Albion Park and Corrimal scored vital wins in their push for the Southern Conference playoffs as the pennant competition in all seven grades takes a break for Easter.
The post-season in the top-grade comp has been restructured in 2019 with the minor premiers now handed an automatic spot in the State Pennant Finals in August, while teams finishing second to fifth meet in a round robin playoffs in May for the other State Finals spot.
With three more weeks of pennants remaining, beginning on April 27 the battle for the minor premiership and top five is wide open. In last Saturday's round, Corrimal leapfrogged fellow playoff contenders Towradgi into fifth spot with a crucial 59-50 (9-1) home win over Towradgi.
Corrrmal's Pete Bonsor enjoyed a victory over his former club by beating Rod Busst 21-12, winning 14 ends to seven, which set up the victory for the hosts.
Col Cheadle edged out David Wakeling 18-17, while it was just as tight in the third rink with Anthony Jones ensuring Corrimal claimed a point with a 21-20 win over Geoff Hancox.
Corrimal have three more matches to complete the season, while it may be a significant loss for Towradgi, who have only two games left in their regular season.
Albion Park also posted a vital win by thrashing Kiama 85-38 (10-0) at home. It was one-way traffic for the Park, with Brett Pieper moving back to third and Aaron Spears skipping their rink to a 23-14 victory over Steve Wills.
Corey Thompson and partners beat Russell Campbell 36-11 and while it was only 12-9 in favour of Thompson in ends won, they made the most of their winning ends to seal the overall points for the home side. Peter Thelan and partners wrapped up the 10 points for the Park with a 26-13 win over Dean Aitken.
Albion Park are just 1.5 points behind Corrimal with three games to play.
Kiama are the Jekyll and Hyde side of the competition having beaten Warilla the previous week, but they have played just five matches and can still make a run for fifth spot.
In other games, Merimbula ensured an exciting battle with reigning Conference champions Warilla and Dapto Citizens for the minor premiership and automatic State Finals spot, after a big home win over struggling Oak Flats 89-52 (10-0).
Ryan Bester had a 29-18 rink win over Paul Woods, though Oak Flats won 11 ends to 10.
Jay Breust and partners beat Mal Pearson 26-14 while Kevin Anderson defeated Gregg Stevens 34-20.
It means Merimbula (67.5 points) extended their lead with just one more game remaining (at home to Warilla), plus have played one more game than Dapto Citizens (58 pts) and two more than the Gorillas (56.5). Finally, Figgy Bowlo won all three rinks at home to Woonona in a 66-53 (10-0) victory.
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