And here it is....the final Round of 2018-2019 bowls season and what a Round we have ahead, the excitement is palpable. We have games for playoffs, for mid table safety, for demotion playoffs and automatic demotion, which is like most other divisional R18 games but the difference in some is that the opposing teams on the table are actually playing each other which just magnifies the intensity. For Cambridge or Wanneroo there's no waiting for other results, its in plain sight on the 21st end and similar to Doubleview and Yokine.....winner takes all. Swan and Kalamunda are playing elsewhere and they are screaming for favours from their oppositions.
The Swan v Kalamunda position might be good to start with as as Swan (6th) are sitting on 65.5pts but worse percentage and getting 35 shots on South Perth is unlikely but they can not lose by much as reasonable expect Kalamunda (7th) on 64pts to get touched up by a cricket score and finish a comfortable 6th. Even if Swan loss and Kalamunda loss by more then that SD could easily come right back to single digits near the end of both games. I'm going with Swan on the following grounds (sorry Cougars); I can see them getting some points or even the Agg at South Perth if they played like they did last weekend. Even if they don't I still think they'll get 1.5 to 2pts which gives them say 67.5pts. This would mean Kalamunda need 3.5pts from Basso which no team has come close to doing all year at home. So the Cougars really need a 8-0 loss for Swan and take 1.5 or 2pts off Basso, again a tough task but certainly possible.
Next to Cambridge v Wanneroo. Absolute ripper anticipated here with plenty of big names across all 8 rinks capable of stepping up to save the day. Cambridge (9th) on 49.5pts against Wanneroo (8th) on 55pts, so 5.5pt spread again with the lower team having the better SD which is unusual but helpful. Pretty simple here in that Cambridge need a big win, to the tune of 7-1 which gives them 56.5pts v 56pts. The minimum to survive into the playoffs would be 6.5pts after holding the better percentage, which isn't impossible but tough for a team that have only won 3 at home all season, although Wanneroo have only won 1 away all season so again apologies to The Roo's but I think The Knights may just scrap this one.
Lastly, 2 of the big cheeses fight it out face to face for a straight entry into playoffs and chance to go progress into 1 White. Doubleview are slightly shaky over the last few weeks with a loss to South Perth at home and losing 3 rinks v Wanneroo last week but still scrapped over the line. A few weeks ago I would say Doubleview in a canter but Yokine were superb last week v South Perth after they themselves beat Doubleview so work that one out?! Although they got trashed the week before v Mundaring and their away record is poor with 2 from 7 and those 2 were against bottom outfits. Whereas The View were running perfect from home until a few weeks ago, which I'm sure they'll fix that form right up for this week. If Yokine didn't drop those 2pts late last week and Doubleview didn't have that massive 1 rink win last week it would be a very different conversation and game this Saturday. Unfortunately there's now a 84 v 81 split, so that 3pt spread offers The View a minimum of 6-2 loss to have both teams on 87pts but Doubleview have a whopping 169 shots up their sleeve if they finish on the same points. Can the Doggies get 6.5pts or 7pts, absolutely, especially since they took 7pts off them in corresponding R9 fixture. Repeat of the same and Doggies progress and if the View collect 2pts playing defensive all day they will not care, so advantage Doubleview.
Bring on Saturday.......only 2 more sleeps!!! The greatest of luck to all players and clubs and remember it is only a game of bowls in the end so take care of each other out there no matter the result.
BASSENDEAN v KALAMUNDA

BASSENDEAN
J Krstic, J Morss, W Davidson, N Kirkup
R Revell, P Madigan, G Stokes, D Snelgar
E O'Sullivan, B Dinnison, B Maynard, T Alden
M Erceg, P Hutchinson, A Cacciopolli, J Holman
INS: No change
OUTS:

KALAMUNDA
A Bartlett, W Olive,   B Farrant,     M Thomas
D Wooltorton, R Cooper, H Clifford, M Clancy
S Gosstray,      I Cornthwaite,      G McDonald, P Young
    P Coyle, V Orchard, V Hughes, R Chalmers
INS: R Cooper
OUTS: P Townshend

