There won’t be many rounds tighter than this – in the fourth round of the Newcastle Dodgeball League, not a single match was decided by more than one point.
The opening match of the round set the precedent, with a comeback stiffled in the very last point played, and one that left Raymond Terrace on the bottom of the ladder.
The match opened with Rutherford cruising, and their dominance was clear in the scoreline as they surged to a 7-0 lead at the half-time break.
The tie was far from over however, as a recovery from Raymond Terrace in the second half saw them clock 8 points of their own in what could have been a match-winning half in most fixtures.
It wasn't enough, however, as Rutherford claimed just two games to stretch the scoreline to 9-8 in their favour – stopping the Terrace side from recording the league’s biggest ever comeback.
The second fixture saw Waratah take two points and the sole place on top of the table, but it too came down the wire as Belmont made them fight for every point.
Although the 6-5 scoreline was due to strong performances from players on both sides, the match-up boiled down to who shone brighter for their team – Belmont’s Liam Janczuk or the ‘Tahs’ Jakub Lunarzewski.
In the end, Lunarzewski was able to apply more pressure, and Belmont couldn’t find their footing in the late stages of the game, even with the return of their captain Nic Price.
The final match of the round was an early season blockbluster – Hamilton and Cooks Hill have met three of the last four grand finals, with Hamilton taking the glories in all three deciders.
Momentum was with the Cookers in the regular season game however, as the 6-5 scoreline fell to the team searching for their first win in 2018.
Key performances from Thomas McCallum, Alexander McIntyre and Harry Gibson, as well as a 1-on-4 outplay from power forward Lachlan Craig, wasn’t enough for the defending premiers however, as Benjamin McIntyre and Lewis Foot controlled the tempo of the game.
The pivotal moment of the match came in the ninth and tenth rounds, as Cooks Hill secured the first back-to-back point wins of the match – up until that point the two teams had traded rounds.
Cooks Hills’ first win also moves them back into a finals position, and just two points behind their defeated rivals.
GF: Belmont edge out Hamilton in two-set grand final epic (16/11)
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)