And so begins finals type bowls, where everyone jostles for position whether for finals or to stay off demotion. With all breaks and holidays out of the way, so begins the serious side of matters. From Round 16 to 18 we have an intense upcoming 15 days covering all 3 rounds so it will move quickly.
With Basso clearly ahead I'm happy to let the top spot go their way as they have a Swan/Rossmoyne2/Kalamunda finish with 2 of them at home. However playoff spots have heated up somewhat for that coveted playoff spots in 2nd and 3rd place. Correct me if I am wrong but I believe finals format covers the following;

- 1st goes straight through to 1 White. Basso then play Cockburn for the 1 Blue flag bragging rights;
- 2nd and 3rd only, of each 1 Blue South and North play each other;
- the winner of each plays a 'playoff' game plays 7th and 8th in 1 White with the winner then residing in 1 White;
- No Finals for 4th or 5th place in 1 Blue North.

Reviewing the table to align with the above format really only indicates 3 teams are within the play-offs conversation and that could easily be 2 teams subject to the Mundaring game. If Yokine lose to the Red Tails this weekend then it is very difficult to see them catching South Perth or Doubleview but yet they play both teams in R17 and R18 so if they beat both of them, then they absolutely deserve a spot for playoffs. The good thing for Yokine is it's now 100% in their own hands.
This week could also see the possibility of the skippers ladder getting closed out as all top 6 skippers have the potential of some very tough games so hard to see them all getting wins with a good chance that some of them could actually play each other which would be a treat.

J Krstic, A Cacciopolli, W Davidson, N Kirkup
R Revell, P Madigan, G Stokes, D Snelgar
E O'Sullivan, B Dinnison, B Maynard, T Alden
M Erceg, P Hutchinson, J Morss, J Holman
INS: J Morss
OUTS: T Lynch

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If this game was earlier in the season I would be bullish on Swans as they won the corresponding fixture in R7 by a comfortable 16 shot margin. However, just like last weekend much of that heavy lifting was done by Park where he took Madigan apart by 24 shots. The rest of the games were relatively close.
Even if Swan come out swinging it is somewhat difficult to see them handling the 18 sec greens considering they have played a lot of their home games on their slow back surface. Southern and Park need to keep up the form for Swans to have a chance and if Natalotto and Tibbles can play to a level that matches their potential then Swan are a strong team that would worry any top side.
With only 4pts last week Basso will have to delay their mathematical celebrations to R17 as Doubleview play South Perth so the winner of that game could still 'possibly' catch Basso from a pure numbers perspective. Basso will be eager to get the momentum going after last weeks break so they can get some form coming into their crack for a pennant flag.
Bassendean 7 -1


W Manning, G Allen, J Van Der Werdt, M Bolton
G Jones, D Hughes, D Phillips, W Sherrington
A Byres, P Easom, P McShane, A Ness
S Buckley, T Leahy, T Bellos, B Mason
INS: W Sherrington, A Byres
OUTS: E Henning, D Sladen

A Herbert, L Souster, P Lees, B Arendts
G Beacroft, B O'Brien, G Bateup, P Voon
R Vind, S Bartlett, N Blyth, C Youdell
K Edson, P Sadler, D Horniman, L Brown
INS: P Lees
OUTS: P White

It is hard to imagine what is going through the Knights heads this week as they prepare for what is the biggest game of the year for them against the bottom side. They have the Cougars away next week and then the Roos at home but they do not want to be chasing more than 4pts come that last game. Eitherway they are aware that of 2 scenarios, automatic relegation or chance of relegation playoff. The playoff will be their obvious preference and if they can get there, they can survive with the talent in that side (although we have said that for most of the season and yet here we are again). The Knights have being gifted a dream run home playing Rossmoyne2/Kalamunda/Wanneroo, so they have a luxury amount of chances against lower half sides to achieve this.
Conversely the River Rats have nothing to play for and that freedom has allowed them to spread their wings in a relaxed environment knowing they can not change much about relegation. Yes they could stay up with the 'miracle run' but that is very unlikely with Basso and Mundaring left to play. In saying that, the River Rats have taken 22pts over 6 games since R10, which is a lot more that most teams and what's more surprising is that if you average that over a season (18 games) that 66pts for the season which is exactly double their current points. If they continue to bring that confidence they will be right handful for Cambridge. Getting a big score here could keep the dream alive of finishing 8th and having a 2nd chance to stay up.
Cambridge 6 - 2


G Herriot, J Bessant, B Pearce, M Fredericks
G Nelson,     S Whitfield, W Malloy, F Williamson
W Langdon, C McKenna, S Curtis,     R Castledine
E Johnson, K Cornell, G Papadopoulos, B Leed
INS: W Malloy
OUTS: A Wetzler