Basso can approach this game 2 ways....cruise into 1 White in party mode or take this serious with a focus on what they need to do v Cockburn. It is probably somewhere in between. Unsure if they get preference for the pennant flag with home game advantage (Editor's input is welcome here The Blue pennant final will be played at Yokine next Sunday) but if they do then there's a huge amount to play for as they are only 3pts ahead of Cockburn and they are playing the rock bottom team at Home, so 8pts is expected over there!!
If that's not the case then Kalamunda should get a chance to sneak some points here with Basso in winners form and they only need 1.5 to 2.5pts to make Swan sweat a lot. They will need some big scores as Basso are only conceding 16 shots per rink per game which leaves a very narrow window of opportunity considering they are averaging 23 shots per rink FOR at home, scary thought for Kalamunda.
It would be nice for the Cougars to forget that 2 from 8 away form, clean the slate and have a right good crack at this one game and treat it like a one-off and see where it gets them. Like a few others they miss that stronger 3rd and 4th rink and there is only so much lifting Gosstray and Bartlett can do each week. Where the Cougars have only won 7 games for the season their percentage SD is basically 0 which shows how unbelievably close their are to winning most games. These maybe be heart breaking at the time but it is a huge positive to know that they are not very far from the top teams when they are on form. They have lost 7 games by less than about 10 shots which is not just last end bowls that is last few bowls. If they had won even 3 of them they would be probably 2nd or 3rd, that's how close this team was to playoffs, yet the cruelty of a game with such small margins mean they play for something very different this weekend. Whereas they 'might' be dragged into playoffs for demotion I would back this team all day long to take any upcoming Div.2 side so I'll remain quickly confident of playing the Cougars some time next year.
Basso for me at home and with Rocket, O'Sullivan and Jovan winning, we could possibly see a Basso 2nd, 3rd and 4th on the skippers ladder or even 4 in the Top 10, which would be a fine achievement for any club.
Bassendean 8 - 0

CAMBRIDGE v WANNEROO

CAMBRIDGE
W Manning, G Allen, J Van Der Werdt, E Henning
D Hughes, G Jones, H Lowe, M Bolton
A Byres, P Easom, T Bellos, A Ness
S Buckley, T Leahy, P McShane, B Mason
INS: E Henning, M Bolton
OUTS: D Phillips, W Sherrington

WANNEROO
S Denny, B McMonagle, S Binnie, J Tailor
D Anderson, K Toster, J Miller, J Weir
M Nievelstein, C Tee, M Brown, D Hampton
C Buccholz, C Johnson, G Sarich, B Anderson
INS: No change
OUTS:

This one has been brewing for weeks and it is finally here, what a game ahead with so much at stake. Pretty simple from the mathematical point of view...the Knights need a big win, preferable by 7pts but 6.5pts will suffice given the percentage advantage Cambridge have. Wanneroo cannot do much about the percentage as it is about 80 shots so that's not even worth considering so they need a 2-6 loss or better to give them a second chance of staying in 1 Blue. Given their recent results this could well be within their capability but winning just 1 game away all season is a serious negative for me, especially when their average away loss is 26 shots, which is saying a lot if its the average. Although form, previous results and the kitchen sink go out the window in these types of games so the reality is they have a 50/50 chance and they will come to play for survival knowing they touched up the Knights at home by nearly 40 shots.
You would think that a team with 2 skippers around the Top 20 would be sitting higher than Wanneroo who's highest skipper is Turra who probably hasn't played in 1 Blue since 2018 and their next few are shooting about 35% but that in itself shows the difference with the Roos that they find ways of grabbing vital points here and there even when losing. The Roo's have being good over the last 2 games but yet Cambridge have only won 2 since R8 which again creates doubt about who's going to control this game. There is no doubt that both teams have the backend fire power to create big numbers with Buckley, Manning, Denny & Anderson some obvious big hitters so maybe this one will come down to matchups, luck and a touch of composure near the end. Despite the table positions, both teams have had some fantastic results this season like Cambridge's super win away to South Perth, their 46 shot win over Swan, Wanneroo's great win away to Swan in R5 and then doing the double on them at home, that gutsy loss to Basso and then taking Kalamunda and Mundaring at home. It will be unfortunate to see either team depart as they are proud players and clubs but it might just swing the Knights way late on and that really is just based on the Roo's away form. If they bring that edgy play from the last few weeks I would easily give them not just the 2 points they need but easily 6+. Again good luck to all.
Cambridge 6 - 2

DOUBLEVIEW v YOKINE

DOUBLEVIEW
G Herriot, J Bessant, B Pearce, M Fredericks
A Wetzler,     S Whitfield, S Curtis, F Williamson
W Langdon, C McKenna, S Deering,     R Castledine
E Johnson, K Cornell, G Papadopoulos, B Leed
INS: S Curtis
OUTS: G Nelson

