Shortland take control of second place after late surge in fast-paced thriller against Belmont
As the battle for the first and second seeds continue to rage in the tail-end of the regular season, a key match-up between Shortland and Belmont came down to the wire, with the Scotchies claiming a three-set bounce in the game's final gasp to secure three vital points.
For most of the 15-set clash however, Shortland were blocked at every turn by the Beavers, who came into the contest on a five-match winning streak.
Shortland began the match in the ascendancy, claiming the opening two set points in what would be one of only two times they strung more than a single victory together, before Belmont knocked two back onto the scoreboard to level the score.
The struggle continued with one-of-one set trades deep into the second half, including a chance for Shortland to take control of the tie with a sudden-death round falling to Belmont after a mistake in the opening rush saw a Scotchies runner called out for stepping the line.
Missing captain Nic Price and stalwart Gorgia Watkins, Belmont were expecting a difficult run out against their top-table rivals, but concerns around their absences were quickly dissipated as vice-captain Liam Janczuk put in a vocal and commanding performance to keep the Beavers in the game.
He was joined as key performers for the Season 10 runners-up by Keagan Jones and Maddie Jordan, both of whom single-handedly claimed set points for the now-third placed squad.
Their brilliance in the middle stage of the match wasn't enough however, as Hannah Trypas and Brady Ainsworth - both of whom claimed MVP points for their victory - guided Shortland back into second place on the ladder, and a leg up in the run in to playoffs.
Elsewhere in Round 11, defending champions and league leaders Hamilton were pushed to their limits against a dominant Kotara outfit, led by Team of the Season hopefuls Zac Oke and Isaac Davis.
The Kings bounced out to a 5-1 lead early in the contest, before Hamilton claimed two close sets to bring the difference back to just two at the half-break.
Kotara commanded the lead again in the second, as they ballooned their lead back out with three strong set victories off the back of a solo performance from Zac Oke in the opening bout of the second half, as well as a key double-catch from Jacinta Mantle.
The upset, one that would have dropped Hamilton back into the mix for top four, wasn't to be however, as Harry Gibson and Benjamin McIntyre guided the Stags to a late 9-8 comeback in the final two sets, swapping the scoreline from a one point deficit for the champions to a one point triumph.
Also on Thursday evening, Raymond Terrace triumphed over Cooks Hill, 10-3, to keep a two point buffer over Kotara in fifth place, while Waratah moved level with Belmont off the back of a 10-4 victory over Bar Beach.
STANDINGS: Hamilton (31), Shortland (29), Belmont, Waratah (27), Raymond Terrace (19), Kotara (17), Cooks Hill, Bar Beach (13).
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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)