Well for a dramatic season of close results, the finest of margins continued into R18 with an absolute nail biter of a finish, which we haven't seen in some years. Firstly congrats to MOSMAN PARK, welcome back to the PL. They did worry some going 1 from 4 from R8 to R11 but as we said at the halfway point, they'll come home strong & didn't they come home like a steam train to finish by 0.5pt ahead of a unbelievably gallant Safety Bay. The Bay will be kicking themselves that they missed out by the absolutely minimum margin of 0.5pt. Even if both teams drew on 89pts, the Bay easily had Mossies on score difference & would of gone straight up. It was also tight across every game as we had 3 games finish 7.5 to 0.5 with everyone fighting for every point on offer.
We did think it would go down to the last few ends but never thought it would go down to the very last bowl of the season. Of the 30,240 bowls laid down this season, it literally went down to Pasalich v Beurteaux n their last bowl each, who then drew 21 -21 so Beurteaux could grab 0.5pt & drag Mosman Park into the PL. If Beurteaux missed that 0.5pt then Safety Bay would be guaranteed the 1st ticket to the big dance.....what a finish to the season.
If Mossies didn't get that 0.5pt, they Bay would of went from 1 Blue South to 1 White & to the PL (and they still can) in 2yrs, what an achievement to get this far, well done. In saying that, I don't ever remember any side going straight to the PL/1 Red when they only won 10 games all season. Yes that is only 1 game off only winning half your games & you get a clean ticket into the bid dance?!! The Bay finished on 89.5pts by only winning 10 games & incredibly only winning 2 away games all season, it doesn't take long to figure out the maths don't work there but the key to their success was the huge quantity of rinks win. They won 47.5 rinks in a season, which is miles ahead of even Mosman Park. This was confirmed by the Bay having 3 skippers in the Top 10 where Mossies only had 1 & also only had 2 skippers in the top 20 which is very unusual but they shared the load this season across a number of skippers.
We now have Finals to play this weekend & the predictor from the last round didn't change in the top 4, although Wanneroo finished 4th & Warnbro came to 3rd. Anyone can correct me if I'm wrong but I believe Finals will be hosted by the top side, Mosman Park on the 1st day & a neutral venue for the GF. This should be Mossies v Safety Bay with the loser playing winner of 3rd v 4th, which is where Warnbro v Wanneroo.
In another incredible twist it was equally as close trying to figure out who Warwick & Bassendean will be playing as both North & South 2nd positioned sides finished on the exact same points, 79.5pts. So it's down to score difference & North Beach just edge Manning 1 by a few shots to get to play 8th placed 1 White. So the Magpies plays whoever wins 1 Blue North 2nd v 3rd, which is North Beach v Sorrento in the Challenge Playoffs. That leaves Basso playing whoever wins 1 Blue South 2nd v 3rd which is Manning 1 v Fremantle. We might try & get a little preview done for this weekend on the Playoffs if we get a chance.
Congrats to all on a wonderful season amidst such troubling times elsewhere. It really was a very competitive year for all clubs & as usual the margins were minimal in the end which shows how tough 1 White can be. We wish those playing this weekend all the best & those who are not will enjoy a well earned rest & take a few weeks off before no doubt grabbing some funs winter bowls & canirvals over the off-season. We hope you all enjoyed another year of relaxed commentary & fun, take care & good health until next season.
Kardinya 65 (0) v Safety Bay 89 (8)
Craig Stokes 11 v Christopher Owen 27
Norm Ball 21 v Chris Carruthers 25
John Rochford 18 v Grant Taylor 20
Stephen Vinci 15 v Ron Hall 17
What a time to shake the Away monkey record off their back in a dominant display of hunger to get to the top of 1 White & didn't they get ever so close. The Bay couldn't possibly have put in a better performance as 8pts was their ultimate goal & they delivered in style. Whereas the Bay might have missed out on the top spot they have a great chance of taking the last ticket to the PL. They now get 2 chances to go up. If they lose the first game against Mossies they still get a 2nd chance against the winner of Warnbro v Wanneroo which gives them every chance of getting to the GF. If they get there with Mossies I believe they'll play the GF for prode as they'll be already guaranteed a place in PL as Mossies are already up. Still a huge amount to pay for this weekend & they have good form heading into Finals.
The Kats will be happy to see an end to this season as it definitely did not go as planned as they far well 1 White. They'll be alot wiser next year & will have more time on their new surface so they'll be a strong 1 Blue side for any competition next year.
Result: Safety Bay 8 - 0
Prediction: Safety Bay 6 - 2
Warnbro 93 (8) v Bassendean 64 (0)
William Baker 27 v Eugene O'Sullivan 18
Lindsay Strange 17 v Rodney Revell 16
Kieran Cousens 23 v Travis Lynch 17
Sean Mawdsley 26 v Aidan Caccioppoli 13
Warnbro did the job they needed to do but the damage was already done some Rounds back & it was very hard to recover. We could say winning just 3 games since R12 hurt them but the reality goes a little deeper when you looks at the away form. The Wizards lost every away game since R9 which is very surprising as some of those were against teams they destroyed at home in the first half of the season. To their credit their own form was superb winning 8 from 9 at home but so did Safety Bay & Mosman Park. Nonetheless the Wizards play Finals this weekend & have a massive chance of going straight back into PL which would be a huge achievement considering they lost a few players from last year. They collected themselves well this year & played as a team & that counts for a few shots every week.
