IT'S shaping as one of the most pivotal weekends of the Bendigo premier lawn bowls season with a double-header of games presenting an opportunity for clubs to make their move on what's a congested ladder.
Following the Christmas-New Year break the premier season resumes with round eight on Saturday and round nine on Sunday, meaning for seven of the nine teams - Kangaroo Flat and Bendigo East both have a bye - there's a maximum of 36 points up for grabs over the weekend.
The Bendigo Campaspe Goldfields Region Facebook page on Thursday stated "there are a number of clubs affected this weekend" by COVID, meaning there is the potential for lower-grade players to step up in premier division to show their wares.
"This weekend it's only premier division that is playing, so teams have the whole club to draw on players from if necessary," BGC region president Paul Moller said on Friday.
"It's a bit like the Big Bash at the moment in that this could be a chance to give some players an opportunity."
Going into this weekend's crucial double-header that will round out the first half of the season is a ladder that is headed by new-comers Moama on 82 points.
Then follows South Bendigo (69), Kangaroo Flat (69), Eaglehawk (64) and Bendigo East (60) all separated by just nine points from second to fifth, with the improved Inglewood in sixth position on 56 points.
The clear standout match of the weekend is the clash on Sunday between the ladder-leading Moama and reigning premier South Bendigo at Moama.
Moama is yet to be beaten this season - it did tie with Eaglehawk in round two - while the Diggers, who have the competition's top-rank rink skipped by Luke Hoskin (5-1, +60 shots), have won four of their past five following a hiding from Eaglehawk in round one.
It shapes as a challenging weekend for the sides filling the bottom two rungs on the ladder - Bendigo and Castlemaine.
Bottom side Bendigo enters the new year at 0-6 and with a pair of games against top-four teams this weekend - South Bendigo on Saturday and Eaglehawk on Sunday.
And eighth-placed Castlemaine, which has copped three hidings by a combined 97 shots in its previous three games, faces Moama and Kangaroo Flat in its two clashes.
South Bendigo v Bendigo
Golden Square v Bendigo East
Eaglehawk v Inglewood
Castlemaine v Moama
Kangaroo Flat bye
Tips - South Bendigo, Bendigo East, Eaglehawk, Castlemaine.
Bendigo v Eaglehawk
Moama v South Bendigo
Golden Square v Inglewood
Kangaroo Flat v Castlemaine
Bendigo East bye
Tips - Eaglehawk, Moama, Golden Square, Kangaroo Flat.
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