Welcome to the official 2nd half & back end to the season, where dreams builds and aspirations soar. Every point is critical & some teams need to readjust the placement of the panic button. Most leave it until the last 3 Rounds but the smart ones will put in this focus now to R14, from there anything can happen & if the teams are sitting where they need to be the teams enter those last 3-4 games with some confidence rather than anxiety which always helps the bowls.
Now that we are officially half way it might be a good time to run the 'kudos' over the front end pairs who provide such a critical service to the back end (aka. armchair ride). This week I'm just going to pick one from each position. Thankfully the new website does most of the work for me now where you can select the 'skippers ladder' for all positions (ie. Lead, Second, Third & Skipper). To keep it entertaining we've excluded the obvious leads & seconds whom are within one of those dominant rinks as we've looking to highlight a player who's not just winning his man on man contests weekly but also making a significant contribution to the final score from such a front end rink position.
For lead kudos we're going with the 3rd position player......Harold Whitman. I'm sure Buchholz would agree that not having Whitman could of changed some of those 6 wins into loses considering nearly every one of those wins are 10+shots & that can't happen on such a consistent basis if your Lead isn't sitting heavy on that front end pressure. Also any loses are all smaller than 10shots which shows the options the back end is getting. Well done.
For second kudos, we're going further down the list to pull out our highlight players.....Vince Giuffre. Yes he's only sitting 8th in the Second's ladder but yet he's only lost 1 games from 9. The reason he's there are those amazing 4 draws to add to the 4 wins. If a few of those last ends bowls went more Warwick's way we'd see him a lot higher on the ladder. Overall he's bowling pretty well & bringing that winning form which is important for the confidence level alone. Well done.
SORRENTO v WANNEROO
C Lander, R Cunningham, B Lucas, F Tyson
R Butler, A Barron, M Burton, B Gunson
S Loftus, P Flack, L Oldham, G Taylor
S Rixom, M Hulbert, T Murray, G Murray IN: F Tyson, G Taylor OUT: W Elliott, S Mortimer
C Buchholz, D Griffin, R Humphryson, H Whitman
D Turra, E Widermanski, B Nelson, B McMurdo
S Denny, D Anderson, N Palmer, L Bryson
H Ward, K Toster, G Sarich, B Bucowski IN: N Palmer, K Toster OUT: C Johnson, D Burns
Very interesting game for both sides as Wanneroo will be acutely aware that Rossmoyne & Osborne Park could put some distance on them if they don't win. They were ok last week against a bottom side but lost the 2 before that. I would like to have seen a more dominant display last week after losing 2 on the trot but they can win this if they play their absolute best bowls.
Sorrento are in business as usual mode & it's working quite well, even after a few changes in the front end last week they seemed to work without any real issues which shows the strength of the team & also highlights that they are willing to change positions around even when they are winning. Unfortunately this year seems to be highlighting a larger than usual difference between 1White & PL so the focus will be on getting the best team possible for next year without overly celebrating the big wins this year.
The Roo's need to step it up another gear at least to stay competitive with the Swans. A pair of changes with Palmer the lucky charmer back in with Toster. Wardy's side need a big game to prevent Swans targeting a rink for a big win & Denny stays on as skipper after his first skippering win after recently setting up into that position. Who wouldn't mind seeing a Buchholz v Lander matchup.....wouldn't that be a corker.
Swans also have a pair of changes where the 2 new guys from last week drop & Tyson/Taylor come back up. Sorrento just need to maintain the 4th gear cruising mode & they'll surely grab a minimum of 7 pts here.
Sorrento 7 - 1
SOUTH PERTH v COCKBURN
M McRae, B Roelefs, G Reagan, G Bovell
D Bandy, P Holmes, J Percival, J McDonnell
D Calvo, M Petrich, R Negus, L Moretti
A Durrant, V Santostefano, E Munnelly, B Owen IN: R Havercroft, S Kelly, J Cunningham OUT: G Bovell, A Durrant, J McDonell
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Huge game for both sides as a win for the Roosters will put them 2 games ahead of the dreaded 9th spot & edge them closer to the safety of 6th, whereas a win for the Millers will bring them even with the Cockburn, while knowing that Cockburn then play Sorrento & Osborne Park in the next 2 Rounds, which gives South Perth a massive opportunity to crawl out of automatic relegation.
