Pakenham One (Div 1), sixth on the ladder, was home to Cranbourne One, the team which sat just one point above them in fifth for what appeared to be a very winnable game on Saturday.
Cranbourne was up and about and very vocal from the word go but after the first 20 ends it was Pakenham, with two up and one level, which held a three-shot advantage.
For the next 24 ends or so the game developed into a real arm wrestle and by the mid-way mark both sides had two up and two down but the Lions had marginally increased their lead to five shots.
However, with the exception of Nifty’s rink, the locals were outscored by the visitors from that point forward and with the final tally at 74 to 85, Pakenham eventually lost by 11 shots, although it did have two winning rinks.
The better of the Lions’ two successful rinks (on percentage only) was Geoff “Voota” Van Vugt (S), Chris “Foxy” Fox (3), Keith “Golden Arm” Archer (2) and Peter Bott (L) with the low score of 15 shots to 13.
Prior to the weekend, Mulgrave had been sitting in fourth spot with Cranbourne fifth, Pakenham sixth and Clayton seventh.
In an unexpected twist, both Mulgrave and Clayton were thrashed which allowed Cranbourne to leapfrog Mulgrave into fourth and Pakenham, despite the loss, to move up to fifth, three points clear of Mulgrave and four ahead of Clayton.
Pakenham faces a huge task, away, against ladder leaders Beaumaris in the final home and away game of season 2023/24 while Clayton will host Mulgrave.
Beaumaris demolished Berwick at Berwick last Saturday and will be up and about and very cocky and noisy on their home deck.
However, a win by the Lions is not out of the question…at the very least they must win two rinks.
Pakenham Two (Div 3) was away at Berwick, a side which they had comfortably beaten earlier in the season.
This game however, developed into a completely different contest.
Although each team had two up and two down after the completion of the first 20 ends, it was the Wickers who held a lead of eight shots at that stage.
By the half-way mark the home side was travelling well with three up and one all square and that lead had grown to 19 shots.
After the break, although there were marked swings within each rink, the overall situation did not change much at all and Berwick went on to record an 86 to 64 win with three up and one down.
Ironically, their winning margin of 22 shots was the same as their losing margin to Pakenham earlier in the season.
Pakenham’s best rink with 21 to 17 was Keith Lewis (S), Paul Currie (3), Des “Grizzly” Leigh (2) and Luis Aguilar (L).
As a result of the loss, the Twos dropped to the seventh rung of the ladder, 11 points behind Beaumaris; they are to play Beaumaris at home in a must win game in round 14.
Pakenham Three (Div 5) played host to Narre Warren Five.
The locals got away to a good steady start to establish a nine-shot lead with two up and two down after the first 20 ends.
However, with two rinks suffering melt downs in the period leading up to the break, that lead evaporated and the Lions commenced the second half of the contest 18 shots in arrears and three down.
From that point forward, although both Charles Harris’ and Peter Wilson’s rinks outscored their direct opponents, the other two continued to lose ground and with the final score at 75 to 101, the Lions went down by 26 shots with two up and two down.
The better of the two winning rinks with 26 to 16 was Charles Harris (S), Ken Clifton (3), Ray Leggett (2) and Trent “Rowdy” Bedford (L).
The Threes have dropped to third position, now one point behind Burden Park and according to the posted ladder.
They are 17 points clear of Narre Warren (it appears that the Panthers were stripped of the 16 points they collected in round 12).
They will be away to top-of-the-ladder Mulgrave Country Club for the final round while Burden Park will be away to Berwick, sixth.
At this late stage of the season, the Threes cannot drop out of the four and it is still possible for them to regain second spot and thus earn a home final.
Pakenham Four (Div 7) had a narrow, away win against Narre Warren Six.
They started well in that game and after the first 20 ends had three up and a lead of 18 shots to 12.
However, by the half way point of the match, although they still had their noses in front on three of the four rinks, they had relinquished the lead by four shots.
After the break, the Lions came out with renewed energy and immediately began to post some winners and by the commencement of the business ends had regained the lead by seven shots.
The Panthers came back hard in the home straight but eventually fell short by just two shots.
Pakenham had two winning rinks.
The better of those with 29 shots to 13 was John Tarr (S), Wendy Pownall (3), Julian Colmegna (2) and Brenda Moloney (L).
They are still in fourth position; two points clear of Cranbourne RSL who are in the winners’ circle again but they cannot make second position to qualify for a home final.
Their round 14 opponent will be bottom of the ladder, Mulgrave Country Club Seven, at home.
Last Tuesday’s results were considerably better than those returned by the Weekend sides.
Pakenham One (Div. 1) was away against Berwick One.
As would have been expected of the clash between second and third teams on the ladder, this was a close contest all day.
Pakenham grabbed the early lead to have two rinks up and a 13 to 10 lead after the first 15 ends.
However, by the half-way mark, Berwick had turned the tables and with two rinks in front, they, in turn, held a three-shot lead.
After the break, the Lions pushed back hard and by the start of the business ends had regained the lead by a single shot, although they only had one rink up at that stage.
Pakenham’s players maintained the pressure in the run home to finish with two rinks up and a slender winning margin of five shots.
Best rink with 20 shots to 15 was Neil “Big Dev” Devlin (S), Ned Courtin (3), Keith Lewis (2) and Kerry Lewis (L).
The Ones are still second on the ladder, now 20 points behind Clayton and 21 points clear of Berwick.
They will be away at Keysborough (fourth) next round.
The battle between Pakenham Two (Div 3), top of the ladder, and Cranbourne Two, third, was also expected to be close – however it turned out to be anything but.
The Lions sprinted out of the blocks and by the completion of the first 15 ends had a 22 to seven lead and were in front on all three rinks.
By the half-way mark the lead had blown out to 56 shots to 16 with the locals running rampant.
At the commencement of the run home the Lions’ score was still more than three times that of their opponents’ and there was a slight easing of the pressure over the home straight; however, with three rinks up and a final score of 98 to 36 Pakenham scored a crushing win.
Best rink with an outstanding 30 shots up was Paul Currie (S), Vince Bevilacqua (3), Ken Clifton (2) and Helen Wright (L).
The Twos hold top spot on the ladder, 15 points clear of Cardinia Waters and 49 in front of Cranbourne.
They cannot finish the season worse than second and will earn a home final.
Their next opponent will be Berwick Three (eighth) at home.
Pakenham Three (Div 5), top of the ladder, was home to Narre Warren Four, second, for a clash which really did live up to expectations.
The visitors got the jump on the Lions early in the game and by the completion of the first 15 ends had established a lead of 19 shots to nine with two rinks up, while at that stage one of Pakenham’s rinks was yet to score.
Over the next quarter of the game the locals made some inroads into that scoreline and by the half-way mark had two rinks up and trailed by just five shots overall.
By the start of the run home little had changed – the Lions still had two rinks in front but overall were six shots in arrears.
Further progress was made over the last 15 ends but it was too little too late and Pakenham lost a close tussle by three shots.
With finals on the horizon, it was disappointing to lose a close match at home.
The better of the two winning rinks with 27 to 16 was Allister Stewart (S), Ash Graham (3), Lindsay Stevenson (2) and Karen Oosthuizen (L).
The Threes have retained top spot, now 25 points clear of Narre Warren.
As is the case with the Twos, they cannot finish the season in worse than second place and will earn a home final.
Their next match is at home against Mulgrave Six (sixth).
The winner for the penultimate round of the season was Peter Bott with number seven.