THE clock is quickly ticking on Centrals’ Orange District Cricket Association first grade premiership defence.
The two-time premiers are now 18 points adrift of the 2012-13 top three - the cut off this summer for a place in the finals with just a five team competition in operation.
With just four games remaining before the post season, opportunities to close the 18-point gap on both CYMS and Orange City, two sides on 44 competition points, are quickly diminishing for Centrals.
However bad the scenario looks, it’s not yet panic stations at Centrals.
And no one is yet, mathematically speaking.
Centrals skipper Jarrod Simpson said his boys weren’t far from their best.
“It’s a bad thing in the sense of the situation we’re in, but it’s good because we should be able to get the best effort from the boys,” Simpson said.
“We’re thinking positive still.”
Centrals currently have 26 points next to the side’s name thanks to two wins and five losses.
On the schedule ahead, they face Orange City (January 12-19) and Cavaliers (February 16-23) in two two-dayers and then Kinross (January 26) and CYMS (March 2) in two one-day games.
The club enjoys are two-day bye in the mix as well.
Points are crucial, Simpson knows that.
But more importantly, Centrals must first concentrate on reproducing the kind of cricket that’s secured them back-to-back titles.
The kind of cricket that’s eluded them this year.
Get that right, and the points will come.
“You’ve got to try and get the points, obviously, but for us at the moment it’s about the process,” Simpson said.
“We need to improve our fielding and just our general match awareness, and some of the boys need to take responsibility for themselves and stop relying on others to get the job done; control what you can control.”
On the plus side of an otherwise dreary summer so far, Simpson was enthused by the development of the side’s players.
“Some of the players who were in seconds last year have improved. Ted (Matt Tedeschi), I like having him in the team and guys like Matty Weller and Dave Aldis, they’ve been given an opportunity this season.”