Melbourne bowler Sean Sturrock will play his 150th Premier 1st XI match this weekend when they take on neighbours St Kilda.
Last weekend saw clubs and curators battle against the elements in the lead-up to Day Two on the Saturday, with most grounds winning the battle. A total of 26 games out of the 36 in the Men’s grades were able to see play commence on the weekend, with 7 out of 9 Men’s 1st XI games seeing a resumption in play (with ground conditions ruling out play at Geelong Cricket Ground for Geelong v Footscray and Princes Park #1 for Carlton v St Kilda).
In the games that were able to get play commenced, there were a wide variety of results.
- Ladder leaders Fitzroy Doncaster came from being 6/80 chasing the Camberwell Magpies’ target of 235 to win by 2 wickets at Camberwell Sports Ground, thanks to the skipper Ejaaz Alavi (75*) and Liam Banthorpe (58) overcoming the bowling of Magpies’ skipper Andrew Fekete (4/90);
- The Greenvale Kangaroos secured their first points of the season with a strong win over Frankston Peninsula on the road at AH Butler Oval. The Roos kept striking at regular intervals, led by Sunam Gautam (4/47) and Kyle Adams (3/32) to restrict the Heat to just 149 (Nick Boland top scoring with 35* for the home side);
- At the Albert Ground, it was a miracle that play was able to get underway after a delay of about 40 overs after the condition it was in at 5:30pm Friday Night! For a while, it looked like Aaron Boyle (4/26) would roll through the Dandenong line-up, but James Nanopoulos held firm for 75* to keep the home side Melbourne at bay at 6/164 when Stumps were drawn;
- At Toorak Park, the home side Prahran looked shaky at 2/12 early against Northcote chasing 321. When the next wicket fell at 257, the True Blues were well on their way to eventual victory by 5 wickets thanks to skipper Jake Hancock (111) and a maiden ton to James Billington (107). These two put on 245 for the 3rd wicket, just 38 runs off the existing club record of 283* sitting since the 1913/14 season (GEJ Healy 136* & RS Stephens 149* vs Northcote). Aaron Crispe (2/63) tried best for the Dragons who were simply outclassed;
- At Walter Galt Reserve, Kingston Hawthorn secured their first win of the season with victory over Casey-South Melbourne. Keeper Akshay Kodoth (82) carried on the groundwork laid by Simo Ivetic (45) to help the Hawks pass the Swans total of 171 and bat to 8/253 before declaring (after the Swans used all 11 to bowl). The Swans batted a second time, finishing at 4/140 after Ryan Quirk (53) and Michael Wallace (52*) had some valuable time in the middle;
- At Central Reserve North, Melbourne University took the points early on Day Two. The Monash Tigers resumed at 8/98 chasing 115 for victory, but Steven Reid (2/33) snuffed out the last 2 wickets for just 8 runs to leave the home side stranded for 106. Uni batted a second time and were 2/130 when the game was called off, with skipper James McNeil (68*) and Alex Gregory (28*) picking up some form; and
- At Windy Hill, the home side Essendon took out the O’Donnell/Peters Cup with victory over Ringwood. The Rams resumed at 2/6 chasing 310 for victory, but with Bombers debutant Andrew Warrick (5/44 coming in as a BBL replacement player) and keeper Isaac Conway (6 catches) leading the charge, the Bombers always were in front, despite a valiant 52* from Patrick Ashton.
Round 9 will see the return of the coloured gear, with this round being a One Day round with white ball being used. This will also continue for Rounds 10 & 11 after the Christmas/New Year break.
St Kilda (4th) will host neighbours Melbourne (10th) at the Junction Oval. Both sides are coming off weather-impacted draws and will be keen to secure points prior to the Christmas break. The Saints will be looking to stay inside the top 4 while the Demons will be looking to keep in touch with the top 8. Both sides are capable of playing quality cricket and will be keen to play their best on the Junction Oval on Saturday. The big catch will be to see how many of their respective National and BBL reps will be away for this match. Saints to start as favourite but this could go either way.
Casey-South Melbourne (8th) will host Footscray (16th) at Casey Fields #4. The Swans will be wanting to rebound strongly after last round’s loss to bottom-placed Kingston Hawthorn, while the Dogs will be filthy for the weather washing away their chance of points on the road at Geelong after setting the Cats 400 to get. The Swans have been relying largely on the experience of Luke Wells and Nathan Lambden, while the younger and inexperienced players for the Dogs like Ashley Armstrong and Nathan Caulfield are starting to hit their straps and support their more experienced campaigners. Will this be enough to upset the Swans this weekend? My gut feel says there could be an upset on the cards here if the Swans don’t ‘pull their socks up’!
Dandenong (7th) will take on Frankston Peninsula (15th) at Shepley Oval. The Panthers did well to hold off Melbourne at the Albert Ground for a draw last week, while the Heat succumbed to a determined Greenvale Kangaroos at home. The Panthers are just sitting 2 points inside the top 8, while the Heat will be determined to produce another upset and have something to cheer about for the Christmas break. On paper, the Panthers appear to be far stronger but will need to be ‘switched on’ from the outset to take the points.
Ringwood (14th) take on Prahran (12th) at Russell Lucas Oval. The Rams struggled all game at Windy Hill against Essendon while the True Blues gave themselves a spark they desperately needed with their win over Northcote. This match will be a battle of the big guns, with David King and Ian Holland for the Rams fronting up against Jake Hancock and Adam Bull. Whoever wins the battle out of these 4 batsmen will go a long way to winning this match. On recent form, this suggest the visiting Prahran side but it won’t be an easy match for either team.
