Another weekend of Premier Cricket has been completed and the shaping of the Top 8 positions is still far from settled, with three matches last Saturday were decided on the 1st Innings by the close of the day’s play.
Batsmen were again on top in the action, with 5 centuries notched up across the games played and the breaking of a club-record partnership that has stood over 2 decades. Bowlers also had some success, with ‘team’ bowling performances leading the play across all 3 matches that have now seen 1st Innings points achieved on the first day.
At the University Main Oval, ladder leaders Fitzroy Doncaster showed they are keen to hold top position on the ladder by taking 1st Innings points against Melbourne Uni. Matthew Frith (3/12) and Ejaaz Alavi (3/10) helped to dismantle the Uni line-up for 116, with Tom Rogers (29) and Isaiah Borgas (27) the only batsmen to pass 20. Skipper Peter Dickson (113*) then went about notching his 14th Premier 1st XI century to guide the Lions to 4/223 at Stumps (a lead of 107). Wes Agar (4/67 off 15) was the only Uni bowler to make inroads into the batting card. The Lions are now in the box seat to secure another Outright and keep top spot on the ladder.
At Walter Galt Reserve, Footscray will recommence at 1/51 chasing Kingston Hawthorn’s 176. For the Hawks, Ryan Ninan (56) and Shorye Chopra (32) provided the runs with the side missing import Jack Taylor, while the Footscray attack shared the wickets around (led by Tim Buszard’s 2/17). The Hawks’ opening bowlers, Javed Khan and James Miller will need to get early scalps with the ball to have a chance against a very strong batting line-up. Footscray favourites for first innings points in this one.
At the Albert, Prahran showed a marked difference to the previous weekend with the bat, finishing the day at 9/317. Nick King (81) and Adam Bull (54) led from the front with regular starts from the middle order. Blake Parsons (50*) could yet inflict some more damage if the True Blues bat on at the resumption, while Wilson McGillivray (3/65) and Meyrick Buchanan (3/62) will be keen to finish off proceedings quickly to give the Dees time to chase the target. A match to keep an eye on during the day as the Dees need to win to stay in the hunt for the Top 8.
At the Geelong Cricket Ground, the home side won the toss and then batted all day against St Kilda, finishing the day at 7/327. British import Joshua Cobb (107) led the charge for the Cats with support from Angus Boyd (74) and Thomas Treble (47). For the Saints, Australian Under 19’s rep Jonathan Merlo (2/31) was the pick of their bowlers. With Geelong sitting in the bottom half of the Top 8, it will be interesting to see what skipper Tim Ludeman will do at the start of Day Two. Both sides are still in the hunt here.
At AH Butler Oval, Essendon finished the day at 6/344 due to the innings by Michael Hill (156*), scoring his 6th Premier 1st XI century (1st for Essendon) in the process. Nishal Perera (63) helped in a 135-run 5th wicket stand and Isaac Willett (38) put on 96 with Hill for the 4th wicket after the Bombers were 3/48. For the Heat, Aidan Wheeler (2/48) and Nick Boland (2/75) tried hard and will need some early luck to finish the Bombers’ innings. Essendon will be keen to let loose Clint McKay, Matt Doric and Liam Bowe at the Heat line-up, while Liam Tonkin will need support from the rest of the Heat batting card to possibly get out with a draw.
At Princes Park #1, Carlton took a liking to the Ringwood batting line-up, dismissing them for just 58. While the Rams ended up batting 51.2 overs, Aaron Smillie (4/16), Xavier Crone (3/14) and Matthew Wilson (2/3) exposed a batting line-up that appears to be quickly looking for the finish to the season. Brayden Stepien (55 & 5 catches), Harrison Smyth (34*) and Donovan Pell (31*) then set the platform before Stumps, with the Blues at 1/122 at the close. Ringwood will need to show some serious fight this week or else it could be a Blues Outright win.
At Greenvale Reserve, the hosts will resume at 0/13 chasing the Camberwell Magpies innings of 5/356 declared. The Magpies started shakily, losing wickets at regular intervals until skipper Thomas Russ (110) joined Thomas Rickarby (170*) at 4/62 to put on a stand of 278 for the 5th wicket, breaking the previous club record of 182 set by David Emerson (119) and Chris Harris (106) for the 5th wicket in the 1995/96 season against Northcote. For Greenvale, Jordan Buckingham (3/47) was the pick of the Roos’ bowlers, who seemed to have little answers to the onslaught at hand. Camberwell in the box seat coming into Day Two.