There's really no danger or dominant sides for either team but South Perth definitely need to get a quick focus on Marevich as his side has only lost once from a slow start, up to R3. A quick look at who's doing the damage for Cockburn shows they have 12 rinks wins from 36 played although they've also had an incredible 5 draws. This all leads to the same point in that all wins or most weekly performances are both low scoring where most wins are very close games. Of those 12 rink wins only 1 rink won by 10shots or more, which shows most rink wins were achieved on the last few ends & by minimum margins. Where South Perth may look to highlight this anomaly by coming out hard & looking for that 1 blowout rink which should cover any margins losses across other rinks.
Whereas the Roosters know that their opponents have only won 10 rinks from 36 with another 3 draws, which is the main difference between the 2 sides that have only won 2 games so far. The other difference is that of those 10 rink wins South Perth have won by 10+ shots on 40% of those rinks which shows they can produce a blowout rink to look to cover the narrow losses.
We can't see much on the Cockburn selections but South Perth look like they have had to apply some significant changes again this week which surely can't help at such a critical time of the year. Bandy is back skippering from 2nd, Petrich comes from lead to skipper, Roelofs drops from skipper to 3rd, Reagan drops back to 2nd & for his first game of the season Durrant comes straight to skipper. So that's 7 changes from 16 & affects all 4 rinks, so it should be interesting to see how that pans out.
Who knows what will happen in R10 but this is where I personally see the difference in this game & that's why I'm slightly drifting towards the Millers (apart from the changes) but if this was at Cockburn I would also probably tip Cockburn, that's how close this game could be.
South Perth 6 - 2
WARWICK v MORLEY
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W Mitchell, T Vlahos, B Driscoll, C Hamilton
T Dawson, G Grieve, K Nazareth, B Harris
L Sanders, G Lowry, J Engelen, W Hinchcliffe
W Barker, V Princi, P Wharam, R Dunstan IN: G Lowry, P Wharam OUT: J Thomas, N Minchin
Warwick are officially in free fall after another lose last week & now they haven't won since R5 which seems incredible given how well they started the season.
There is still some strong performers like Vince Giuffre who has still only lost an incredible 1 game this season, although that doesn't mean he's 8 from 9, as he's only won 4 games & DRAWN 4. Thats 4 draws from 9, unsure if I've seen that before?! My eye is on Borkowski this Round as he's dropped the last 2 but he's normally good for a win & in some cases a big margin win which helps carry their Agg wins. I feel his rink will bounce back as all 4 losses have been by 7 shots or less. They'll need more from Hinge & Hill as both have only had 2 wins so far & both play important roles.
Mavericks will again be looking towards Dawson as he looks for 3 in a row, which hasn't happened any skipper at Morley's first side for years so best of luck there. Again he needs more support & should get it with Mitchell & Barker how are keeping losses to low single digits but Sanders rink will need to kerb the blowouts as it's now -37 shots over 2 games but he's also won 3 from 9 and his overall Agg is about 2nd best of the skippers so I'd imagine it's just 2 bad weeks. Not that it's an individual game but if the can also get a little more out Thomas it might help as he's running a -78 shots over 9 rounds which is the highest by any player in 1 White. Wharam is back for Barker & Lowry comes in to help Sanders stem the front end bleed.
It might be a great time for Morley to travel to Warwick given their recent form but I'll side with their home form last year as a baseline to indicate how difficult it might be to grab the Agg off them at home.
