Welcome back to everyone involved with Premier Cricket. We hope you have enjoyed the Festive Season and you were able to spend time with family and friends.
With just 5 rounds to go in Premier Cricket, the top 4 teams are within just 4 points of top position on the ladder, while there is a 4-point gap between 8th and 9th positions.
Carlton (2nd) will be ruing the high-scoring drawn game with Footscray last round as they have lost top position by 2 points to Dandenong, with their task to return to the top rung this round having to defeat an in-form Fitzroy Doncaster (3rd) at Princes Park. Expect this to be another top-quality match. Essendon (5th) will host St Kilda (4th) at Windy Hill, with both sides fresh off successful run chases before Christmas. Essendon will be looking for wickets from competition leader Matt Doric (29 wickets), while St Kilda will need an all-round attack to handle the likes of James Seymour when the Bombers bat. This match will be close and hard to clearly identify a winner.
Footscray (6th) copped the worse end of the draw with Carlton, slipping 3 places on the ladder, but come up against Greenvale Kangaroos (17th) at Mervyn G Hughes Oval. Expect the boys at the kennel to rebound hard and push again for a Top 4 spot at the end of the round. Prahran (11th) will again be looking to capitalise on more points, hosting Casey-South Melbourne (18th) at Toorak Park. The Swans will need to use their experience last round against Melbourne and take note of Greenvale’s effort against the True Blues on the 2nd day of Round 12 to avoid giving up a possible 10 points.
Melbourne (13th) will host Melbourne Uni (8th) at the Albert, with Uni coming off a successful run chase of 329 against Kingston Hawthorn. Melbourne will be keen to continue their recent run of form, with this game having the potential of going either way. Ringwood (9th) will play Dandenong (1st) at Shepley Oval, with the Rams rueing their pre-Christmas result despite 155* from leader David King. With Dandenong’s Tom Donnell also showing strong form this season, this match will be the battle of the experienced batsmen and will be one to watch.
Northcote (15th) will host Kingston Hawthorn (16th) at Bill Lawry Oval, with both sides taking some positives with the bat in their respective pre-Christmas games. The match will be decided by the team that capitalises best with the ball I feel. Camberwell Magpies (14th) will host Geelong (7th) at Camberwell Sports Ground, with the Cats favourites after scraping home against Monash Tigers before Christmas. Camberwell will be keen to get back skipper and reigning Ryder Medallist Brendan Drew for this game to have a chance for points. Finally, Monash Tigers (12th) will have a tough encounter as they face Frankston Peninsula (10th) at Central Reserve. The Tigers’ close shave against the Cats last round may help them as Frankston will be keen to bounce back from their cricketing lesson from the Lions before Christmas.
Women’s Premier Cricket also returns this weekend after the Christmas/New Year hiatus, with some more T20 matches fixtured. Most sides will be impacted in some capacity with the WBBL now in full swing, plus the unavailability of the players selected for the Victoria Country side competing at the Australian Country Cricket Championships in Geraldton (finishing on the 13th January).
Melbourne (2nd) will host Ringwood (3rd) at the Albert, with the Rams sniffing an opportunity for another upset win. The battle to watch will be between the two leading run scorers in this grade so far – Melbourne’s Amy Vine and Ringwood’s Gabby Basketter. Prahran (7th) will host EMP (5th) at Toorak Park, with both sides impacted with Representative duties. This could be a close contest and could go either way. Coburg (8th) will play host to Box Hill (4th) at Coburg’s City Oval, with Box Hill favourites to win this match, while top placed Dandenong will host Plenty Valley (6th) at Shepley Oval, with another close match forecasted.
The matches at the Albert, Toorak Park and Shepley Oval are all double-header games with the respective host club’s 2nd XI’s also playing that day at 2:30pm.
Congratulations to the following members of the Premier Cricket competition for recent and upcoming milestones:
Apologies must also go to Geelong skipper Eamonn Vines, whose magnificent start has seen him pass both 2,500 and 3,000 career Premier 1st XI runs milestones this season (prior to the Christmas break). The 3,000 career Premier 1st XI runs milestone was accidentally overlooked by the composer of this article, with the milestone having been achieved in Round 8 when Vines scored 33* against Melbourne.
MEN’S PREMIER 1STS
ROUND 13 – SATURDAY 13 & SATURDAY 20 JANUARY (11:00am Start)
FITZROY DONCASTER V CARLTON at Schramms Reserve #1
Umpires M Hanton & F Fabris
FOOTSCRAY V GREENVALE KANGAROOS at Mervyn G Hughes Oval
Umpires G Bawa & D Ireland
PRAHRAN V CASEY-SOUTH MELBOURNE at Toorak Park
Umpires A Hawking & J Leonard-Scott
MELBOURNE V MELBOURNE UNIVERSITY at Albert Ground
Umpires G Azzopardi & C Grant
NORTHCOTE V KINGSTON HAWTHORN at Bill Lawry Oval
Umpires J Walker & A Stanley
MONASH TIGERS V FRANKSTON PENINSULA at Central Reserve North
Umpires M Cervetto & B Davies
CAMBERWELL MAGPIES V GEELONG at Camberwell Sports Ground
Umpires S Pitts & M van Eck
RINGWOOD V DANDENONG at Shepley Oval
Umpires R McKinnon & B Sheahan
ESSENDON V ST KILDA at Windy Hill
Umpires R Birch & V Borg
WOMEN’S PREMIER FIRSTS T20
ROUND 4 – SUNDAY 14 DECEMBER (11:00am Start)
MELBOURNE V RINGWOOD at Albert Ground
Umpires D Meagher & M Nair
PRAHRAN V ESSENDON MARIBYRNONG PARK at Toorak Park
Umpires R Turner & A Thomas
COBURG V BOX HILL at City Oval (Coburg)
Umpires S Olufson & J Watson
DANDENONG V PLENTY VALLEY at Shepley Oval
Umpires R Harrison & S Fishley