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).
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)