B Roelefs, E Munnelly, J Percival, B Owen
M McRae, D Mortley,     W Skuza, P Keeffe
M Petrich, S Kelly, D Calvo, S Frosh
D Bandy, G Reagan, R Negus, P Holmes
INS: D Mortley, S Kelly
OUTS: L Moretti, V Santostefano

Easily game of the Round with 2nd playing 3rd for the playoff bragging rights in a few weeks. Two high scoring teams with ample amount of fire power across all 8 rinks, with top skippers to add to the mix. This game should be an absolute dinger and I would not mind having a chair and beer rink side for this game. I think this game will go down to match-ups on the day as both teams are very similar in structure in both front and back ends.
The View have Herriot where South Perth have Roelofs and for the big scorers, The View have Nelson back from PL and South Perth have McRae with his Senior State title and club honours. Bandy is back firing on all cylinders and Langdon and Johnson are putting together some solid results. This game should have it all.
For South Perth to get this one they probably need a Roelofs v Herriot or Nelson matchup. Roelofs defense is normally very solid and the chance of big numbers from the View seem to stem from those two rinks. Wouldn't it be a pleasure to see a Roelofs v Herriot matchup to see who takes top skippers spot.....I could go on with the front ends as I'm quite keen on what both sides have achieved this year but I will leave that to the Review.
The View are probably travelling that little better at the moment and that home form is scintillating.
Doubleview 6 - 2


L Pickles       ,    C Reynolds    , P Van Der Reese  , R Coumbe        
R Cox, N Marsh, M Dayman, D Gavin
G Bear, K Warne      , M Hagdorn, M Critchell
J Lynch       , M Cousins,     J Doncon        , P Rhodes
INS: No change

W Coffee, T Fulcher, M Sharp, F Faigenbaum
W Morrison, P Hunter, J Bills, G Robertson
T Kay, M Lemos, J McGrath, B McGrechan
T McGillvray, J West, T Needs, J Kaplan
INS: did not play last week

The Doggies might just need another rain dance this week to get some points off the in-form Red Tails. The feeling is Mundaring are brewing nicely over the 2nd half and were a lot closer than the score suggested last week at South Perth. They have lost 2 in a row now but those 2 games were tough games on the road against both 2nd and 3rd, so not a lot to reflect on and they took some nice positives from some rinks. However, last weeks conversation of playing finals has suddenly turned into making sure they do not get dragged into that 7th spot from 5th. They are only 6.5pts off 7th so they need to knock home 2 of their last 3 games to ensure that conversation is a short lived one.
On paper Yokine are travelling better with only losing 1 from the last 5 and this shows with them sitting pretty in 4th spot and 7.5pts ahead of Mundaring. You would have to think that the 7.5pt margin is exactly what Mundaring are gunning for this weekend and I don't think they will be far away.
If Pickles or Bear, probably preference is for Pickles due to his ability to consistently cut numbers down, can draw McGillivray then I think Mundaring can control the other rinks to their liking. This really is a game for Kay/Morrison/Coffee to pull a magic performance from the hat as there will be too much focus on Trevor. Tough encounter but the Red Tails are quiet battle hardened over the last month so I'm going to swing over their side for this one.
Mundaring 7 - 1


S Denny, B McMonagle, S Binnie, J Tailor
D Anderson, K Toster, E Widermanski, J Weir
M Nievelstein, C Tee, M Brown, D Hampton
C Buccholz, G Sarich, J Miller, B Anderson
INS: M Nievelstein
OUTS: R Burns

A Bartlett, W Olive,   B Farrant,     M Thomas
D Wooltorton, R Cooper, H Clifford,     P Townsend
S Gosstray,      I Cornthwaite,      G McDonald, P Young
    P Coyle, V Orchard, V Hughes, M Clancy
INS: M Clancy
OUTS: R Chalmers

Other than that R18 clash, I do not think Wanneroo will have a bigger game all year than this one, it is literally their season on the line. If the Roo's pull a big Agg here it will evidently bring Swan back into the demotion playoff conversation. Of the 3 games Kalamunda have left, 2 of them are away and one of those is against Basso, so this is also a big chance to maximise points on offer. If Kalamunda can tighten up those loose rinks, then the likes of Gosstray & Bartlett can give them plenty of forward looking chances. The greens are probably not running super fast up there at the moment so that medium speed will be fine for the Cougars.
Tough Round here as both teams will want the win desperately. From rinks wins and percentages Kalamunda are well ahead but yet less than 10pts separates them which tells the frustrating story of Kalamunda season. If Wanneroo can pull back their very strong home record from the first half of the season they will have a chance here but they need to really start firing across all 4 rinks to trouble the Cougars.
Kalamunda 6 - 2