Steady control in the late-game, a trademark style for Waratah in the past handful of seasons, was more than enough to stem Shortland’s early win-streak in the Newcastle Dodgeball League, with the Cobras confirming the 9-5 victory in the final three sets.
The clash was neck-and-neck until the final shift in momentum however, with Shortland leading by a single set at the half break, a lead they kept until the final trio of sets.
From there, Waratah’s calm and paced command of the game won out, with the Scotchies’ throwing away a five players to two advantage in the eleventh set as they trailed for the first time in the game – and for the first time since their entrance to the league.
It was a vital win for the Cobras as they move back into the top four with the three collected points, but the main benefactors of the third round victory will be Belmont – the Beavers move into undisputed top spot with their undefeated 3-0 record.
The Season 10 grand finalists have made their statement in the opening weeks of the tournament, collecting a hat-trick of 10-4 victories including their latest against Kotara on Thursday evening.
Despite disappointment in last season’s big dance, the Beavers will be happy with their response in the opening weeks of the new season – now two weeks of facing Shortland and Hamilton in succession will prove if they’re the real deal for the league’s eleventh season.
Also at Oakdale Arena, Hamilton moved into second place with their second win in as many weeks, knocking off Raymond Terrace 11-4 as mid-season recruits Benjamin McIntyre and Tiffany Thomson combined well with the rest of the defending champions.
Also on Thursday evening, Bar Beach and Cooks Hill played out an 18-set thriller, with the Cookers emerging 10-8 victors in the rapid-fire contest to leave the Boomers in eighth place.
TABLE: Belmont (9), Hamilton, Shortland, Waratah (7), Raymond Terrace, Kotara, Cooks Hill (5), Bar Beach (3).