Lions Claw their way into Top 5 as Magic Drop to Eighth | Platinum Wrap

by Billy Johnson

Rounds 8 & 9 of the Platinum Pennant brought about some interesting changes in the competition ladder, with eight teams all still in the hunt for the finals as we head towards the final weekend of the regular season. Just 9 points separate 5th and 8th position on the ladder, and with 20 points still up for grabs over the last two rounds, the Top 5 is anything but confirmed.

The Cabramatta Bullants continue their march towards the Minor Premiership after beating Raymond Terrace and East Maitland. Their top of the table clash against the Jets was a thriller coming down to the final ends, with the Bullants winning by the finest of margins 56 – 55 (9 pts – 1pt). With both teams guaranteed to feature in the Finals Weekend, their Round 8 match was the perfect preview to what will be on display at Warillla Bowling & Recreation Club from 17 – 19 May.

The Jets were able to rebound from their loss to Cabramatta by beating Taren Point 59 – 53 (9pts – 1pt), maintaining second spot on the ladder in the process. Raymond Terrace didn’t have it all their own way against the Point who led for a large portion of the match, but a run of 10 shots over the final four ends on Matt Baus’ rink helped push Raymond Terrace ahead and maintain that lead.

Warilla have also secured their spot in the finals, and an all-important home ground advantage, with their two wins over the weekend. In particular, they’ll take some confidence from their 58 – 52 win over fellow heavyweights St Johns Park, a solitary rink win from Aaron Teys 23 – 14 over David Ferguson enough to earn the Gorillas the overall win. The loss to Warilla put St Johns Park in a slightly precarious position for their Round 9 clash against Mount Lewis, knowing that back-to-back losses could spell disaster for the Saints’ finals campaign. That doubt was quickly put to bed however as the Saints tore through the Lions, winning all three rinks en route to a 75 – 44 victory.

The Lions are still in the Top 5 courtesy of their own emphatic win against the Merrylands Magic claiming a full 10 points and keeping the Magic restricted to 33 shots – the lowest total score of any team in the Platinum Pennant to date. Merrylands’ finals hopes were dealt another blow when they fell to Wenty Leagues 47 – 59 in Round 9, dropping out of the Top 5 and into 8th position on the ladder.

The run home for teams looking to make it into the Top 5

Jumping the Magic into 6th and 7th spots respectively are the Engadine Cougars and the East Maitland Griffins, who are both within touching distance of the Top 5 and a finals appearance. The Griffins in particular have been steadily improving throughout the competition, trouncing the Cougars 73 – 43 (10pts – 0pts) before falling to the ladder leading Bullants 58 – 50 (9pts – 1pt). Not many would have predicted the Griffins to feature in the Top 5 at the start of the year, but their destiny is in their own hands this coming weekend when they take on Taren Point and St Johns Park on the live stream.

Taren Point, Belrose and Wenty Leagues each enjoyed one win from their two matches over the weekend, but are now out of contention for finals, their main goal for the coming weekend to make life as hard as possible for those teams trying to qualify for the Top 5. For Carlingford, they’ll be looking for a second win of the season to stop a run of 8 consecutive losses. For the vast majority of their clashes the Koalas have been in contention for most of the match but unable to get over the line at the death.

With a frantic final two rounds on the horizon this coming weekend as teams look to secure their spot in the Top 5 and the inaugural Platinum Pennant Finals weekend, we can’t wait to watch all the action unfold!

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