With eight rounds to go there is still plenty of time left to make or break competitors in all three divisions.

Division One

BOWL: Murray Bridge Blue's Paul Smart accurately lines up the bowl as he sends it down the green. Photo: William Bailey.

BOWL: Murray Bridge Blue's Paul Smart accurately lines up the bowl as he sends it down the green. Photo: William Bailey.

At the moment Tailem Bend is top, two points ahead of Bridge Blue, making up the four is Jervois and Karoonda. Bridge White, RSL and Mannum can still make the four, but will need to do everything right and then rely on the odd upset or two elsewhere. It must start however this Saturday and that means winning, relying on others for a leg up rarely works. The bye this Saturday puts Tailem in the hot seat, over the season byes balance out equally but Tailem still has two, whereas the rest only has one, so it’s all about winning games.

Jervois V Mannum

Jervois excelled in their last outing whereas Mannum struggled to register any points, that was mainly played under lights so perhaps vision was a problem, although that shouldn’t have been the case as most of them wear blinkers anyway. Jervois, while quietly confident will be treating this challenge very seriously, Skippers Graeme Herbert, David Kempe and Rodger Zarantonello, knowing that a bad outcome will hurt, will have their players in a good frame of mind. Mannum has the talent but is not playing up to expectations and need a favourable result. Players will need to support their skippers Terry McDonnell, Peter Wegener and Lynton Jones to the hilt to have any chance. I’ll go for the favourites Jervois to win by 11-20 shots.

Bridge White V Bridge Blue

There is no way that Bridge White can win this match, I know that in Derby’s strange things can happen and White’s do have three outstanding Skippers in charge of their teams. Bruce Attrill, Ted Baxter and Ian Oats do have their charges in 5th position but quite a bit off the pace, so they certainly have the job in front of them.   

Blue’s will be in top position after this round and that is the only fixation John Jackson, Paul Smart and Jim Freak will be concerned about. White’s are good enough to be in the reckoning for a long time but at the finish it will be Blue’s in front by close to 10 shots.

Karoonda V RSL

Karoonda back in the cauldron broke a run of outs last start and is now set to make it two straight at home where they are almost invincible. In comparison the RSL players have stalled and if they can’t reignite now, will come to a full stop. Their early showings were very good; they lost three close ones among two spacious wins and a draw that was against Blue’s.

Now it will be up to the teams of Karen Kneebone, Jason Sipos and Noel Kneebone to face the might of the rejuvenated line up skippered by Josh Porker, Rowan Zadow and Ian Symonds. Both sides are thirsting for points but Karoonda to win by 1-10.

Division Two

This is shaping up to be a race between the top six, RSL has opened up a break of 12 points at the head of the table but after that only seven points separate second from 5th, Jervois Red, Mannum, Bridge Red and Meningie. Next comes Tailem Bend but with the bye will fall further behind and like Jervois Black, Bridge Green and Karoonda won’t make the cut.

Meningie V Mannum

This will be a classic encounter between two sides that will certainly be in the action come finals time, at the moment Mannum holds a slight advantage but for the winner the gate opens markedly for top position. The Mannum skippers Gaynor Pitcher, Tom Towns and Jerry Pannell are well settled with their teams and will a real go against Ash Hunt, Trevor Mitchell and Brian Bagshaw. It will be played at Meningie but Mannum to win it by 1-10 shots.

Bridge Red V Jervois Red

Jervois Red sits in second place while their opponents are not far behind and itching to climb higher. They both finished the first section as winners now one will have to wait for another  chance to make a stand. The Bridge Army skippers Bill Leggat, Barry Kirchner and Leo Liebelt will be a strong combination for Kevin Spinks, Chester Moore and Derek Vanderzon to deal with but I think they can do it by 11-20 shots.

Jervois Black v Karoonda

Only one point separates these two in the ratings and both are just playing to stave off the wooden spoon. Black Skippers Rod Harris, Owen Allen and John Obst have been around for a while and are not all that familiar with the position their teams hold this season. Whether they can get back on track against Paul Wegener, Richard Humphreys’ and Barry Manuel remains to be seen.  Both faltered last start leaving very little between on the ladder, because it will be played at Jervois I will go for the locals in a close one by eight shots.

RSL V Bridge Green

This is a most unusual situation, RSL is top Greens are second to bottom; Rumours abound that RSL contingent is on borrowed time, well, this is the golden opportunity to put all that to rest and consolidate in the honoured position.  Allan Arbon and Allan Wooldridge will skipper for RSL then the third one is unknown at this stage, favourite will be Perrin Kuchel. Trevor Pevic has been at the helm but he accepted a call from the Division 1 selectors and could be still there. Bridge Green will stay with Don Harper, David White and Kurt Weinmann, their teams haven’t been going all that well lately and on form will struggle to contain the competition leaders. I’ll go for the “Diggers” to win by 11-20.

Division Three

Jervois went into the break at the head of the table seven points ahead of Mannum Gold, then two points away sits Meningie with a break of 15 points to Mannum Green. The bottom four is Karoonda , RSL, Murray Bridge and Tailem Bend, all with slim chances of claiming 4th spot, before that could happen the top half would have to capitulate surprisingly. 

Meningie V Tailem Bend

The Meningie teams are much better positioned than Tailem Bend and at home should get through with a bit up the sleeve. The home teams skippered by Robert Warnes and Glen Andrews could prove a handful for the Tailem teams skippered by Steve Richards and John Brook. It could be interesting for a long time but at the finish Meningie will get through by 11-20.

Mannum Gold V RSL

At home Mannum Gold on ratings should be too good for RSL, but that might not be the case, the RSL teams with Ian Kluge and Graham Wilmshurst skippering, although beaten could trouble Beryl Brandle’s and Bob Hughes’s lineup.  A toss of the coin goes to Gold’s by 1-10.

Jervois V Karoonda

Jervois lost the first match of the season by one shot and hasn’t been beaten since, that sort of form speaks for itself, the skippers lately have been John Atkins and Brian Spinks. Karoonda is placed in the middle of the field and skippers Robyn Burdett and David Schulz will need to have their teams spot on to be matching it with a Jervois side that is capable of winning by 11-20 shots. 

Murray Bridge V Mannum Green

Greens are just in the four while the Bridge side is second to bottom which is a very rare position for the club to be in no matter the division. The teams skippered by Jeff Tonkin and Denise Menzies have really struggled to win a game. However, a win or two could spark a revival. The Green teams with Trevor Frahn and Peter McAvaney in charge are doing enough to get through by 11-20.