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St George’s missing quartet as they try to halt slide

Clay Smith will watch from afar this weekend as his weakened St George’s team try to stop themselves being dragged into a relegation dogfight.Four first choice players are missing from tomorrow’s Premier Division game against PHC and Sunday’s clash against Bailey’s Bay, with Smith, wicketkeeper Dean Minors, opening bowler Zeko Burgess and batsman Onais Bascome all unavailable.Burgess and Bascome have returned to school overseas, while Smith and Minors are both off Island for a game that St George’s need to win against a side that are as good as relegated.PHC’s last realistic hope of surviving rested on an appeal to Bermuda Cricket Board against their defeat to Devonshire Rec two weeks ago. A successful appeal would have closed the gap on the sides immediately above them, as it is they lost the appeal and are 20 points from safety with four games remaining.While a maximum 18 points are available from any game, PHC would still need all the teams above them to lose heavily several times between now and the rest of the season if they were to produce a miraculous recovery.St George’s meanwhile, the only side PHC have beaten this season, are in a dangerous spot themselves, just five points separate them in fourth, from Southampton Rangers in sixth, and Smith’s side have won just once in their past five league games.The East Enders though not only have the added breathing space of a default win over Social Club to come they also have a game in hand on the sides below them, and a win this weekend should secure their safety.“Right now this weekend we definitely need to look to win one of these two games at minimum, just to give ourselves a bit of breathing room from Devonshire Rec and Southampton Rangers,” said Smith.“Over the last three weeks we’ve had some very tight losses, games I honestly felt that we should have won, but we didn’t due to some poor decision making basically.“This weekend is going to be tough, we’re basically on the last of our players. We’re stretching it a bit but the players that we do have, we have the confidence that they’ll put their best foot forward and hopefully we’ll get a favourable result.”Winning tomorrow isn’t just about giving St George’s breathing room, it’s also about sparing themselves from a situation that no club will want to be in, having to go to St David’d needing to win to survive.The East End neighbours meet at Lords on the final day of the season, and Smith doesn’t want to have to go there needing to win to stay up. Not that the St George’s coach is thinking just about surviving, he still harbours hopes of seeing his side finish in the top four.“The the last thing we want to do is leave it to the last week because we do have St David’s the last game of the season and that would put us in a ticklish situation if we had to beat them to stay up.“But, our goal (for the season) was to achieve a Belco Cup spot, so having had such a good start that’s a goal we still want to achieve.”