Last round stand for bowls teams

By CORY DALEY

ALL four Mid North Coast grade one pennant bowls sides are still in with a chance of snaring the district flag ?heading into the final round tomorrow. In an exciting exciting penultimate round of matches last Saturday, Nambucca travelled to Park Beach where both side were desperate to stay in touch with leaders Sawtell. With the sides locked in a tussle for the majority of the match it was Rick Southam's Park Beach side who kept the Pirates in front. His first outing as skip for 2006 proved fruitful as the Pirates narrowly crept away from the Nambucca side over the last quarter of the match on the back of Southam's win over Graeme Purvis. Nambucca's Tony Urquhart and Geoff Beattie recorded valuable rink wins for the away team but could not make up the aggregate, with Park Beach claiming a narrow four to two success. This result had given Sawtell a chance to further tighten their grip on the flag but ran into a Coffs outfit that were on their last roll of the dice. Winning on all rinks, Coffs removed Sawtell from the top of the ladder and closed the gap on new leaders Park Beach, winning by a comfortable 33 shots overall. Written off as a title threat after the previous week's loss to Nambucca, Coffs are now only five points behind Park Beach and three and a half behind Sawtell. Nambucca is a further half point behind and although technically still able to claim the flag, their hopes appear only mathematical. They will host Sawtell in the final round on Saturday, determined to at least spoil the chances of their opposition, who are very much a chance of finishing in first with an away victory or they could drop to third if the results don't go their way. Traditional rivals Coffs and Park Beach will clash at Coffs, where only three rounds back the Pirates received a lesson from their cross town rivals. To claim the flag Coffs Ex-Services will need to repeat that performance with a 6-0 victory. Park Beach need to win at least 5-1 if they are to cover both Coffs Ex-Services and Sawtell to claim back to back titles while Sawtell needs to win and hope for an Ex-Services victory if they are to claim the honours. This event is in stark contrast to last season where the Pirates had the flag sewn up with three rounds to play and has put to rest early season concerns that this event may once again only be a one or two horse race.



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