Bowls North Saturday Pennant Update
We now take a closer look at the Bowls North Saturday pennant competition, with this report being written by Courtney Hobbs prior to the last round of competition. The Northern Saturday Pennant competition is alive and well with a great range of clubs in finals contention this year. Clubs will be looking to finish in the top 2, securing a double chance heading into the finals campaign. Promotion and relegation is hard to put out of your mind as players head towards the end of the season and this may be detrimental to some clubs if they are unable to get some points on the board in the final few rounds.
The Premier Division is a competition of two halves this season with the top four all but secured, East Launceston, Longford, Trevallyn and North Launceston will be all but playing to determine the finishing order over the next four rounds. East will be looking to go back to back after a Northern Pennant in the previous season, they have looked solid throughout the season thus fur and the Christmas inclusion of Rob Panton only strengthening their twelve even more. A year of milestones for East Launceston with the club celebrating its Centenary year, while two club champions, Drew Berwick and Will Springer both reach 400 games for the club in the 2015/16 season. The other end of the ladder sees an even tighter contest with four clubs trying to avoid relegation. Westbury currently sit in tenth position on 56 points, with Launceston and Scottsdale only one point behind on 57. Beauty point is only 5 points further ahead on 62 and with tough games for all four clubs remaining it looks likely that relegation will not be clear until round 18 is completed.
A similar story in Division 1 with the top four all but confirmed, ladder position however is much more important. With promotion the goal for Bridport and Invermay, but with 2 teams in the four already Premier League clubs, the finals series could be the decider if either Trevallyn or North Launceston finish in first position. Invermay have been pushing for a Premier League berth over the last few seasons and narrowly missed out last year behind Westbury showing their potential in a strong finals campaign. If they are unable to finish in first position this year they have a harder task of winning the flag with experienced Australian Representative Bec Van Asch unavailable for the finals campaign due to international duties. The bottom half of the ladder is contested between Scottsdale and George Town who are battling it out to hold their Division 1 presence. Scottsdale is in contention for relegation in Premier, Division 1, Division 4 and Division 5. This could be a tough year for the club if they were to drop back in Premier or Division 4, as they will also push back their own sides in the divisions below.
In Division 2 West Launceston is a game clear on top of the ladder and looking to take their club to Division 1. Launceston bowls club is sitting at the bottom with Cosgrove Park not far behind. Both clubs have only managed one win for the season thus fur and will be looking to maximize rink wins over the next 3 games as every point can make a difference.
The top four in Division 3 is separated by only 13 points and is looking to be any ones game. Cressy look unlikely to push from fourth with the toughest run home out of the four, playing both Trevallyn and Longford, but could jump ahead with wins in either game. East Launceston and Deloraine are placed ninth and tenth respectively, both teams on 3 games for the year. East Launceston will have a tough match this coming Saturday against the top placed Longford at Longford while Deloraines toughest game should come in the final round for the season at Beauty Point.
Bridport have made the most of their home ground advantage in Division 4 this season, only dropping one rink at home, by 1 shot against George Town in round 12. With 2 home games remaining they will be confident of retaining top position come the end of Round 18. Division 4 sees Scottsdale once again in bottom position but not far ahead of them is North Launceston who are on 44 points.
St Helens have well and truly cemented their promotion to Division 4 next year with a commanding lead in the Division 5 competition. St Helens have won all but one of their games this year, with their only loss to Ravenswood in Round 2. The East Coast club is doing well despite losing a number of their promising juniors to the North Launceston Bowls Club this season. Trevallyn is only 10 points clear of Scottsdale in ninth position but with Scottsdale battling in a number of Divisions it would not be unlikely for the club to rally late and put on some much needed performances to save their club from relegation.
Division 6 has been a twelve team competition this year and much the same as the Thursday competition there is still a chance teams as low as eighth could fight it out for the four. Midlands, Longford, Exeter, and Westbury are currently the four but their competition will come from Bridport, Cosgrove Park, Launceston and George Town in the last three rounds.