Despite the rain activity leading into the Australia Day weekend, all Premier 1st XI matches commenced action last Saturday.
At the Junction Oval, Northcote finished the first day of the Indigenous Round match against St Kilda at 7/234, thanks to starts from several of their batsmen (led by Max O’Sullivan’s 48 and Steven Taylor’s 41). For St Kilda, Joshua Bartlett and Benjamin Davies both finished the day with 2/23 off 19 and 10 overs respectively. The Saints will be looking to try and clean up the Northcote innings quickly and aim to chase the target with the remaining overs in the day to keep in touch with the other Top 4 sides on the ladder.
At Shepley Oval, Dandenong will recommence at 1/31 chasing Essendon’s total of 249. For Essendon, Michael Hill (86*) played the sheet anchor role, with valuable support provided by Clint McKay (52) when the Bombers were 7/152. Dandenong will be looking for Brett Forsyth (14*) and Comrey Edgeworth (9*) to continue their stand after the early departure of skipper Tom Donnell (7) before Stumps. Essendon will be keen to cause early damage and put pressure on the rest of the Dandenong batting line-up to get the runs.
At Princes Park, Carlton will be looking to chase the runs and gain valuable points after bowling Monash Tigers out for 205. Sam Taylor (73) led the batting for the Tigers with lower order support from Matt Shimell (36) helping push the innings past 200, despite the efforts of Aaron Smillie (4/47), Daniel Gilbert (3/44) and Tom Smyth (2/39 + 4 catches) for the Blues. Carlton will resume Day 2 on 0/42 needing a further 164 runs to win with Donovan Pell (22*) and Harrison Smyth (12*) at the crease. Carlton keeper Brayden Stepien had to retire hurt for 7 after a hit in the helmet while opening the batting. Early wickets will be the yardstick for the Tigers to keep them in this match and have a chance of victory.
At Greenvale, Fitzroy Doncaster are in pole position for the 10 points on offer after an action-packed day against Greenvale Kangaroos. Batting first, the Roos were all out for 99 with Trent Lawford doing the damage taking 5/36 off 18 overs and Ejaaz Alavi providing support with 3/22. Haseeb Qureshi (39) and James Rosewarne (23) the only Roos to get past 20. The Lions then declared after 31 overs with 4/120 thanks to knocks from Jack Blyth (42) and Matthew Frith (43), with James Rosewarne (2/27) the best of the Roos bowlers. Left with a tricky 5 overs before Stumps, Trent Lawford (3/6) left the Roos reeling at 3/6 at Stumps.
At Casey Fields, Footscray are also seeking to capitalise on the full 10 points after a dramatic collapse by the Swans in the opening session of Day 1. Lucas Dredge (5/17) sparked a collapse that saw the Swans go from 4/50 to 61 all out. Quick knocks from Dylan Kight (85), Hayden Butterworth (54) and Greg Munro (38) allowed the Bulldogs to declare at 7/231, with Nathan Lambden (3/39) the pick of the Swans bowlers. Luke Manders continued his fighting batting display from the 1st Innings (top score of 21) to be 44* at stumps out of 4/62. Hamish Winter-Irving did the early damage with 2/14. The batting of Luke Manders will be the key for the Swans to make the Bulldogs sweat over those additional 4 points.
At the University Main Oval, Prahran will resume on 3/60 chasing Melbourne University’s total of 201. Uni’s innings was built around the innings from Liam Scammell (90), with some other starts and support from the tail pushing them to their total. Nathan McNally (3/30) the pick of the Prahran bowlers with support from Stephen Seymour (2/28) and Matt Wilcox (2/36). Adam Bull (26) gave Prahran an early start in the run chase, with the opening spell from Steven Reid (2/17) making sure the match is evenly poised for both teams coming into Day 2.
At Walter Galt Reserve, Melbourne will resume at 1/83 chasing Kingston Hawthorn’s total of 295. The score posted by the Hawks was off the back on a whirlwind knock of 143 off only 118 balls (15 x 4’s, 7 x 6’s) by their UK import Jack Taylor. Support from skipper James Miller (47) and Brad Rossborough (38) allowed Taylor to play his natural attacking game. Patrick Smith (3/49) and Wilson McGillivray (3/42) were the pick of the Melbourne bowlers, with Will Pucovski (44*) and Blake Thompson (35*) both at the crease to recommence the Demons’ run chase on Saturday. This game will be one to keep an eye on throughout the day.
