Helensburgh on the brink

ILLAWARRA CRICKET

Helensburgh kipper Tim Lloyd admits the pressure is on to defend their Illawarra cricket premiership. His side aren't in the top four and running out of games.

Back-to-back losses to Corrimal and University have left Helensburgh behind both clubs in sixth spot with two rounds remaining.

The opening day of round 13 on Saturday was washed out, leaving day two basically played as one-dayers.

The Burgh won their maiden top-grade title last March beating Keira in the decider, but it's been a tough season as premiers.

"There's no more excuses," Lloyd said.

"For the last few games we've been saying 'This is our semi' but we've come up short. Last week against Wollongong was really disappointing and we're almost out of chances now.

"We have to beat Dapto and then Balgownie in the final round to have a shot at making it and the reality is we can win those really tough games but still need results to go our way."

Lloyd said the batting has failed too many times.

"Against Corrimal we looked like chasing 300 but pegged them back to 250 and we were 0-40 odd at stumps on day one.

"Then on the second day we were left to bat on a wet track and tried to get on too early to maximise our batting time and that hurt us.

"So we were a bit unlucky that game but against Wollongong we just batted poorly.

"Each week we seem to have one guy who bats well but doesn't get any help.

"There's been some tough lessons to learn these past few weeks and we have to just put one more big effort in against Dapto and hope it's enough to give us a shot against Balgownie."

With two rounds remaining, unbeaten leaders Balgownie and second-placed Keira are assured of making the top four, while Dapto will seal a semi-final spot by beating Helensburgh.

Four straight wins have lifted Corrimal (48 points) to fourth, but they are just four points clear of University, while the Burgh (42) and Northern Districts (41) need two wins and some luck to make the finals.

In Saturday's round 13, University host Norths, Wests Illawarra are at home to Wollongong, Corrimal host Keira and Balgownie are at home to Port Kembla.

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