Smith escorts Park to top spot

SOUTH COAST CRICKET 

Graeme Smith made a crucial half century to steer new leaders Albion Park to a three-wicket victory over Kookas in Saturday's top four clash at Oakleigh Park.

Smith top-scored with an unbeaten 60 as the Park (7-140), despite a 90-minute rain interruption, claimed top spot chasing down Kookas 136,

Smith was supported by Jay Ferguson (28), and after being 5-87, Smith put on 43 with the determined Jack Bennett (8).

"After we came back from the rain delay it was tough for the bowlers but we had our chances. In the end Smith took the game away from us," Kookas captain Gerard Healey said.

Kookas veteran Scott Cox took 3-41, while Healey was impressed with 18-year-old Troy Tungai, who took 3-41 in his first grade debut.

At Cavalier Park, Kiama beat the rain and Gerringong-Jamberoo to claim a third win of the season.

Resuming at 4-71 chasing 120 for victory, Kiama claimed a one-wicket win after wicketkeeper Brendan Czulowski (16 not out) and No 11 Ethan McIntosh (3 not out) put on 15 for the last wicket.

Lachlan Hall took 2-20 for Gerringong, who allowed a massive 34 sundries - the top score for Kiama.

Oak Flats had to settle for a first innings win over The Rail after day two was washed out at Croome Cricket Oval.

Oak Flats had already taken first innings points after making 5-147 on day one replying to last-placed The Rail's 111. A wet pitch meant no play was possible on day two.

Lake Illawarra also had to settle for a draw against a spirited Shellharbour after 30 overs were lost on day two.

Set an unlikely 401 for victory, Shellharbour battled hard and finished at 5-152 after being 5-69.

With skipper Ben Mitchell missing the match, stand-in captain Todd Cordes led the way with a resilient, unbeaten 40.

Cordes and Ken Nguyen (36 not out) put on an unbroken 83 for the sixth wicket to ensure Shellharbour secured the draw and stay in the semi-final race.

Mark Ulcigrai took 2-34 for Lakers.

Meanwhile, the semi-finals of the South Coast Twenty20 competition were washed out yesterday.

The rescheduling of the Lakers-Albion Park and Oak Flats-Gerringong games will be made later this week.

Premiership ladder: Albion Park 143, Lake Illawarra 142, Oak Flats 131, Kookas 130, Shellharbour 119, Kiama 75, Gerringong-Jamberoo 61, The Rail 59.

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