WHERE once a big lead at the top of the ladder assured a team a place in the grand final, it is no longer the case.
Even if Laidley's dominance of the Ipswich Logan Premier League continues in the new year, it could count for nothing if they cannot win their semi-final under the new format this season.
One round of one-dayers remains and four rounds of two-day matches are to be played before finals, with fixtures resuming on January 5.
In the two-day premier competition, which includes points gained from one-day matches, Laidley is well in front, having lost just the one game.
In previous years the minor premier advanced straight to the grand final while the second and third-placed teams played off in the semi-final.
This year there is a top four semi-final series, where first plays fourth and second plays third over two days (March 9-10), with the winners progressing to the grand final (March 16, 17, 23 and 24).
Laidley is virtually assured of a semi-final berth while second-placed Brothers would need a major collapse in 2013 to miss out.
It means Northsiders, Central Districts and Eastern Taipans are the likely contestants for the final two semi-final berths.
In the one-day competition, undefeated leader Northsiders has completed its fixtures but is guaranteed the one-day minor premiership and a spot in the semi-finals.
Second placed Laidley is also assured of a one-day semi-final spot, leaving Centrals, Taipans and Brothers competing for the last two spots in the final round on January 5.
Ipswich Premier League combined points at the Christmas break: Laidley 107.32, Brothers 85.17, Northsiders 59.83, Centrals 52.56, Taipans 42.06, Swifts 31.88, Alberton 6.74.
Ipswich Premier League one-day points: Northsiders 53, Laidley 36, Centrals 26, Taipans 18, Brothers 17, Swifts 8, Alberton 0.