Just one day’s play is left to decide which teams will make up the Victorian Premier Cricket 1st XI Top 8 for season 2017/18. Anything can happen and some sides will be ‘keenly awaiting updates from matches around the competition throughout the day.
At Central Reserve North, the Monash Tigers are just 43 runs away with 6 wickets remaining from securing a Top 8 position that seemed remote with just 4 rounds to go. Liam Scammell (39*) and Isaiah Borgas (26) led Melbourne Uni’s innings of 141, while Dominic Matarazzo (4/25) and Marcus Berryman (3/7) did the damage for the Tigers. Sam Taylor (29) has led the reply with the bat while Wes Agar (3/31) has kept Uni in with a sniff. For Uni, they will require some very quick wickets to keep their chances of Finals alive, while the Tigers only need to get the runs to secure a Finals spot.
At Merv Hughes Oval, Footscray are in the box seat to secure their Finals spot after finishing the day at 1/55 chasing Melbourne’s 192. Meyrick Buchanan (33) and Andre de Lange (31) led a batting card that regularly had starts but no-one push on for a big innings. Footscray’s bowling was led by Jack Sheppard (3/53) and Lucas Dredge (2/38). In reply, Matthew Underwood (29*) will be a key link to build around, especially with the likes of Dylan Kight and Dean Russ still to come. Melbourne will be looking to Jackson Coleman and Sean Sturrock to get the breakthroughs. The first session will be key in this game.
At Shepley Oval, Geelong capitalised on winning the toss by scoring 8/312 by the close. Brenton McDonald (85), Mitch Reid (63), Luke Inglis (53) and Eamonn Vines (49) all played key innings, while James Nanopoulos (4/62) was the pick of the Dandenong bowlers. The momentum of how this match could pan out sits with the Cats, as they need to force a result to guarantee a spot inside the Top 8. Dandenong will make them work the whole day with Tom Donnell and Brett Forsyth leading the batting card. Any result is still on the cards here.
At Harry Trott Oval, St Kilda dealt Frankston Peninsula a batting masterclass by finishing the day at 3/343. Skipper Rob Quiney (142*) led from the front, with support from Damon Egan (73*), Josh Manning (68) and Benjamin Davies (47), while Brodie Symons (2/58) was the main Heat bowler that caused the Saints some issues. Like Geelong, the Saints need to push for a result to guarantee a spot inside the Top 8 and will need their bowlers to fire, while the Heat will be keen to take out some positives with the bat to finish the season. Saints in the box seat here.
At Windy Hill, Carlton finished the day at 1/64 in reply to Essendon’s 205. The Bombers had several batting starts with Aaron Ayre, Nishal Perera & Isaac Conway all scoring 39’s and Clint McKay (32) all reaching scores above 30 without pushing on. For the Blues, Aaron Smillie (3/37) was pick of the bowlers with support from Xavier Crone (2/32), Matthew Wilson (2/40) and Eddy O’Sullivan (2/43). Carlton’s reply saw Donovan Pell (30*) lay a foundation with Brayden Stepien (22) and Harrison Smyth (11*) before stumps. Carlton’s batting depth might test Essendon’s attack here unless early wickets can be taken by the Bombers.
At Bill Lawry Oval, Prahran will commence Day Two at 0/12 chasing Northcote’s 264. Northcote’s total was led by opener Mark Phelan (117) with key support from Aaron Crispe (41) after a top-order collapse. Wickets were shared by the True Blues attack, with Stephen Seymour (2/26), Nathan McNally (2/30), Adam Hutton (2/52) and Will Sutherland (2/61) all striking at different times. Both teams are keen to finish on a high note for the season and any result could be obtained on the day. Prahran’s batting has shown varied form the last two rounds and could be the key factor in this match.
At Schramms Reserve, top side Fitzroy Doncaster batted all day to finish with 248 against Kingston Hawthorn. The Lions innings was built around a lot of starts, with no-one able to get full control on the Hawks bowling line-up for a bigger score. Peter Dickson (43*), Jack Rudd (43), Jack Blyth (43), Matthew Frith (39) and Lloyd Mash (35) all had starts against Ryan Ninan (4/61) and Tyrone Kane (3/58). Hawks leader and 2013/14 Ryder Medallist James Miller finished with 1/45 after announcing his retirement prior to this round and will be urging his charges to have a red-hot dip at the Lions in his last match. With the Lions’ bowling attack containing the Top 2 best bowlers in Premier 1sts this season in Trent Lawford and Ejaaz Alavi, they would have to be favourites in this match.
