With unfavourable weather conditions bringing about cancellations and with the bye playing a role in the four placings, and the quest to get there, the pressure is on all the hopefuls as the minor round ticks away.
Fourth spot will be fought out between Karoonda, Bridge White and Tailem Bend with very little between them on points, so this becomes a very important round.
Jervois v Bridge Blue
A great rivalry of late has developed between these two great sides and it will no doubt be on show again, this time at Jervois before an almost full house.
Blue is still holding a reasonable advantage in top position but do know that their opponents are snapping at their heels and could inflict a damaging blow in this clash.
Blue’s have the inform skipper Paul Smart shining and the other two at the helm Gerry Penta and Bruce Attrill are right in the action also. For Jervois, Russel Schutz is in good touch ably backed by Graham Fromm and Graeme Herbert.
I am informed that Ted Roberts and John Obst are challenging for the top jobs. It all hinges on what the teams give their skippers, without a lot of confidence I’ll go for Blue to retain top rating with a 1-10 win.
Bridge White v RSL
The RSL players are in the right frame of mind to spoil a few contenders and must be given a big chance of upsetting White’s who have been wobbling a bit of late.
This could well be a skipper’s game, I don’t mean they have to carry the bag entirely but they are all well equipped to play the conversion shots and when produced that is what hurts the opposition. For White, Les Trewren is the least experienced but is getting good results out of his team.
Jim Freak plays every shot in the book and a proven competitor over a long period of time. Chester Moore’s team is coming off a setback but in general going okay.
I put RSL skipper Noel Kneebone in the experienced category now and there is no doubt he gets the best out of his players and leads by example. Max Wilkin and Gary Daniel are good enough to have their teams right in the action, so much so that RSL will have too much colour for their opponents and get through by 1-10 shots.
Karoonda v Tailem Bend
These two sides are under immense pressure to perform, Karoonda is already in the four but a loss here will almost certainly see them face an exit, for the time being anyway.
Tailem is in the same situation, a loss here could spell the end for “The Eagles” they are rapidly running out of wing span and need a big day out in the Mallee.
The Karoonda players can be commended for their comeback from a bad loss, skippers Josh Porker, Ian Symonds and Gary Zadow will be breathing a lot easier and should be full of confidence when they come up against the teams of Duane Edwards, Mrev. Stevens and Sam Shepherd. The Tailem trio will also be satisfied with their last hit out and I reckon their teams can crack a close but big one by 1-10 shots.
I would say even at this early stage the top two, Jervois Black and Mannum, have the top two positions sewn up. Black is on 99 points and Mannum 98, then there is a gap of 21 to Bridge Red with Meningie a further eight points away.
Bridge Green is still in the running with Jervois Red an outside chance to make the four.
Bridge Green v Meningie
These two are evenly matched with Green coming off the bye, sitting just outside the four, so the result could reverse the positions making it a significant clash. Meningie would need to be at near full strength as Green, at home, will take a bit of toppling. It has all the signs of being a close encounter that I guess Greens will win by about four shots.
Jervois Red v RSL
Jervois Red made a bit of headway after a slow start but has fallen away recently and while not completely out of calculations needs all the points it can gather to stay under notice.
RSL is in somewhat the same predicament, after showing some promise has slipped down the ladder and will now struggle to go the pace with Red, not entirely out of it but this one could be just out of reach.
Red at home look the winners by around 11-20 shots.
Jervois Black v Tailem Bend
This is top against bottom so it all points to a comfortable Jervois win, especially with skippers of the calibre of Ted Roberts and John Obst who played off in the club’s singles championship, with Ted emerging the winner. It might be too hard for Tailem to calm those two so I will go for Blacks by 11-20 shots.
Karoonda v Mannum
Mannum is only one point off top spot, but the selectors are making more moves than Bobby Fischer. Even so the side is still winning and that is what counts and I am sure all will be settled for the run to the finals.
The game will be played out at Karoonda which being a grass surface will help the locals, not by enough however to get on top of this strong Mannum unit that will probably win by 11-20 shots.
The top four Mannum Green, Jervois, Murray Bridge and Mannum Gold will be the major round contenders, what they will be doing now is slugging it out for the prime positions.
Karoonda v Tailem Bend
These two will be playing to improve their positions on the ladder and that is enough incentive to produce a very keen contest.
Karoonda is better positioned on the ladder but I have a feeling Tailem can win this by between 1-10 shots.
RSL v Jervois
There is a fair gap between these two in the ratings with Jervois well ahead that makes the Bluds strong favourites to win convincingly. They will win but it could be a lot closer than it looks, the RSl players are a resilient lot and could give it a shake. I will though give it to Jervois by 11-20.
Mannum Green v Meningie
Top-placed Mannum Green, at home, will be way too strong for the Lakesiders. Green is in danger of losing top spot and will be driven to get full points resulting in holding first position.
Murray Bridge v Mannum Gold
The Bridge holds a two-shot lead over their opponents, neither will go out of the four but the huge incentive is to move a bit higher up the ladder as second or even top is not out of the question.
It will be a massive contest that will go right down to the wire with The Bridge eventually winning by around four shots.