LAST week, Tongala’s division one bowls team lost by 15 shots away at Campaspe Valley leaders Moama.
Pushed back to fifth on the ladder, club management considered fourth spot to still be a pass mark.
Back on their home turf on Saturday, the younger, new-look Blues dished out their own 27-shot win against Rich River — sitting in the coveted fourth place before the contest — and reached their hands back into the semi-final basket.
With just four rounds to go Tongala’s hosting of City of Echuca (third, 9-4) could be its chance to hold onto that precious fourth spot.
Last Saturday also saw top side Moama (9-4) involved in arguably the upset of the season — losing 72-70 to last-placed Deniliquin RSL, giving the RSL side their first win of the summer.
Mathoura could be the biggest beneficiaries of the current top-three logjam.
Second, but with a 40-shot for-against deficit to overcome against both Moama and City, the Timbercutters can stake a claim for the season lead if they topple Moama at home in what could be dubbed the Cobb Highway Derby.
Thus Moama has taken its place in its own little intriguing triangular tournament to close out the season — on Saturday at Mathoura and the final match of the fixture, also away at City.
But Moama’s Barry Brennan was less worried about whether Moama finished first or second overall.
‘‘You just have to win the games that’ll keep you in that spot,’’ he said.
Deniliquin RSL would also be feeling an added buzz of confidence as it welcomes cross-town rivals Deniliquin (sixth, 5-8).
Rounding out round 14 will be Rich River (fifth, 7-6) hosting Rochester (seventh, 5-8).
While the ladies’ competition generally went to form last week, could Friday be lowly-ranked Lockington’s (sixth, 1-12) last chance for a second win of the season when it hosts City Of Echuca (fourth, 5-8)?
Their final preliminary match for the summer will be at league leaders Moama.
Moama (first, 12-1) will head up to Rich River (fifth, 6-7) while Deniliquin (second, 8-5) welcome Rochester (third, 7-6).
If Rochester wins by a big enough margin, it could snatch second spot and the double chance semi-final from Deniliquin with two rounds left before the business end of the season.
Mathoura Bowls Club
Tomorrow’s weekend pennant teams
Division one v Moama (home): T. Mansbridge (s), M. Lewis, R. Ireland, A. Murphy; R. Werner (s), C. Roberts, L. Vallance, K. Crack; M. Humphries (s), L. Bates, A. Hulm, I Hunter.
Division two v Moama (away): R. Murphy (s), L. Whelan, K. Connolly, P. Kearney; S. O’Callagan (s), B. Murray, S. Dinan, A. Jackson; J. Hulm (s), L. Hayes, S. Limbrick, B. Ireland. Bus leaves 12.15pm.
Division four v Moama (away): D. Murray (s), G. Hulm, B. Vesty P. Clear; A. Prime (s), P. Limbrick, G. Lumsden, P. Thorpe; D. Berryman (s), B. McMillan, J. Dean, C. Phippen.
Emergencies: E. Egerton.