NEWCASTLE will officially receive last year's pennants flag on the same weekend they try to keep alive their hopes of another A-grade title in 2021.
The reigning champions host undefeated leaders Merewether in Sunday's fourth round, a replay of the 2020 decider, as Newcastle District Golf Association prepares to present the prize having been put back by COVID-19.
Captain Troy Stonestreet knows it's basically "do-or-die" for Newcastle, Waratah and Toronto in the race for second spot and a final berth over the last two rounds with 2019 winners Merewether in the strongest position to progress to the showdown.
"It's set up for a big Sunday and it's basically do-or-die for us," Stonestreet said.
"We pretty much have to win from here to make it and if we don't drop a round it could come down to a countback based on how many matches you've won."
Having met in the main game 12 months ago and with Luke Ferrier switching back from Newcastle to Merewether, Stonestreet understands the "rivalry".
"The boys have been looking forward to it," he said.
Stonestreet admits Ferrier, club champion at both venues, is a "big loss" but is pleased with Newcastle's current squad.
Chris Turnbull, Tommy De Wit, Hayden Gulliver and Bruce Hill remain part of the team while Matt Saad has signed from Sydney, Hamish Ellison returns to the ranks after time away and Paul Bucan is a new member.
Scott Telfer rejoined on the weekend having been hampered by a back injury suffered in the season opener earlier this month.
Josh Robards (broken leg) was a late scratching and has been sidelined for the entire campaign.
"All-but Josh we're pretty much back to full strength now so hopefully we can get on a run and qualify for the final," Stonestreet said.
Merewether (17 matches) are outright first with Waratah (15.5), Newcastle (15) and Toronto (11.5) in a three-way tie for second courtesy of two wins apiece.
Newcastle, who beat Charlestown (5.5-2.5) at Merewether on Sunday, finish with Toronto in the last round. Waratah tackle hosts Charlestown and Merewether have Pacific Dunes.
Waratah and Toronto meet at Newcastle this weekend following contrasting results from round three - a 7-1 win over Pacific Dunes and 7.5-0.5 loss to Merewether respectively.
The final is set for March 14.
* MUSWELLBROOK product Josh Fuller has claimed the Concord Cup, holding aloft the trophy after sinking a birdie on the second play-off hole.
Fuller, who works at The Vintage, finished four under from 36 holes on Friday and another 18 on Saturday before edging out Jye Halls.
* KURRI KURRI member Harry Atkinson fell just short during a play-off at the Jack Newton Junior Golf tournament in Wagga Wagga over the weekend.
* BELMONT will host a NSW Open qualifier on March 22, three days out from the state's top event.
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