mannum vs RSL
RSL took the trip to the picturesque Mannum Bowls Club over looking the Mighty Murray.
In near perfect conditions on well groomed greens the day was set for a chance of a real battle.
And the players didn’t let the chance go by. Mannum were running hot after a huge win last week while RSL had to sit out having the bye.
Gary Daniels took on Peter Wegener with the RSL members starting well and getting out to a handy lead after 6 ends.
It was then that Hollywood turned the flow and the home side fought back and over took the RSL early dominance and went out to a comfortable lead midway through the second half of the game.
In what could have been a walkover, the RSL lifted their games with Michael Walker, Kerri Bolt and Allan Arbon getting valued shots up for Grizzly to get his side back in the game.
The RSL comeback was vital for the overall score and showed true grit reminiscent of days gone by.
Kneebone had the Mannum Guru Graham Wakefield to contend with, and this battle was to be pivotal if RSL had any chance of a shock win over a confident Roos lineup.
X-factor Mike Bristow was moved over to the Kneebone’s rink as part of a New Year reshuffle and his influence of rink play and ability to work with Karen Kneebone and Tony Gill helped set up strong heads for their skip Kneebone to play with.
Wakefield’s draw bowling over the entire game saved many shots for his rink but not enough in the end with Kneebone taking game 25/15.
This result was the foundation for the RSL overall win as the rink players sat nervously watching the last game to finish.
New skipper Max Wilkin was up against the in-form skip of the competition, Lynton Jones.
RSL got out of the blocks early to take a 5/0 lead. It was then that Mannum took over with Marty March, on lead, bowling well and Jonesy skipping away to a 17/5 lead.
Once again the new look RSL competitiveness refused to buckle under the pressure. Ann-Marie Kuchel and backup Perrin Kuchel started to come into the game and provide Panda and Max with good head for conversions.
The game came down to the last end with Mannum needing a big score to win overall. However the RSL players set up early, making it impossible, for even the magical hands of Chook Fowler or Jones to get the big numbers required.
The RSL players had gone down 27/23 but their comeback and nerves of steel on the last end were instrumental in the overall win.
A win well deserved by RSL and one that will make a few teams, vying for major round success, a little wary of the RSL challenge. RSL might not make the finals but they are hell bent on shaping them!
Jervois Black with a comfortable win is the pennant leader one point ahead of Mannum with Bridge Red a further 21 points away followed by Meningie gradually bridging the gap in fourth place.
Bridge Green is still in with a chance of finals action as is Jervois Red. Karoonda, RSL and Tailem Bend won’t make it.
Tailem Bend and Meningie clashed at Tailem with the visitors too good by 30 shots, Kevin Griffiths’s Tailem team matched it with Brian Lord for most of the game but the Meningie team eventually held on for a three-shot win.
There wasn’t much between them for the first nine ends but Meningie gradually pulled away to be eight shots up by the 17th.
Tailem reduced it with a two but by the 19th Meningie had stretched it to nine.
Meningie skipper Trevor Mitchell started better in the meeting with Ruth Cross winning nine of the first 14 ends.
It was low scoring to that stage with only twos and singles scored by both teams with the score cards reading: Meningie 13, Tailem Bend 6.
The trend continued in the latter part of the match keeping the scores low and close until Meningie added a four that carried the team to a six-shot winning margin.
John Gregory had his Tailem team on song up to the ninth end in opposition to Brian Bagshaw, at that point his team led 11-8. Following that Meningie won every end scoring 33 shots to 11.
Mannum won on all rinks defeating RSL by 28 shots, Jervois Black slipped into top position with Ted Roberts and John Obst getting their rinks up while Richard got two points for Karoonda.
Bridge Red finished on top of Jervois Red by 10 shots but had to do it the hard way with a one rink 20 shot win by Peter White. Rod Harris and Kevin Spinks won for Jervois.
RSL vs Mannum
RSL hosted Mannum with the greens in glorious condition providing the players with consistent lines on a free running paced green.
Dennis Fiegert took on the 'smiling assassin’ Mike Pethic with Fiegert getting a good start up to the break. It was then that Pethic’s rink started to find the jack and finish strongly with a 18/14 win.
Peter Tuxford was ready to battle with Gerry Pannell but they were outplayed from start to finish and went down 32/12. RSL couldn’t match Mannum’s intensity and desire to build strong heads for Gerry to build on.
New recruits, Chook Kennedy, Peter Phillips, Dave Thiele and skip Neil Zander worked well against the Tommy Towns’ led Mannum rink members but were unable to flatten the tyres of the silky smooth delivery of Tommy at his best.
That was until Nugget scored a five on the penultimate end. This then can down to RSL having a chance to win the game. Holding four shots early, RSL were in the game, and it was up Towns and Zander.
The 'Sly Fox' Town’s used his experience to ensure the game was won but not without the Young Guns firing a few warning shots for future RSL success.
Very hot conditions took its toll last Saturday with withdrawals forcing forfeits by Tailem Bend and Meningie.
Mannum Green got full points against RSL and The other was much closer with a one rink win to Jervois over Mannum Gold.
Beryl Brandle for Mannum Gold got up by nine in her match and Bob Afford up by 22, enough to complete the win for Jervois.