Fitzroy Doncaster (1st) will be keen to stay on the top of the ladder when they host the Monash Tigers (13th) at Schramms Reserve #1. The Lions this season have made a habit of recovering from shaky positions against opposition teams and this might be an opportunity that the Monash Tigers need to capitalize on with the ball. The Tigers on the other hand need to find some more runs with the bat as things have gone a bit cold in that department lately. Despite the ladder positions, this game will be one to keep an eye on at the weekend as both sides can win this. Runs on the board may be the difference in this game.
The Camberwell Magpies (9th) will get a true measurement of where they sit when they host Essendon (2nd) at the Camberwell Sports Ground. The Magpies were on the wrong end of Fitzroy Doncaster’s performance last Saturday after having them on the ropes, while Essendon were rarely troubled against Ringwood. If Liam Bowe and Clint McKay don’t play for the Bombers due to BBL commitments, that will make the Magpies’ batting job a little easier but they will still have to contend with James Seymour, Michael Hill and Aaron Ayre to bowl to. The Magpies will be relying heavily on the opening pair of Andrew Fekete and Will Walker, while they will need the batting to fire, with import Lewis McManus due for a big score. Essendon to start favourites but it could be closer than expected.
Greenvale Kangaroos (17th) will host Carlton (3rd) at Greenvale Reserve #1. The Roos will be looking to capitalize on their victory over Frankston Peninsula last round but will find themselves with a great challenge against a Blues side brimming with confidence despite having their match against St Kilda washed out last weekend. The Roos are starting to find some run scorers with Sunam Gautam and Anthony Barton having both made a century this season, while the bowling is slowly strengthening. The Blues have one of the most dominating batting line-ups if they all fire and can call on a quality bowling line-up that has seen them inside the top 4 to now. While the Roos are continually on the improve, the Blues will have to start favourites in this one.
Melbourne University (5th) will host Kingston Hawthorn (18th) at the University Main Oval. Uni scraped home ‘by the skin of their teeth’ last round against the Monash Tigers, while the Hawks pulled off a major upset by knocking off Casey-South Melbourne at the Walter Galt. The Hawks needed a spark after a run of poor results but will need all their determination against a strong Uni line-up that is capable of anything. With Steven Reid and Alex Gregory in strong form with the ball for Uni, the Hawks will be needing things to go their way to keep in the contest. Uni to start favourites at home.
Finally, Northcote (11th) will host Geelong (6th) at Bill Lawry Oval. The Dragons let one slip against Prahran last weekend, while Geelong were the benefactors of last week’s wet weather after being set 400 to get by Footscray. The Dragons are playing some positive cricket in recent rounds and have been pushing up the ladder, while the Cats have been ‘hot and cold’ over the season but still sit inside the top 8. This match could put some extra pressure on those in the bottom half of the 8 if results go a certain way and is certainly capable of happening. Geelong to start favourites……..just.
Congratulations go to the following members within Premier Cricket for the following recent and upcoming milestones:
- Sean Sturrock (Melbourne) will notch up his 150th Premier 1st XI game when the Demons take on neighbours St Kilda at the Junction Oval. Sturrock has been a regular at Melbourne since his debut in the 2007/08 season, notching up 663 runs, 184 wickets and 43 catches to the time of writing. Sturrock’s form has been quite strong this season with 170 runs @ 34 (including his first 2 Premier 50’s with the bat in consecutive games against Fitzroy Doncaster (Round 5 - 50*) and the Monash Tigers (Round 6 - 62) to better his previous high of 32*), 12 wickets @ 26.75 and 3 catches.
- Jake Hancock (Prahran) scored his 3,000th career Premier 1st XI run during his match-winning innings of 111 against Northcote.
- Patrick Ashton (Ringwood) scored his 1,000th career Premier 1st XI run during his innings of 52* against Essendon.
- Isaac Conway (Essendon) took his 50th career Premier 1st XI catch when he caught Ringwood’s Michael Topp of the bowling of Louis Cameron.
Finally, the PCMT wishes all members of Premier Cricket the best for the Festive Season and remind everyone to be mindful and take care if travelling anywhere across this time.
MEN’S PREMIER 1STS
ROUND 9 – SATURDAY 22 DECEMBER (11:00am Start)
ST KILDA V MELBOURNE at Junction Oval
Umpires B Davies & R Patterson
CASEY-SOUTH MELBOURNE V FOOTSCRAY at Casey Fields #4
Umpires A Hawking & S Pitts
DANDENONG V FRANKSTON PENINSULA at Shepley Oval
Umpires M van Eck & M Muthugounder
RINGWOOD V PRAHRAN at Russell Lucas Oval
Umpires A Barrow & C Grant
FITZROY DONCASTER V MONASH TIGERS at Schramms Reserve #1
Umpires D Ireland & M Malmberg
CAMBERWELL MAGPIES V ESSENDON at Camberwell Sports Ground
Umpires C Lai & D Brigham
GREENVALE KANGAROOS V CARLTON at Greenvale Reserve #1
Umpires J Leonard-Scott & M Nolan
MELBOURNE UNIVERSITY V KINGSTON HAWTHORN at University Main Oval
Umpires G Bawa & G Azzopardi
NORTHCOTE V GEELONG at Bill Lawry Oval
Umpires B Sheahan & S Olufson