YOKINE
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Doubleview might feel the need to have a chat about this one over the coming days as they can make like very easy for themselves or very difficult in a matter of a few ends. Yokine are travelling well and have a nice run going so they will be very confident of whats ahead.
If The View offer an opening I think the Doggies will easily pounce, especially the likes of McGillivray after last weeks loss and Morrison doesn't need an invite to get on top. However it is somewhat difficult to see Doubleview losing 2 on the trot at home after such a great season and more importantly I can't see Herriot losing 3 in a row or even Nelson losing 2 at home. While we mention those it should be acknowledged that both rinks have had a tremendous season so credit to all. Even though the Nelson back end changed throughout the season the likes of Williamson and Whitfield kept winning irrespective of the skipper so there's something in that with the skippers usually getting all the credit.
The great thing about this game is it lies firmly in their own hands to knock out the result they want for themselves. Doubleview for me going on the great home form, the ability to still go through to playoffs while losing 2-6 and Doggies weak away form, although Doggies on current form pose a massive threat.
Doubleview 6 - 2

MUNDARING v ROSSMOYNE

MUNDARING
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ROSSMOYNE
K Edson, P Sadler, D Horniman, L Brown
R Vind, S Bartlett, N Blyth, C Youdell
G Beacroft, B O'Brien, P Voon, H Slowiak
P Chappell, L Souster, P White, B Arendts
INS: D Horniman, P Voon, H Slowiak
OUTS: P Forster, P Lees, M Bailey

Quite a pleasant game up the hills to finish off the season for both clubs who have very little to play for other than pride so I can see this one played in fine spirits with very little bowl chasing hollering (although that may have to exclude the exciteful Inspector). The Red Tails could of got more from this season but a few close games took away those options but overall they have played very well against the top teams so they know what to do next year. Credit must go to the Bear/Warne combo who came very close to the top side for the season (prob finish top 5), not excluding the talented Critchell/Hagdorn front end support. Solid side who produced some wonderful performances once they settled in as a unchanged side and pretty much stayed like that for most of the season.
Rossmoyne2 have grown into a nice team structure and worked hard to get themselves close near the last few ends and with that showed they can mix it up with some of the better sides. A little too late but certainly not wasted as they will be looking to bounce right back next year to prove their worth. They have got some nice finds on the back end and probably no more than Vind who finished off the back 9 with marked improvement against some top skippers.
Mundaring for the spoils with Pickles/Reynolds combo picking up a big win so they finish as a top 10 side on 10pts.
Mundaring 7 - 1

SOUTH PERTH v SWAN

SOUTH PERTH
B Roelefs, V Santostefano, J Percival, B Owen
M McRae, R Negus,     W Skuza, P Keeffe
M Petrich, E Munnelly, S Kelly, S Frosh
D Bandy, G Reagan, P Holmes, L Moretti
INS: P Keeffe
OUTS: D Calvo

SWAN
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South Perth will be delighted to get back to Mends St after some tough away games and find some comfort away from the top teams. Not discounting Swan but the Millers are quite strong at home and anything they have lost has being very tight at home so expect high scoring, free flowing bowls all around. You might see Swan take the early advantage as South Perth tend to be slow starters and they really have nothing to play for as they are guaranteed playoffs so if Swan can catch them napping they can continue last weeks form quite easily here and project themselves into a clear and safe 6th position. Swan did beat them comfortably enough in R9 for 6.5pts so it's not without reason that they can bring that form to South Perth.
I think I'm right in saying that even though South Perth have lost 7 games (~40%) and still sit a comfortable 2nd is itself amazing but they also have the highest FOR score in the division and 2nd lowest Against scores and have won only 1 rink less than Basso on 44 rinks with Basso only losing 3 games not 7 all season.......total head scratchier but there's probably good merit within there somewhere?! Looking back in the scoring we see them splitting the 'cans' between all skippers which indicates depth on the day, so if they fire up across the 4 rinks then it could be trouble.
Pretty simple for Swan, stop the free flowing bowls from the Millers, get them under early pressure and fight to the last end as even 1pt will be huge. Millers need this win to head into finals running a 60% win rate rather than 45% loss rate and if they fire up and push pass 80 shots combined I don't see Swan hitting 80+.
South Perth 6 - 2