Newcomers New Lambton claim first points with Hamilton upset, while Raymond Terrace claim second win of the season
New Lambton have claimed their first competitive points of the season with a 6-5 win over Hamilton on Thursday evening in the final match of the round.
The new team had yet to score a win in 2019, including falling to fellow newcomers Jesmond just last weekend in an edgy 7-6 battle. Now, they've punched their ticket to the winner's circle with a one-set win over the Stags, and set the race for second place into a spiral that may not be resolved until seasons end.
The Lions matched Hamilton set for set early on, with the sides locked at 3-apiece at half time, before two 5-3 advantage rounds went against the Stags. The loss of control sent them slipping in the final sets, as they grabbed just two in the second half to chalk up their fourth loss of what has already been a mixed season for the defending champions.
The result has significance for a raft of other teams battling it out for second place behind . While the Scotchies claimed their ten win in a row to keep their undefeated run in the Newcastle Dodgeball League alive, they dropped Belmont for the second time this season in another 6-5 match. The loss leaves the Beavers on just 23 points, but ahead of the Stags after Hamilton's loss keeps them on 22 and in third.
Behind the second and third placed sides are Waratah and Kotara, who couldn't make up the gap between their table rivals as they battled to a 6-all standstill in the opening game of the evening. With the affair all level at 5-5 heading into the last two sets, the 'Tahs took the lead before the Kings bagged a sudden death deciding victory in the twelfth and final set of the contest.
Also on Thursday evening, Bar Beach moved to 16 points in sixth with a 8-7 win over Jesmond, while Raymond Terrace recorded the only victory of the round that was decided by more than set. The Raccoons defeated Glendale 0-3 to move into seventh place.
STANDINGS: Shortland (30), Belmont (23), Hamilton (22), Waratah (20), Kotara (19), Bar Beach (16), Raymond Terrace (14), Jesmond, Glendale, New Lambton (12).
Sparks flew in one of the biggest matches of the Newcastle Dodgeball League's twelfth season thus far, as Shortland and Belmont locked horns for the top spot six weeks in to their campaigns.
The Beavers, who are currently looking to defend their first title in the competition, had tasted defeat just once in 2019 coming into the lofty clash, after being knocked over by Season 11 runners-up Hamilton in the third week.
The Scotchies have had a stronger start to S12, as they look to bounce back from disappointment in the postseason after finishing as first placed premiers with a 12-2 record last year. In the end, it was Shortland that kept their streak alive, pipping Belmont to the victory with a 9-5 win to make it six in a row.
It was a tight clash for both sides however, as two of the premier teams in the NDL left everything on the court. Tempers looked to turn from sparks to fire as the second half crept on, but Shortland were able to keep control of the match late to stretch a one-set margin halfway through the contest to the game-ending four sets, securing the three points for the league leaders.
Also on Thursday afternoon, Hamilton continued their climb up the ladder with a close 9-6 win over Bar Beach. The win doesn't move the Stags in the standings yet, but after a 1-3 start to the season the veteran team sit just two points adrift from the three-way tie for second place on the ladder.
Waratah and Kotara both drew level with Belmont after the champions' defeat at the hands of the Scotchies, with the Cobras downing Glendale 10-5, while the Kings notched the same scoreline against Raymond Terrace.
Interestingly, Waratah and Kotara are neck-and-neck in the race for the finals early on, and kept their exact record from Round 5 heading into the next week. With their five-set wins, both the Cobras and the Kings now sit at 4-2 in the standings, with both boasting a point difference of +14. The only thing separating the two teams thus far in 2019 has been the head-to-head record of the sides, after the 'Tahs defeated Kotara 7-5 in Round 4.
STANDINGS: Shortland (18), Belmont, Waratah, Kotara (14), Hamilton (12), Bar Beach (10), Raymond Terrace (8), Glendale (6).
Four weeks into Season 12 of the Newcastle Dodgeball League, and just one team remains undefeated - defending minor premiers Shortland.
After two strong victories over Glendale and Bar Beach to open their season, the Scotchies nearly slipped against Waratah last week in an edgy 7-6. This week, Hamilton proved less of a speed-bump as the team looks to return to the top spot and take another shot at the playoffs.
Shortland recorded a 9-4 win over the former champions, with the Stags struggling to string points together in the early battles of the second half. Despite a tight start that saw the Stags and the eventual winners trade sets in the opening four, Hamilton would manage just two more point-wins in the following nine, slipping to the five-point loss to send them spiralling to a 1-3 record in seventh place.
The other grand final team from Season 11, Belmont, had a better run of it on Thursday evening as they downed Glendale 15-1 to return to second place over the defeated Kotara.
The Kings fell to their first loss of the season against a resurgent Waratah, who themselves were starring down the barrel of three straight losses after knocking off arch-rivals Hamilton in the opening round. The Cobras were able to clinch a 7-5 win off the back of a flurry of set-point wins late in the contest however, after the teams were locked at 4-4 before a two and a half minute sudden death round - the longest ever recorded in the NDL's 350+ official matches.
Finally, another record was broken in Round 4 of the season, as Bar Beach and Raymond Terrace played out a lightning-quick 21-set contest that saw the Boomers move ahead 11-10 to bag their second win of the season. The match cleared the next highest set-count for a match by just one, with the former record set by the same teams in their Round 13 meeting just last season. The Raccoons were the victors of that meeting, 14-6.
STANDINGS: Shortland (12), Belmont, Kotara (10), Waratah, Bar Beach (8), Raymond Terrace, Hamilton (6), Glendale (4).
RD1: Fast-starting Waratah launch new campaign in style (02/08)
PRESEASON: Season 13's draw & key fixtures revealed (26/07/19)
Finals: Scotchies clinch first title with rampage over Belmont (21/06)
RD14: Shortland, Hamilton lead top seeds heading into playoffs (07/06)
RD13: Glendale stun Belmont 7-3 to climb out of cellar (31/05)
RD12: Jesmond bundle up Waratah to set race for top four alight (24/05)
RD11: Beavers back on track with win over the Kings (17/05)
RD10: Terrace back in the winner's circle with Hamilton upset (10/05)
RD9: Belmont and Waratah locked at standstill (03/05)
RD8: Stags down 'Tahs in grudge match battle for third (19/04)
RD7: Belmont bounce back with spoiler win against Kotara (12/04)
RD6: Scotches wave away Belmont bid to stay top (05/04)
RD5: Waratah right season with Raccoons win (29/03)
RD4: Shortland stay undefeated with fourth win (22/03)
RD3: Hamilton claim revenge in grand final rematch (15/03)
RD2: Bar Beach hold off Glendale to bag first win (08/03)
RD1: Waratah sweep aside arch-rivals with major margin (01/03)
PRESEASON: Season 12's draw & key fixtures revealed (08/02/19)
PRESEASON: Rego now open for NDL Season 12. (01/02/18)
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)