Straggling Lower Murray bowling clubs had better start to catch up

Murray Bridge RSL has work to do in the LMBA's division one. Photo: William Bailey.
Murray Bridge RSL has work to do in the LMBA's division one. Photo: William Bailey.

Practically all clubs on every rung of the ladder in all three divisions are hanging on by their finger nails.

Counting this Saturday, there are still eight rounds to go, which sounds a lot, but the leaders will have to go terribly badly to lose too much ground.

This round is strikingly important for those marking time outside the four.

Mannum v Bridge Blue

Blues were the early stragglers but came good just before the break with a hat trick of wins which now puts the side in a challenging position.

Skippers Paul Smart, Ben Traeger and Gerry Penta will be feeling much better about their chances, even though they are still second to bottom and a lot hinges on how they perform against the top side Mannum

Mannum has lost two straight, which would have skippers Marty March, Terry McDonnell and Gavin Pfeiffer thinking a bit, especially as the inclusion of the great man Thomas Towns couldn't help to get them through last Saturday.

This will be a powerful exhibition of bowls between two sides with plenty to play for.

I am tipping Mannum to win by 1-10, but I do wonder where Jonesy fits in.

Tailem Bend v Karoonda

Karoonda is a powerhouse combination at the moment that knows how to win the close ones, and did it again last start against a strong opponent.

Skippers Josh Porker, Rowan Zadow and Ian Symonds have their teams sitting nicely in third position, having chalked up six wins and three losses so far, and this is another scalp they want dangling from the belt to really consolidate.

The Eagles are going okay without attracting too much attention.

Skippers Duane Edwards, Sam Shepherd and Travis Schenke will have their teams pumped right up, knowing they were beaten at Karoonda early in the season, and like their opponents will be primed to the hilt for this classic.

Tailem has a good record against Karoonda at home which could swing the result in the locals' favour by 1-10 shots.

Bridge White v RSL

Whites, after a solid start, have gone off the pace and slipped outside the four, though it could be said that the teams have figured in a draw and lost a couple by a single shot.

Even so, that happens to a lot of sides at different times, so we won't dwell on it; neither will Charlie Di Santo, Ian Oats and Bruce Attrill.

RSL is going through a rough patch and going as low as you can go.

This is a massive challenge for the teams of Noel Kneebone, Jason Sipos and Karen Kneebone, who are back to the light at the end of the tunnel and the "Bones" are starting to rattle.

All is not lost at the moment and the teams have hit back at times, I do however lean strongly towards Whites to be the winners by 1-10 shots.

Division two

Mannum would have been quietly confident about downing Tailem Bend last Saturday but it didn't happen, resulting in the side losing top position to Meningie.

Bridge Red went from eighth to fifth while RSL took a tumble.

All that aside, it remains a very even competition.

Mannum v Jervois Red

Reds, in third spot, trail Mannum by six points, so this is going to be a stunning exhibition of pressure bowls

Reds have been strengthened with the inclusion of David Kempe, who will skipper with Denis Hicks and Chester Moore.

They will be opposed to Ian Windebank, Stephen Gregory and John Howe, a classy group, and while Mannum will be at home and in with a big chance, I reckon Reds will get the points in a close around six shots.

Jervois Black v Bridge Red

The Black teams are four points ahead of their opponents, with Reds just outside the four, so this match also promises plenty of thrills.

Blacks are coming off the bye, meaning skippers John Obst, Rod Harris and Owen Allen haven't seen much action for quite a while.

Their opponents - Graham Rolton, Tom Griffiths and Geoff Kent - have their teams fresh off a big win.

I'll go for Blacks on their own track by about seven shots.

Karoonda v Tailem Bend

Tailem has picked up the pace lately and is now in sight of fourth but skippers Ian Shepherd, John Gregory and Kevin Griffiths will be aware that everything will have to go right for their teams to get there.

On their own green the teams of Richard Humprys, Kevin Burdett and Peter Jones will be hard to beat but I think Tailem can do it by 1-10 shots.

RSL v Meningie

RSL could surprise at home but this will be a very tough assignment for the teams skippered by David Thiele, Neil Zander and Robert Sexton.

They have enough points to stay in the running but need to win this one to stay a chance.

Meningie, on the other hand, with Trevor Mitchell, Brian Bagshaw and Brian Lord or Ash Hunt in charge of the teams, will be out to hold the premier position, and should do that by 11-20 shots.

Division three

Mannum Gold, on the top rung of the ladder, is the one everyone is chasing.

Jervois has moved into second position ahead of Mannum Green with Meningie in fourth spot; then come Tailem Bend and Murray Bridge with glimmers of hope for fourth.

RSL and Karoonda are too far back to consider the finals but could play a role in who does and where.

Karoonda v Jervois

Karoonda did get through on one rink last start so skippers Belinda O'Malley and Valmai Hermann will take heart from that, but might find the rinks of John Atkins and Greg Miller so high on the ladder a bit too much to handle.

Even so, the margin will only be around seven shots.

RSL v Murray Bridge

RSL is positioned low on the ladder but is not out of this contest by any means.

Barry Stoddart got his team through but the other rink, skippered by Jim Kerville, didn't make it.

At home now the chances might look slim, but I feel they can just topple the Bridge teams - skippered by Denise Menzies and Janine Logan - by a couple of shots.

Tailem Bend v Mannum Green

Mannum Green went down last week, but even so Bob Hughes and Beryl Brandle still have a handy group of players to recover with.

There is no doubt, however, Tailem skippers Ruth Cross and Margaret Woidt will be right up to another challenge after last Saturday's big showing and get through by 1-10 shots.

Mannum Gold v Meningie

This is top versus fourth and should be a boomer of a game.

Golds are favourites, there is little doubt about that, but Meningie's Robert Semmler and Wayne Lehmann are more than capable of getting their teams up.

At home and in form, though, it is very hard to go past Gold's David Evans and Winston Longbottom, whose teams are sweeping all before them.

It looks like a margin of around 11 shots.