South Coast cricket keeping rain at bay

CRICKET

Oak Flats officials have been working ‘‘around the clock’’ to ensure the possibility of play in the weekend South Coast final against  Albion Park at Geoff Shaw Oval.

Near-record rain fell across the region this week but Oak Flats put in many hours in a bid to save the premiership decider.

Third-placed Oak Flats must win the game to claim their first title since 2006-07 – a draw will be enough for minor premiers Albion Park to win their first crown since 2005-06.

Cricket title deciders in the lap of weather gods

‘‘We’re doing everything we can to get the game on but we need some sunlight,’’ Oak Flats skipper Ryan Chatterton said.

‘‘With no more rain, the pitch should be OK but the outfield is the big worry.

‘‘We’re working on it with super-soppers, getting as much out as we can but we need a break in the weather,’’ he said.

A month ago Oak Flats scored a season high 8-412 against Albion Park as Chatterton hammered an unbeaten century.

A washed-out second day meant Albion Park escaped with a draw and, with a final round win over Lake Illawarra, earned the minor premiership.

Albion Park skipper Adam Coughlan believes his bowlers can shut down the most dangerous batting line-up in the competition.

‘‘For a couple of seasons now, our bowlers and fielding have been our strength and we think that’s an area in which we can do well,’’ Coughlan said.

 ‘‘They made a huge score against us last time but we didn’t take our chances or bowl well that day.

‘‘If we get the ball in the right areas and make it hard for their top order we’ll back it up in the field and then have a great shot at winning the game.’’

Coughlan says it is great that the club is a force after being in the doldrums three seasons ago.

  ‘‘We’ve done it with mostly local juniors who came through the ranks.

‘‘Some played elsewhere but have returned, which is terrific for the club to be back on top where it was for so many years, not so long ago.’’

 Albion Park all-rounder Graeme Smith remains the key figure after his century against Shellharbour in last weekend’s semi-final clash.

 ‘‘Smithy seems never to be out of form. He came in at 4-34 [against Shellharbour] and just changed the game.’’

‘‘Having him at number six is a great confidence-builder for our guys but we know at the top we can get runs without Graeme then have him there to help out,’’ Coughlan said.

Meanwhile, South Coast Cricket Association president Tony Panecasio confirmed venue changes for Saturday’s  third and fourth grade semi-finals.

 The second grade final between Lake Illawarra and Jamberoo at Howard Fowles Oval is in extreme doubt on Saturday   but it is hoped the game may go ahead on Sunday.

South Coast finals

First grade

Albion Park vs Oak Flats at Geoff Shaw Oval

Second grade 

Lake Illawarra vs Jamberoo at Howard Fowles Oval

Third grade semi-finals

Lake Illawarra vs Oak Flats at Myimbarr Park East

Kookas vs Shellharbour White at Athol Noble Oval

Fourth grade semi-finals

Lake Illawarra Gold vs Kookas at Morley Park West 

Lake Illawarra Blue vs Shellharbour at Shane Lee Oval.

Sunday

Third grade final: Myimbarr Park

Fourth grade final: Athol Noble Oval

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