At Casey Fields #4, the Monash Tigers claimed 1st Innings points by Stumps having bowled out the Swans for 136. Michael Wallace (51) and Dylan Hadfield (24) were the only batsmen to pass 20 for the Swans, while Dominic Matarazzo (3/22) led the Tigers team bowling effort. The Tigers’ reply has been led by skipper Daniel Sartori (60*), while Dan Christian (41 & 2/26) has done his chances no harm for a recall to the State side. The Tigers now have the position to keep themselves in the hunt for a Top 8 spot and put pressure on some other sides currently inside.
At Shepley Oval, Dandenong celebrated their Pink Stumps fundraising day by finishing at 9/315 with the bat. Lincoln Edwards (82), James Nanopoulos (60) and Brett Forsyth (53) all led from the front with the bat for the Panthers, while Jack Lalor (3/41) and Aaron Crispe (3/87) were the pick of Northcote’s bowling attack. Northcote will be keen to bat as long as they can to avoid giving Dandenong’s attack any chance of sniffing an Outright opportunity. Dandenong favourites here.
Round 7 of Women’s Premier Cricket saw some interesting matches pan out. Melbourne gained revenge on EMP from the recent T20 Grand Final, holding on by 37 runs at the Albert. Amara Carr (60), Anna O’Donnell (2/17) and Breannon Sutton (2/26) the key players, while EMP skipper Briana Binch (44 & 1/36) was the one that kept the Bombers in with a sniff.
Box Hill gained a bonus point after defeating Dandenong by 76 runs at Box Hill City Oval. Marie Kelly (65), Zoe Griffiths (60) and Hayleigh Brennan (28 & 3/20) the stars for the victors in setting a defendable score of 6/246, while Megan Pauwels (32 & 3/37) and Emma Gallagher (3/41) were the best for the Panthers.
At Toorak Park, Plenty Valley secured the upset of the day, holding on in a close match by 5 runs against Prahran. Providence Cowdrill (78* & 1/46) was the star for the visitors having batted throughout the whole Plenty Valley innings. Skipper Meagan Ciavarella (29, 1/32 & 2 catches), Jane Riley (2/23) and Kiara Jones (2/37) also provided key support. For Prahran, Kath Hempenstall (41 & 2/26) and Tiana Atkinson (31) were their best (with Extras leading the way with 44 in the run chase!)
A small note of recognition must also go to Ringwood’s Kylie Walters (123) and Madeleine Wright (116*) as they put on an opening stand of 246 in the Women’s Premier Seconds match against Coburg last Sunday. This smashed the previous club records in Women’s Premier Cricket for any partnership and came within 24 runs of their current club record for their Men’s Premier Firsts for the opening partnership (in comparison). Congratulations Kylie and Madeleine on this feat.
Round 8 of the One Day games will see the Vic Spirit members return for the rest of the season after the conclusion of their WNCL fixtures.
Dandenong (6th) will host Melbourne (4th) at Greaves Reserve, with the Dees looking to continue some strong recent form against the Panthers. Dandenong lacked a couple of experienced players last weekend and getting Sophie Molineux and Nicole Faltum back will help, but the Demons look too strong based on recent results.
Prahran (2nd) will host Box Hill (3rd) at Toorak Park, with both sides expected to regain some Vic Spirit members for the run into the Finals. This game should be the match of the round and will be interesting to see how the battle between Anna Lanning (Box Hill) and Emma Inglis (Prahran) plays out. Could be a toss of the coin on the result here.
EMP (1st) will hit the road to meet Plenty Valley (5th) at Yarrambat War Memorial Park. The hosts will be taking some confidence into this match after last week’s victory, while EMP will be keen to get quality campaigners such as Kristen Beams, Molly Strano and Georgia Wareham back now that the WNCL season has finished for the Vics. EMP look too strong here in this match.
Congratulations to the following members of the Premier Cricket competition for recent and upcoming milestones:
WOMEN’S PREMIER 1STS ONE DAY
ROUND 8 – SUNDAY 18 FEBRUARY (11:00am Start)
DANDENONG V MELBOURNE at Greaves Reserve (Oval 4)
Umpires R Turner & L McCabe
PLENTY VALLEY V ESSENDON MARIBYRNONG PARK at Yarrambar War Memorial Park
Umpires J Collins & S Fishley
PRAHRAN V BOX HILL at Toorak Park
Umpires M van Eck & M Malmberg