Finals seeding for the tenth season play-offs are beginning to become clear, but a battle for second place – and the only other first week finals bye – could come down to the wire after results on Thursday evening.
Belmont have proven they are a force to be reckoned with, a strong turn around after their last three seasons coughed up two wooden spoon finishes and zero finals appearances, and that form continued with an 8-2 dismantling of Waratah.
It was a tough slog for the defeated team, collecting just one set point in each of the halves, while Belmont continued their scintillating form off the back of a strong performance from captain Nic Price to score 4 set points in each half.
Unless the ‘Tahs can turn their season around off the back of their two wins in the past six rounds, second place may slip through their fingers – a disappointing end for the championship-hopefuls after leading the competition for the opening seven rounds.
Earlier, Hamilton secured their fifth top-seed finish in as many seasons with an 8-5 victory over Cooks Hill.
The 3-point win guarantees the defending champions will not only have a rest in the first week of finals, but will likely face a lower-seeded opponent – a strong position to be in as the club looks to claim a record fifth title in the Newcastle Dodgeball League.
Finally, Raymond Terrace leapfrogged Rutherford in the standings after coming out victorious in the Northern Derby, although a top four finish is now out of the question for either of the clubs.
The Terrace’s rapid-fire victory – 9-6 in the end – came off the back of their resurgent form in the later half of the season, initially sparked by their shocking 14-3 outing against Rutherford just five weeks ago.
Since their 11-point loss in the derby, they have scored 10 points in their last five games, and were only defeated by one and three sets in matches against the top two sides – the Terrace may be entering the finals as a lower seed in the quarter-finals, but they won’t be an easy target for whoever draws them in eliminations.
TABLE: Hamilton (42), Waratah (32), Belmont (30), Cooks Hill (26), Raymond Terrace (14), Rutherford (12).