Malvern overcame a huge deficit to roll Doncaster with a walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth, Cheltenham produced a huge second innings to set up a comfortable win over Preston, Sunshine upset Blackburn, Melbourne edged away from Sandringham and Essendon hung on for the narrowest of margins over a Waverley outfit that refused to lie down, while Upwey posted a crucial win by surprising the league-leading Baycats.....
With the lower grades and juniors currently engaged in finals, the penultimate round of Division One and Two competition further underscored the evenness of both Summer League grades over what has already been a thrilling and fascinating season with more than its usual share of thrills, surprises and reversals.
Despite a shock loss to ninth-placed Upwey Ferntree Gully (eleven wins, seventeen losses, three drawn), Geelong (22-7-2) retains top placing on the DIVISION ONE table, on head-to-head results only over Essendon (22-7-2), which appears to have secured the Club Championship – for the second consecutive year – with a hard-fought win over sixth-placed Waverley (13-14-3).
Unable to be dislodged from third, Blackburn (20-10-1) faltered against eleventh-placed Sunshine (11-19-1), which needs a last-round win to have a chance of improving its position, while Cheltenham (18-3) nailed down fourth spot with a comfortable result over tenth-placed Preston (12-19).
Melbourne (16-14-1) is now certain to finish fifth after it defeated eighth-placed Sandringham (13-19), while Doncaster (13-17-1) remains in the middle of the pack and will be looking to an improved last-game outing after this week going down narrowly to twelfth-placed Malvern (8-23).
Although the post-season combatants have been determined for Division One, there is still much interest in placings at the bottom of the table, where three clubs – Upwey, Preston and Sunshine - are in an arm wrestle to stay above eleventh placing.
Frequent comments have been made, this season, about how stiff any clubs will be should they be relegated to Division Two – assuming that two clubs meet the existing criteria to replace them. To put the competitiveness of the 2012/13 Summer League into perspective, one simple statistic is illuminating.
In the 2011/12 season, the bottom five clubs accumulated forty-one wins and five split results between them For this season, the bottom five clubs will have posted at least fifty-six wins and four drawn games, evidence of a very healthy league in which no club could be underestimated when it ran out on the park.
Similarly, in DIVISION TWO, we arrive at the final round of the regular season with two clubs vying for top billing and another four still in contention for third and fourth spots.
Summer League season could hardly have been scripted better.