Those who ventured to Gawler for Round 5 were rewarded with some idyllic weather. On the pistes, the rewards also came for some but were a little elusive for others.
Just to recap, last season it was Allan Sanderson, Brett Williams and Mike Mulvihill, from Prospect, who were gunning for the ‘three-peat’ of consecutive gold medals. They got within a whisker of pulling it off but, in the third leg, they fell at the last hurdle and had to settle for silver.
Now it was Dom and Rada Pierre’s turn. Having won Rounds 3 and 4 (with Tomas Heredia), they too were in a position to have a crack at this elusive feat (this time playing with Mark Coy). Like their predecessors, they were perfectly positioned after the penultimate game, once again cantering into the final undefeated. One more win and league immortality would be theirs…
The other finalists were the local team of Luke Randall, John Gejas and John Rex. For them, the stakes were also high. They’d tasted silver before but a win would bring not only a personal best result but also the distinction of the first ever gold medal for the Gawler club. Unlike their top-seeded opponents, this team had to work its way up from the bottom, which meant they were drawn against some of the more formidable teams in the competition. Nevertheless, all had been duly dispatched, quite convincingly, and the signs were ominous. These guys meant business and they were at the top of their game. The scene was set and, one way or another, history was going to be made…
The final did not disappoint. It was hotly contested, of the highest standard, and went down to the wire. However, it was the Gawler team that ultimately prevailed. Congratulations to Luke, John & John — a sterling performance! As for Dom and Rada, they’ll have to console themselves with at least having set a new league record of winning sixteen consecutive games, beating the previous mark of fifteen (set last year by the aforementioned Prospect team). Meanwhile, the three-peat remains as a peak yet to be conquered.
Not surprisingly, the big movers on the premiership ladder were the Gawler club. Taking home more than twice as many championship points as they had accrued over the first four rounds was enough to comfortably lift them two places, into fifth. At the top of the table there was no change — it was more a case of consolidation.
A final point of interest in this round was the extraordinary pattern of results that came out of the preliminaries. Check it out. In Pool A, we had the unique situation that six of the eight teams had one win apiece from their three games. In other words, two teams got into the second group of finalists (playing off for 3rd) with just the one win, and there was only points difference separating third from eighth!
I doubt whether any of us have seen that before. I certainly haven’t. In contrast, the other pool had a team ranked sixth with two wins. Consequently, the correlation between final ranking and number of games won was not as close as it usually is under the ‘snakes and ladders’ system. That’s the way it goes, sometimes.