At Camberwell Sports Ground, the Camberwell Magpies finished the day at 2/80 in reply to Casey-South Melbourne’s total of 165. The Swans’ innings was led by Chris Benedek (44) and Ryan Eaton (43), while William Walker (5/39) led the Magpies bowling effort with 6 out of 7 bowlers used taking a wicket. In reply, the Magpies will be relying on overnight pair Adit Pawha (24*) and Simon Hill (22*) to get them off to a strong start in the recommencement of the run chase. Morgan Persson-Clark (23) also made a start before falling to Brendan Rose (2/25). If Hill and Pawha can bat the first hour, then Camberwell will win, while the Swans need at least 3-4 scalps in the first hour to give themselves a chance.
At Greenvale Reserve, Ringwood are just a boundary away from taking 1st Innings points over the Greenvale Kangaroos. Michael Topp (6/34) was the key destroyer of the Roos’ innings, helping to restrict the total to just 141. James Grixti (30) the only Roos’ batsman to get a solid start. In reply, the Rams finished at 2/138 with Paul Jefimenko (38), Nathan Walsh (32*) and Jackson Freeman (29*) all making good starts. Greenvale’s focus now will be doing everything possible to avoid another Outright result and take some positives out of the last game in preparation for season 2018/19.
Round 9 of Women’s Premier Cricket saw Melbourne successfully chase down a target of 200 against Prahran. Amy Vine (106*) and Kylie Crowley (65) got the ball rolling with a 164-run opening partnership to help reach the target in the 43rd over. Prahran’s 9/199 was led by Erica Kershaw (52), Emma Inglis (48) and Annabel Sutherland (37), while Anna O’Donnell (3/37) and Ella Hayward (3/34) led the Dees’ attack in restricting the True Blues in the final overs to a score below a potential 230-240.
EMP survived an early batting collapse to turn the tide around and win with a bonus point over Dandenong. The Bombers collapsed after being 4/72 to be 8/85 before VicSpirit skipper Kristen Beams (61*) worked with tailenders Emma Lynch (15) and Tegan French (12) to put on 96 for the last two wickets to get EMP to 181. Extras (25), Molly Strano (20) and Chloe Rafferty (22) the other key run scorers, while Shiromi Wijeratne (3/22) and Chelsea Moscript (2/35) were best for the Panthers. In reply, the Panthers never got going, being dismissed for 29 (batting 1 short), with Strano (4/9), Beams (3/6) and Rafferty (2/11) the wicket takers.
Box Hill came back from the road trip to Yarrambat with the points against Plenty Valley. The Valleys batted first and apart from Rhiann O’Donnell (66) the batting struggled and was dismissed for 139. Hayleigh Brennan (3/18) led an even bowling effort from the Mustangs. In return, Anna Lanning (69*) led from the front with key support from Penelope Cleghorn (24*) in seeing the Mustangs to the target quick enough to gain a bonus point.
Round 10 of the One Day games will see EMP (1st) host Prahran (4th) at Aberfeldie Park on Saturday. EMP has won their last two matches with the bonus point and will be keen to secure another win to finish the year in top spot. Prahran cannot move anywhere from 4th but will be keen to get a win in the lead-up to finals after dropping all 3 matches since the return to the One Day format. EMP’s top order bats need to fire to ease the pressure on the lower order, while Prahran can take some learnings out of last round against Melbourne. Expect this to be a close match.
Sunday will see Box Hill (2nd) host Melbourne (3rd) at Box Hill City Oval. Both sides have won all their 3 matches since the resumption post-T20 games. Melbourne has defeated Dandenong and other finalists Prahran and EMP since the resumption of games while Box Hill has beaten Prahran, Plenty Valley and Dandenong in this time. Squad depth might have a big say in this match, with both teams playing good cricket in this time. Another game that could result in the toss of a coin to decipher a winner.
Finally, Dandenong (6th) will host Plenty Valley (5th) at Shepley Oval. Both teams are coming off tough campaigns but will relish the opportunity to finish the season off with a win. Dandenong game EMP some issues with the ball but failed to fire with the bat, while Plenty Valley (Rhiann O’Donnell aside) also struggled with the bat and couldn’t get enough chances with the ball to stop Box Hill from getting their total. With Dandenong missing Sophie Molineux on National duties, this might be the opportunity for Plenty Valley to get another win, but don’t expect the Panthers to give it up lightly!
Congratulations to the following members of the Premier Cricket competition for recent and upcoming milestones:
WOMEN’S PREMIER 1STS ONE DAY
ROUND 10 – SATURDAY 10 MARCH (11:00am Start)
ESSENDON MARIBYRNONG PARK V PRAHRAN at Aberfeldie Park
Umpires L McCabe & R Sturgeon
ROUND 10 – SUNDAY 11 MARCH (11:00am Start)
BOX HILL V MELBOURNE at Box Hill City Oval
Umpires A Thomas & L McCabe
DANDENONG V PLENTY VALLEY at Shepley Oval
Umpires R Harrison & S Olufson