At Geelong, Ringwood batted and finished the day at 6/240 with Rams’ skipper David King just missing out on his 16th Premier 1st XI century in his 200th Premier 1st XI match after being Run Out for 99. Joseph Loorham (58) provided key support for King in a 111-run 4th wicket stand, while the pick of the bowlers for the Cats were Brenton McDonald (3/45) and debutant Brody Couch (2/39). With Eamonn Vines in strong batting form, the Rams will be looking to get enough out of the wicket to try and get the points to sneak in the top 8, while the Cats want to limit the damage quickly and get the runs to keep their spot inside the top 8.
At AH Butler Oval, Camberwell Magpies took a liking to the Frankston Peninsula attack to finish the day at 8/316. Knocks from Simon Hill (73), Adit Pawha (58), Dylan Hodge (44) and Sam Newell (43) kept the board ticking over, despite the efforts of the Heat bowlers. Nick Boland (2/65), Ben Ashkenazi (2/67) and Jack Benbow (2/38) all pushed hard but will require a quick clean-up of the tail to give their batting line-up any chance against the Magpies attack led by William Walker and Brendan Drew.
With just one round of T20 matches still to be played, four sides are still in the hunt for a spot in the Women’s Premier Cricket Firsts T20 Final. Of the four teams that are still in contention, Melbourne is guaranteed a spot in the final regardless of the weekend’s results, sitting on top with a 4-point lead on Dandenong.
Saturday sees Dandenong (2nd) take on EMP (4th) in a match at Melville Oval in Hamilton. This game will shape who takes the final position for the T20 Final. A win to Dandenong will see a Melbourne-Dandenong T20 final, while a win to EMP will see them making the T20 final providing Melbourne can then beat Box Hill on the Sunday. Both sides should see the return of WBBL players for the match, so expect a high-quality match with a result potentially coming down to the last ball.
Sunday sees the big game at Box Hill City Oval between Box Hill (3rd) and Melbourne (1st). Pending on Saturday’s result, this game could still be a ‘live’ rubber that could shape which team will face the Demons in the T20 Final. Box Hill will take some positives out of their victory over Prahran last Friday, but come up against a Demons side that is playing some very good cricket of late. Melbourne are better placed to get the win on paper, but Box Hill are good enough to take the points on the day if things go their way.
In the remaining games, Coburg (7th) will host Prahran (8th) at Coburg City Oval with pride and a fight to avoid the dreaded wooden spoon on the cards. Prahran will be expected to get back their WBBL players for this match, so expect the True Blues to be favourites for this match.
At Yarrambat, Plenty Valley (6th) host Ringwood (5th) with both sides having been competitive in their campaigns this season and take some positives on board for the remainder of the season. Expect this game to be a close one that could go either way.
Congratulations to the following members of the Premier Cricket competition for recent and upcoming milestones:
Apologies must go to Darren Pattinson (Dandenong) who took his 250th Premier 1st XI wicket in the Panthers’ Round 12 match against Camberwell Magpies when he dismissed Pies skipper Thomas Russ in their 2nd Innings.
Apologies also to Jarrod Martignago (Melbourne University) who played his 100th Premier 1st XI match in the rescheduled Round 13 match against Melbourne.
WOMEN’S PREMIER FIRSTS T20
ROUND 7 – SATURDAY 3 FEBRUARY (3:00pm Start)
ESSENDON MARIBYRNONG PARK V DANDENONG at Melville Oval (Hamilton)
Umpires J Leonard-Scott & M Nolan
ROUND 7 – SUNDAY 4 FEBRUARY (11:00am Start)
BOX HILL V MELBOURNE at Box Hill City Oval
Umpires S Fishley & A Thomas
COBURG V PRAHRAN at City Oval (Coburg)
Umpires M Malmberg & R Van Der Merwe
PLENTY VALLEY V RINGWOOD at Yarrambat War Memorial Park
Umpires M Nair & H Wardlaw