Belmont have retained their hold on third place, and the top seeded quarter-final position, after downing Rutherford 8-4 in the opening fixture of the round.
Rutherford may have landed on the wrong side of the 4-point defeat, but the return of Gordon Murray was a welcome boost for the team hunting for finals dodgeball in their first season in the league.
Belmont’s Nic Price was the catalyst as the third placed side also looked to solidify their position in the finals, and the victory levels them with their best finish since their entry to the competition.
Later, Hamilton nearly stumbled in their title defence as Raymond Terrace took them to a deciding 11th round, with the scores tied at 5-all at the last.
Hamilton refused to drop points however, having come back from a 3 to 5 deficit, and closed out the final contest to claim four points and move into the top spot by just two points, awaiting the result of the Cooks Hill against Waratah match.
The win also marked Hamilton’s 100th club match in the Newcastle Dodgeball League, a record only bettered by Raymond Terrace and Waratah, although the defending champions’ 60% win ratio is the best of the founding clubs.
The ‘Tahs came up against Cooks Hill as the last match-up of the round, and the table-topping fixture didn’t disappoint.
Recent weeks have seen the Cookers claim their wins off the back of individual brilliance, but after the defeat to Hamilton last week the squad had clearly focused on dynamics for their return.
They bounced back with the 6-5 result in their favour, dropping Waratah into second place on the table despite Jakub Lunarzewski’s stand-out efforts for the defeated side.
Controversy also came late in the match, after two back-to-back foul plays called against Waratah left them struggling in the eleventh, and deciding, round.
The win moves Cooks Hill just six points away from the top of the table, and four points off the ‘Tahs in second place, with the back-end of the tenth season of the league promising to be a close affair right to the last whistle.
FINALS: Hamilton and Belmont set up grand final rematch (9/11)
RD14: Waratah down Belmont in heated one-set thriller (2/11)
RD13: Shortland oust Hamilton from first with one to go (26/10)
RD12: Belmont upset Hamilton to blow first place race open (19/10)
RD11: Shortland take second after thriller against Belmont (12/10/18)
RD10: Waratah tumble into fourth place after slow start (5/10/18)
RD9: Top four teams hold off finals-hopefuls (28/09/18)
RD8: Hamilton claim first as league celebrates Ladies Day (21/09/18)
RD7: Shortland and Kotara clash goes down to the wire (14/09/18)
RD6: Waratah keep close on Hamilton's heels (07/09/18)
RD5: Hamilton prevail in grand final rematch (30/08/18)
RD4: Belmont tumble into ladder mix with defeat (24/08/18)
RD3: Waratah cuts Shortland's undefeated streak short (17/08/18)
RD2: Shortland break Terrace to continue strong start (10/08/18)
RD1: Waratah open account against long-standing rivals (03/08/18)
PRESEASON: Season 11's draw & key fixtures revealed (19/07/18)
PRESEASON: Registrations now open for NDL Season 11. (13/07/18)
GF: Hamilton extend dynasty with fifth championship (06/07/18)
SF: Belmont punch ticket to season decider with comeback (29/06/18)
QF: Raymond Terrace scores maiden finals victory (22/06/18)
RD15: Waratah confirm second place, first week bye (15/06/18)
RD14: Waratah steady the ship with key three-set win (08/06/18)
RD13: Belmont ensures the Waratah slide continues (01/06/18)
RD12: Cooks Hill and Belmont remain level with draw (25/05/18)
RD11: Waratah lose sight of first place after defeat (18/05/18)
RD10: Raymond Terrace shock Cookers in sudden death (11/05/18)
RD9: Cookers drop 'Tahs to second with 6-5 slug-fest (04/05/18)
RD8: Hamilton take revenge in Battle of Oakdale (27/04/18)
RD7: Bailey best on field as 'Tahs in cruise-control (20/04/18)
RD6: Waratah break three-year hoodoo over old rivals (13/04/18)
RD5: Hamilton reclaim first place with 13-0 masterclass (06/04/18)
RD4: League's closest round sees 'Tahs take top spot (23/03/18)
RD3: Cooks Hill record first point with 5-5 draw (16/03/18)
RD2: Sudden-death deciders see Hamilton pip Belmont (09/03/18)
RD1: Waratah-Hamilton classic ends in 6-all draw (02/03/18)