WARATAH PIPS BELMONT AT THE POST IN THRILLING CLASH To claim top Quarter final seed heading into playoffs
After fourteen rounds the final standings in the Newcastle Dodgeball League have been confirmed, but for the Waratah Cobras and the Belmont Beavers their positions were not locked until the final handful of games in their closing regular season clash.
Heading into the last week of the league before playoffs, Waratah sat on 33 points, while Belmont lurked just two points behind on 31 - their eyes glued firmly to a favourable third-seed for the quarter-finals next Thursday evening.
After falling in a one-set thriller last week to Cooks Hill, 9-10, Belmont knew their last outing before the elimination rounds would be key to their path back to the finals, but a late game surge from the Cobras was too much for the Beavers to overcome as they fell by a single point for the second time in two weeks.
Although Belmont earned themselves an early lead in the contest, Waratah were able to take control in the middle period of the match, before staking their claim for the top quarter-final seed with back-to-back set victories in the final three whistles, moving four points ahead of their rivals with the 7-6 win.
Although in the end it didn't eventuate, Waratah's one-set win could have also seen them move into second place after Hamilton had mixed results in the run in to the season's conclusion, with the Cobras levelling the Stags on competitive points after the defending champions secured a 9-5 win over Cooks Hill earlier in the same evening.
Also at Oakdale Arena, Shortland collected a 12-5 win over Raymond Terrace to enter the finals on an eight-game winning streak, with their last loss coming at the hands of Hamilton - 5 sets to 9 - eight weeks ago.
Finally, Kotara confirmed they would be playing finals in their first season in the competition with a 10-6 win over Bar Beach, locking in their sixth place finish.
The quarter-finals will now begin on November 8, when Kotara and Waratah come face to face in the first elimination bout, while Belmont face off against Raymond Terrace in the other playoff fixture.
Hamilton and Shortland await the winners of the opening finals round in the semi-finals, with Hamilton set to play the victor of Waratah-Kotara, and Shortland prepared for the winner of Belmont-Raymond Terrace.
FINAL SEASON STANDINGS: Shortland (38), Hamilton, Waratah (36), Belmont (32), Raymond Terrace (24), Kotara (22), Cooks Hill (20), Bar Beach (16).
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)