Race for Auckland playoff places

8 Sep 2009 – Only four of 15 rounds remain in the round robin stage of Auckland Curling’s Premier League competition, and the race for semi-final positions is well and truly hotting up.

Global Cooling (Alex Bauer, Nic Lambert, Greg Prendergast and Shaun Alexander) have a handy 4 point buffer over the field and appear to have booked themselves a spot in the semis.

That leaves three places available, and with only 3 points on the table separating the next six teams it’s certainly too early to pencil in any of the other teams for the playoffs. Royal Icebergs are currently on a roll having won their last 6 games on the trot and they will be hoping their run of form continues, as will Jacksons and Black Ice with a recent 5-from-6 record.

In last night's Round 11 matches Global Cooling, Jacksons, Altitude, Icebergs and Black Ice from the top group all had good wins while A.R.S.E. was lucky to grab a last-end draw with Compass Box. Other winners were Diamonds and Sliders.

Six of the top seven teams play each other over the next few deciding rounds, starting with this Sunday’s Round 12 where Global Cooling play Black Ice and Rockers are up against Icebergs.

None of the other sides can rest though. There are no easy games in this competition, where ice reading skills (and sometimes a bit of luck on the interesting ice) can work in conjunction with the continually rising skill levels of all teams. This was well demonstrated in the tenth round a week earlier where four of the eight games were won by what was then the lower-ranked team. Bottom ranked Cleansweep led for much of their game against high-flying Global Cooling and were unlucky not to secure at least a point.

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