Warwick 7 - 1
OSBORNE PARK v KARDINYA
J Thorn, J Carter, G Smith, I Bryden
M Dewson, S Pasalich, A McCullagh, P Potts
C Fleay, M Pasalich, A Pasalich, R Clark
F Di Giuseppe, M Carmichael, B Boyd, P Allen IN: J Carter, A McCullagh OUT: T Weir, G Smith
G Fewings, R Hawke, W Bezant, W Lee
R Knapp, T Cocodis, R McNamara, L Phillips
M Yates, S Vinci, S Back, J Edgar
C Stokes, C Vinci, J Galipo, G Knight IN: S Back, W Lee OUT: S Vassallo, C Booth
When having a look at some blowouts for Morley sides I came across any interesting stat where there were 5 players with a -60shot score difference after R9. The interesting fact was 3 of them were Kats where you would expect more from the bottom sides & not from the team sitting in 6th. Other than Thomas (M), the next 4 were Barrie -65shots, Regan (SP) -63shots, Knight & Rochford -61shots.
Kats make 2 changes with Booth maybe unlucky to miss out as until last Round he was 5 from 6 which was very good for any Kats rink at the moment. Lee & Back come in switch up some rinks looking for a refresher.
Ossy Park have a few reasonable changes as Weir heads up to help in PL as Fleay steps into his skippering spot. And McCullagh comes back in after last playing all the way up to R7.
This should be an easy enough assignment for the Saints. Now I'm not saying Saints will win by a large margin, quite the opposite as I think it'll be a close game. The difference should be at least 1 blowout rink for the Saints which will carry the difference for the rest. The reasoning behind this is Kats haven't won an away rink by more 9 shots (Stokes R9) all season (except for 1 rink at Morley which I'm not counting). So unless the Kats can create a runaway rink you'd have to imagine the Saints will generally outscore them at home but who knows what might happen.
Osborne Park 6 - 2
ROSSMOYNE v BASSENDEAN
D Haddow, D Price, R Mitchell, V Andrews
E Gollan, R Vind, D Green, B O'Brien
R Lang, R Halse, P Feszczak, B Cranswick
A Petchell, W Harvey, A Herbert, G Beacroft IN: P Feszczak OUT: L Jervies
J Krstic, T Lynch, W Davidson, N Kirkup
E O'Sullivan, A Smith, P Madigan, P Harber
R Revell, J Morss, G Stokes, J Holman
B Dinnison, M Erceg, R D'Souza, D Snelgar IN: R D'Souza OUT: L McKay
The River Rats will be very pleased with how they are tracking this season & they are sitting in a perfect spot in 3rd with some breathing room around them. They still haven't enforced much change in personnel (only 2) so they are sticking with what they have & they seem to be doing just fine.
Basso need to apply a serious focus on Gollan's side as they continue to dominant by chalking up 8 from 9 now & will be hot to handle. Lions also need to keep tabs on Petchell not so much Petchell's rink but really Petchell himself as he's been a deadly escape artist this year & must be saves 10+ shots per game & last week they won by 20shots. The only chink in Rossmoyne's armour seems to be the struggling Lang side. Another lose here is 6 loses in a row. In saying that, up to last week Jervies hadn't won in 6 games & in that explains Rossmoyne's general balance so far, 2 very good rinks carrying a heavy workload. However, let's not forget that this balance is working very well for them & sitting 3rd is well justified as they have only lost 3 games so far & 2 of them were against the top 2 sides.
The Lions are at that tipping point where they have great momentum but could drop down a gear thinking they are slightly out of trouble & they kind of are, for the moment. Sitting 5th is remarkable given where they were only a few Rounds back & with a big win here it would nearly certainly give the Lions a top 4 spot as Wanneroo play Sorrento, how good would that be for them? Minor changes for them as McKay goes up to PL & they welcome back D'Souza which should help Dinnison.
Unfortunately I can't see past the River Rats this Round. There's definitely an ability to go there & win for away teams, like Kats did some weeks back but Basso would need their backend firing on last years form to knock them off, not impossible but Basso are just not scoring enough to trouble the River Rats.