Albion Park facing litmus test at Oak Flats

SOUTH COAST CRICKET 

Shellharbour face a must-win clash against Kiama, while new leaders Albion Park meet Oak Flats in the highlight match of round 13 this afternoon.

Shellharbour battled hard to draw a rain-marred clash against Lake Illawarra in round 12, while Graeme Smith's unbeaten 60 was the crucial knock for Albion Park in a three-wicket win over Kookas.

Albion Park medium-pacer Rob Monaghan has been the competition's form bowler since Christmas, taking 23 wickets in the last three games, including 4-28 against Kookas.

Albion Park face a litmus test away to Oak Flats, who were held to just a first innings win against The Rail in round 12, after day two was washed out.

Just 24 points separate fifth-placed Shellharbour from Albion Park, with Shellharbour knowing wins over Kiama and the Park in the final two rounds should be enough to put them in the semi-finals.

Facing a mammoth 401 for victory against the Lakers, Shellharbour forced an unlikely draw after batting 58 overs to make 5-152.

Stand-in captain Todd Cordes led the way with an unbeaten 40, while Ken Nguyen made 36 not out.

Kiama will be confident after collecting their third win of the season by beating Gerringong-Jamberoo by one wicket.

The final pair at the crease, Brendan Czulowski (16 no) and No 11 Ethan McIntosh (3 no), put on the 15 runs required to steer Kiama to victory at Cavalier Park.

In this afternoon's other games, fourth-placed Kookas need to beat Gerringong-Jamberoo at Kevin Walsh Oval.

Lake Illawarra will be chasing an outright win against bottom side The Rail at Howard Fowles Oval to keep their top-two finals hopes alive.

Meanwhile, last Sunday's washed-out Twenty20 semis have been rescheduled to Sunday, March 2, at the same venues.

Gerringong host Oak Flats and Lake Illawarra are at home to Albion Park.

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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