Allan Matheson Shield | round eight preview

By Alex Mitchell

A place in the Goulburn Valley Bowls Division top tier could be on the line today when Stanhope takes on Nagambie in a crunch encounter.

The duo occupies seventh and eighth on the ladder and by some distance, with sixth-ranked East Shepparton 11 points in front of Stanhope.

It means the Lions could build a sizeable gap today with victory, already 11 points in front of the Lakers after seven rounds.

But the Lakers took their only win of the season against Stanhope, coming up with an 83-71 win in round one thanks to a 23-14 rink win from Rob Page.

Neither side has a player in the league's top 17 skips, but Stanhope's Tim Hancock (ranked 18th, 2-2-3, -2 shot difference) and Shane Walsh (19th, 2-2-3, -36) boast the best two records of players in the match and each will be primed for a huge day.

For Nagambie, which has lost its past five matches by an average of 36.2 shots, Page (25th, 2-1-4, -9) looks required to lead the side should it pull off the season-defining upset.

Elsewhere, third-placed Shepparton Park faces a difficult encounter with a trip to second-ranked Euroa.

The Parkers won by 11 shots against East Shepparton last round to make it two wins on the trot, but they will need to take their game to another level to match it with a Euroa outfit notoriously difficult to beat at home.

Park has called up gun division two skip Ashleigh Williamson (5-1-1, +17) to fill in for the absent Peter Matthews, with Don Dickinson to skip in his place.

The Magpies have been ultra-consistent since their round one loss, only losing last Saturday's top-of-the-table clash against Shepparton Golf.

Euroa boasts three of the league's top eight skips - Ken Sutcliffe (fourth, 5-1-1), Tony Kingma (sixth, 4-1-2) and Bill O'Connor (eighth, 3-3-1) - although it will have to deal with the number three ranked machine that is Parkers coach Paul Nichols.

Shepparton Golf will look to keep its undefeated season rolling when it tees off against Hill Top today, having won its first six matches of the season.

The Golfers have looked borderline untouchable all season, with the league's top two ranked skips Col Power (6-1-0) and John Gribble (5-2-0) undefeated.

The Hillbillies lost last weekend to snap their three-match winning run, but will look to recapture that strong form to continue their push for finals.

And the weekend's final Allan Matheson Shield encounter has Kyabram hosting East Shepparton.

East will be keen to pull off an upset and boost their own finals candidacy, while the Power will be trying to make it back-to-back wins.