The race for second place – and the first round finals bye – is set to come down to the wire after both Belmont and Waratah secured much-needed victories in the second last regular round.
Waratah’s win over fellow championship-hopefuls Cooks Hill was a necessary win for the team that had led the ladder for much of the first half of the season, as they had coughed up just two wins in their past five matches.
Heading into the half time break the game still looked like anyone’s game, with the Cookers trailing by just one set, 4 to 3.
Sustained pressure in the second half, something the ‘Tahs have been lacking in recent rounds, guaranteed last year’s runners-up the win, and knocked Cooks Hill back into a guaranteed fourth placed finish – they will face either Rutherford or Raymond Terrace in the first week of the finals.
Earlier at Oakdale Arena, Belmont made sure they kept within two points of a second place finish with a 9-4 win over Rutherford. The 5-set victory also marks a month undefeated for the finals hopefuls as they gun for a first semi-final appearance since their founding.
Also in round fourteen, Hamilton held fast to down Raymond Terrace 6-5 and secure the biggest point tally by a table-topping team since Warners Bay’s historic undefeated run to first place in season four.
The Terrace put up a valiant effort however, with Hamilton’s two late set-wins giving them the four-points, and potential league most valuable player for season ten was identified as a key catalyst in the near-win.
TABLE: Hamilton (46), Waratah (36), Belmont (34), Cooks Hill (26), Raymond Terrace (14), Rutherford (12).