Lower Murray bowlers are ready for finals

This final minor round match has all the signs of being the most intriguing in the history of finals pennant bowls.

Concentration: Murray Bridge RSL division one player Brad Wilkins puts a bowl into action during the game against Bridge Blue at home on Saturday.

Concentration: Murray Bridge RSL division one player Brad Wilkins puts a bowl into action during the game against Bridge Blue at home on Saturday.

Karoonda will be lining up to contest finals for the first time and will be opposed to Jervois to see which side can finish second or possibly drop to third or fourth.     

Bridge White will be travelling to Mannum striving to get into the four. Bridge Blue has enjoyed a marvellous minor round and will finish many points ahead of anyone else.

Division one

Jervois v Karoonda

This is just one of two spell-binding contests that carry high hopes for both sides. It could be the start of a fairy tale journey for Karoonda but no matter what the side will play in the finals, and that in itself will be a great experience.  

That though will not be on the minds of the Karoonda group, their aim no doubt will be on knocking over Jervois and securing second spot that carries the crucial double chance. 

If they can achieve that then the worst scenario will be to play a final at home, and wouldn’t that be inspirational. Failing that it will be a knockout final.

On the other hand, Jervois will be ready for this; the players are a hardened outfit coming off the bye after a dramatic one-shot win that has proved to be a critically important result. 

Good sides have the habit of winning the close one so none of the The Bluds will be fazed about that, rather they will treat it as just another challenge handled with cool pressure bowling. 

Just the same after the season they have had they wouldn’t be too keen on contesting an elimination final that will be the driving force that will carry them to a win of 1-10 shots.  

I’m not discounting Karoonda - the players are up to this massive challenge, I just think the home green will be a plus for the locals.  

Mannum v Bridge White

With so much at stake, this one too will have a finals atmosphere, Mannum has 10 more points up their sleeves than their opponents so that gives them a bit of an advantage. That aside I do know that White is a very confident squad and will not listen about defeat that could be based on what happened at Karoonda, if so it could be a mistake.   

 Talk about confidence, the Mannum players are chock-full of it and a game such as this is right up their alley, especially at home. 

There is little doubt their last effort would have disturbed them and if panic does set in it could be disastrous, they will recover, they are so close to playing finals they cannot afford to put a step out of place.

White has had a topsy turvy season but are firing at the right time and  know the importance of playing to the very best of their ability or it is out the door.  

I had a firsthand look at them recently and they came across as being very well equipped to cause a rumble in this clash.

Whether they can do it at Mannum though is debateable so I will go for the home side to stay secure in the four by 1-10 shots.

Tailem Bend v Bridge Blue

Blue will be using this clash as a warm up and experiment for the finals, that’s the message I got from the “coffee club”, I also heard ‘Oatsy’ is 13th man for them.

The first leg of the journey is almost complete, now the major round is just around the corner and will take centre stage. 

Even though they are not as impregnable at the moment as they were a few weeks back, they will still be on song to simply flex their muscles, a show of strength for what lies ahead.

“The Eagles” are out of the running but not all that far away as far as competitive spirit goes so this will make for a gung-ho clash that will go the full distance and probably go Blue’s way by 1-10 shots.

RSL has the bye.

Division Two

The four is settled now with just the positions to be allotted; Mannum is safe at the head of the table, following that Jervois Black, Bridge Red and Meningie to sort themselves out with only four points separating second from fourth.

Bridge Red v Meningie

This will be a classic, Reds are third on percentage ahead of their opponents and it is possible for the winners to slot into second and what a lift that would be. It all points to be an exciting clash and while Meningie is in a with a mighty chance I’ll give it to Reds by 1-10.

RSL v Bridge Green

At the moment Green is just outside the four with RSL positioned just behind them, so this is all about which one will finish fifth or sixth, and both will be thinking the higher the better.

I’m going for RSL to win, the side has made a few sit up and take notice lately and is going better than Greens at the moment.    RSL will be favourites and I reckon they can finish the season with a 11-20 winning margin.

Mannum v Jervois Black

After a blistering start to the season Black has hit the wall with a string of losses, they surrendered top spot and now is in danger of slipping to third or fourth.      

Mannum, on the other hand, is in peak form and poised to add to Black’s woes. It’s really all about Tommy’s Town House - he has got the group pumped enough to win this by 11-20.

Tailem Bend v Jervois Red

Jervois Red fell out of calculations after showing promise early in the season.

On the other side of the river, Tailem Bend is struggling to win at all and even at home will find it hard to improve enough to upset the visitors.  Reds stand out the winners by 11-20 shots.

Division Three

The battle is really on here for top spot between Jervois top and Mannum Green one point away second, Mannum Gold comes in third, three points ahead of Murray Bridge. So there is plenty of excitement expected before this final four is complete.

Meningie v RSL

Meningie low on the ladder did win on the road against third-placed Mannum Gold, that has to be termed very good.  RSL also won but that was at home which is always a bit easier, I’ll tip that Meningie on their own green can possibly get the result by 1-10.

Mannum Gold v Tailem Bend

Mannum Gold, on the local green, has much more to play for and a higher rating looks to be a step ahead of Tailem Bend and positioned to win the match by 11-20 shots.

Mannum Green v Karoonda

Mannum Green, situated in second place, compared to Karoonda’s low down points to a Mannum win. Karoonda will compete hard enough but with Mannum trying to get top position will have much more incentive and should win by about 11-20.

Murray Bridge v Jervois

This will be the match of the round, Jervois is playing to hold top position while the Bridge will be happy to just record another win as second and top are out of reach. 

No matter what it will still be a striking contest with all eyes on top position, and in-form Jervois should win by 1-10 and perhaps still not get the prized top position.

In reply: Mario Grande, Murray Bridge Blue, sends down a bowl during the division one match against RSL on the weekend.

In reply: Mario Grande, Murray Bridge Blue, sends down a bowl during the division one match against RSL on the weekend.