'Best bowling' secures a finals berth

OAK Flats saved their best bowling performance of the season for last Saturday's semi-final against arch-rivals Lake Illawarra, claiming a spot against minor premiers Albion Park in this weekend's South Coast Cricket final.

Albion Park all-rounder Graeme Smith made a vital 105 to spearhead his side past Shellharbour, who played bravely but were always on the back foot, with more than four hours lost due to rain delays.

The Park recovered from 4-34 to make 222, Smith supported by Raheel Chaudhry (24).

The game was called off at 6.45pm on Sunday with Shellharbour at 7-118.

Despite the drawn result, The Park advanced because of their higher position on the ladder.

At Howard Fowles Oval, Oak Flats dismissed the Lakers for 121 on a tricky batting deck.

Only opener Tony McCabe (44) and skipper Shane Cody (22) made significant contributions for the Lakers, while Darren O'Connell took 4-27 and Nathan Morrow 3-24.

Michael Arblaster (36 not out) and Rob Hill (38 not out) then notched an unbeaten fourth-wicket stand of 62 to seal victory for the Rats.

Oak Flats skipper Ryan Chatterton hailed his side's "best bowling effort of the season" as crucial to the victory.

"It was fantastic," Chatterton said.

"To keep them to 120-odd off 77 overs, with 34 maidens was just great, disciplined bowling.

"We've struggled to get small totals against Lake in recent times so it was big partnership from Michael and Rob to get us over the line."

If rain is a factor in the final, Albion Park hold the advantage of knowing a draw is enough to claim the title.

However, the season decider will be played at Geoff Shaw Oval - Oak Flats's home ground - with first choice Croome Cricket Oval beset with problems due to recent rain.

In second grade, minor premiers Lake Illawarra take on Jamberoo in the premiership decider at Howard Fowles Oval.

The lower grades' semi-finals feature the Lakers taking on Oak Flats at Myimbarr Park East and Kookas facing Shellharbour White in third grade at Shane Lee Field. Fourth graders Lake Illawarra Gold meet Kookas at Morley Park West, and Lakers Blue play Shellharbour at Myimbarr Park West.

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