Strange year for Basso as both tops teams are looking at demotion but yet the lower teams are playing very well, which indicates that mid-section group is narrowing. Next season they'll have either 2 teams in 1 White & 1 Blue South or 1 White & 2 x 1 Blue. Tough for selections & we regularly see those have 2 teams in similar divisions finding it difficult throughout the season with invariable 1 team dropping back down within 1-2 years. In saying that, you would expect their PL side to dominant every side next season & go straight back up as you can't see sides like maybe Fremantle, Mt Lawley, North Beach 2, Quinns, Gosnells, etc troubling them too much considering their wealth of talent & experience. Unfortunately for these Lions they are back into challenge finals again this season after their close call last season. The good news is they didn't really have much problems in the challenge finals last season & I don't see either many 1 Blue South sides creating a massive challenge & same as above, that's no disrespect to any side, its purely on the basis that I honestly think 1 Blue North is the stronger division this season. Both South sides sit on about 100% percentage, whereas you would want to see they putting sides away by a margin especially away from home which they'll have to do for the challenge finals.
Again well done to the Wizards on a great season & some very close loses could of easily went their way but they have another great chance this weekend.
Result: Warnbro 8 - 0
Prediction: Warnbro 7 - 1
Wanneroo 72 (0.5) v Quinns Rocks 84 (7.5)
Kingsley Toster 16 v Martin Hinchcliffe 18
Darren Turra 23 v Rohan Cantrill 23
Hugh Ward 16 v John Berecz 23
David Triffitt 17 v Christopher Parr 20
Massive congrats to Quinns!! They survive & stay in 1 White after pulling some big performances over the final few games & grabbing some big scalps to send a message for next year. What a time to put their away record into the closet as they pulled off their performance of the year to knockoff the Roo's. I'm sure there was many drinks had back at the clubhouse later.
The Roo's might now be calling the game a nothing game as they are still in the same position as if they would have won anyway but no one likes losing the week out from Finals. The Roo's seems to have lost that 2nd engine & are in free fall. Running 2 from 7 & 4 from 11 is no where near where they wanted to be at the end of the season. Thankfully they had a superb start & just fell over the line into 4th with the fast finishing Gosnells only 4pts behind in the end. I genuinely hope the Roo's can gather themselves during the week as they'll only now get 1 crack at promotions since they finished 4th so it's all or nothing. If they win the first game I think they can get through but I would hate to see them get nothing out of this season after the dramatic finish of last season when they also looked like they were the team to beat only to fall at the last hurdle. They'll be a dangerous outfit in Finals if they come with the right mindset.
Again well done to Quinns on bouncing back & showing up strong when things got rough. They'll take a lot from this season & will be a better side next year for it.
John Carter 19 v Dale Marsland 20
Mark Pasalich 21 v Louie Beurteaux 21
Fernando Di Giuseppe 12 v Scott Edmonds 24
George Smith 11 v Cameron Hoffman 16
Mosman Park needed at least 7.5pts & they just barely made it by a few classy bowls on the very last end in a thrilling finish to their season to grab the one & only free ticket to the big dance. What a season they have had. They had a rough start with 1 from 3, then had that horror mid-season blip around Xmas but bounced back in tremendous fashion with many of those wins against the top sides which says it all. The difference for Mosman Park against the rest was simply, they showed up & delivered on the big games, when it mattered. This is evident in the other sides not winning consistently which is reflected in the low totals across the top 4 & all top 4 sides only all won in the same Round twice ALL season, R2 & R4. To get promotion away from home grabbing 7.5pts is something they'll remember for a long time.
The Saints had a year to forget. The first half was just a horror show, which genuinely caught me by surprise because the year before they were just brilliant. Yes the lost a few going up to the PL side, who won the Minor Premiershiip (so congrats to them) but they just couldn't get any momentum until the 2nd half of the season when they put on some epic clinics showing some good sides how they can play. Unfortunately without that consistency in the playing group it was hard to settle the side down & this was evident in the Saints using the most players of any 1 White side this year.....they used 35 players across the season which is nearly cycling in a full 2nd side throughout the year. They have a good strong side so they'll be back next year.
Again congrats to the Mossies on finding a way back into the PL when nobody else could, they probably are the best all-round side in the division so credit to them. They will enjoy this weekend & will be there to play so all sides will need their A game.
Result: Mosman Park 7.5 - 0.5
Prediction: Mosman Park 6 - 2
Gosnells 87 (7.5) v Warwick 68 (0.5)
Frank Carbone 22 v Geoffrey Hinge 14
Trevor Close 19 v Lindsay Hill 14
Brett Holland 23 v Jon Borkowski 23
Grant Nicol 23 v Brian Ledingham 17
Tough year for both sides as both had very contrasting season's. The Kookaburra's started the season very well with 2 on the trot, slipped & then found some superb mid-season form as they found their legs & held their own on the back end as the pressure built. Warwick on the other hand had a horror start, found some mid-season form, dropped again but found form of the ages between R13 & R16 which got them out of certain relegation. They now have a chance of staying in 1 White but need to win 1 more game against some good 1 Blue North sides. On their day, the Magpies could easily take any side but it depends on what side shows up on the day.
Gosnells stayed up by putting some gusty wins on the board & having some strong rinks which picked up some valuable points when they lost. They have benefited from some tough games which will hold them in good stead next season. If they recruit another 1 or 2 players it might help but in the end they can also say they finished 5th & only 4pts off Finals which is pretty impressive for their 1st year in this Division.
The Magpies should have enough fire fire this weekend but they'll be pushed all the way, however I do favour them to stay up.