AFTER the first day of the South Coast District Cricket Association's round 12 was washed out last weekend, the pressure is on finals contenders Albion Park, Shellharbour, Gerringong/Jamberoo and Warilla Sports to continue winning during the next five weeks.
Round 12 will now be played as a one-day round and with Lake Illawarra and Oak Flats seemingly well-placed in the race for the top two spots in the semi-finals, the results each week are vital, with almost every game having an outcome on the last two playoff places.
Albion Park will need to lift after their embarrassing outright loss to a weakened Lake Illawarra last round and will now face Shellharbour in a crunch third vs fourth clash next week. They then face Gerringong/Jamberoo and Warilla Sports, and with just a one-point advantage over the Scorpions and Jet/Bulls will probably need to win at least two of these games to make the semis.
The season's biggest improvers, Shellharbour, face the Eagles, Oak Flats and The Rail, with their match against Oak Flats a crunch one given the competition's tightness.
Gerringong/Jamberoo are starting to look more and more like contenders in their first season, particularly with bowling spearhead Travis McMahon and the multi-talented Jesse O'Hare making welcome returns. However, they need their top-order batting to fire.
They face Oak Flats, Albion Park and Kiama in the local derby in the final round. The Cavs, who have had a poor season, will see this as a great challenge and a way to finish the season on a high.
Every club will be looking over their shoulders at premiers Warilla Sports, knowing their ability to win big games when the pressure is on. Also, with a seemingly 'favourable' draw of Kiama, The Rail and Albion Park to play, who is to say that come crunch time they won't be right in the mix.
Competition table: Lake Illawarra 155, Oak Flats 135, Albion Park 98, Shellharbour and Gerringong/Jamberoo 97, Warilla 91, The Rail 66 and Kiama 44.
The postponed one-day final between Oak Flats and Lake Illawarra will now be played next Sunday at Geoff Shaw Oval, while finals day in the Sommers Twenty20 competition will be on February 17.