A forced return to the white ball saw some quality individual performances and close matches across the board last weekend. 4 centuries were scored, with Melbourne’s Meyrick Buchanan (154*), Prahran skipper Jake Hancock (130*), Northcote coach Steven Taylor (110) and Camberwell Magpies captain Simon Hill (107) all raising their bats, while the Monash Tigers’ Dominic Matarazzo was the pick of the bowlers with figures 10/5/4/7 against Ringwood. 3 games were decided by under 20 runs, with Melbourne University, Geelong and St Kilda all coming out on top in these results.
Round 5 will see the annual Indigenous Round matches take place between St Kilda (1st) and Northcote (15th) with all 4 grades playing in the St Kilda complex (Junction Oval, Harry Trott Oval, Ian Johnson Oval and Ross Gregory Oval). The Saints sit top of the ladder undefeated at present and will be keen to keep this form going, while the Dragons can take some positives out of a heart-breaking 1-run loss to the Camberwell Magpies last Saturday. The Saints all-round capacity sits stronger than the Dragons at present, but expect the latter to throw caution to the wind.
The Camberwell Magpies (11th) will host Casey-South Melbourne (12th) at Camberwell Sports Ground. The Magpies are coming off a 1-run win over Northcote, while the Swans are looking to rebound after receiving a Meyrick Buchanan masterclass at the Albert last weekend against Melbourne. Both sides have shown patches of good form and will be keen to develop this further in the longer format. Gut feel says that the Magpies have a little more depth with bowlers and this might be the deciding factor in this match.
Carlton (5th) will host Frankston Peninsula (16th) at Princes Park #1. The Blues come off a 7-wicket win over Essendon, while the Heat took it up to St Kilda but ultimately fell 5 runs short. The Blues will be keen to secure the points to push for a top-4 position while the Heat will be looking to produce an upset to get their season going. The Blues to start as favourites, but will be looking for the middle order to fire together.
Reigning premiers Dandenong (10th) host the in-form Monash Tigers (3rd) at Shepley Oval. The Panthers will be keen to get the points here as one of the favourite sons Brett Forsyth will join the CV 200 Club this round, while the Tigers will be keen to capitalize on their strong start to the season. Despite the ladder positions this should be a match to keep an eye on. Form says the Tigers but the Panthers are more than capable of rising to the challenge.
Essendon (8th) will host Kingston Hawthorn (18th) at Windy Hill. Bombers’ skipper Clint McKay will play his 150th Premier 1st XI match and will be keen to celebrate with a bag of wickets and some runs, while the Hawks need to find some more batting support for Jake Marnie and bowling support for skipper Ryan Ninan. The Bombers’ line-up looks far too strong with Ayre, Hill, Seymour, Doric, Bowe and McKay and should start at warm favourites.
Footscray (14th) will host Ringwood (13th) at Mervyn G Hughes Oval. The Bulldogs have struggled these early rounds with Dean Russ the only regular run scorer, while Lucas Dredge leads the bowlers. The Rams have seen strong form from skipper Ian Holland, but have seen a quieter start to David King and a lack of runs from other batsmen has hurt in a couple of games. Both sides will not want to take this game lightly as the loser may nearly write their season over before it began.
The Greenvale Kangaroos (17th) host Prahran (9th) at Greenvale Reserve #1. The Kangaroos took it up to Geelong last weekend, but another batting collapse saw them fall just 20 runs short of victory, while the True Blues defeated Kingston Hawthorn with skipper Jake Hancock finding form at last with 130*. The True Blues carry a bit more all-round depth and will be keen to use this to secure points to get them settled inside the Top 8 after this round.
An undefeated Melbourne University (2nd) will host Geelong (6th) at the University Main Oval. The Students have clicked well this season with a lot of all-round contributions, while the Cats have been taking a positive game style and running with it (despite last week’s 20-run escape at Greenvale). Both sides have some talented youngsters coming through, but it will be a case of which experienced campaigners will fire for each side. Expect this to be a tightly contested first day.
Finally, Fitzroy Doncaster (4th) host Melbourne (7th) at Schramms Reserve #1.The Lions took the points against Footscray last weekend with reigning Ryder Medallist Trent Lawford finding some form that saw him win the award last season, while the Demons had a comfortable win over the Swans with Meyrick Buchanan firing with a knock of 154*. Both sides are carrying form into the match, but the Lions bowling line-up looks stronger on paper than the Demons and may be the key difference in this match.
In last weekend’s action in Women’s Premier Cricket, victories were secured by Prahran on the road against Plenty Valley, Melbourne won at the Albert against Carlton-Brunswick, EMP opened their account with victory over Ringwood and Box Hill took the points at home against Dandenong.
Highlights from the weekend’s action saw:
This week’s action sees Dandenong (7th) host Melbourne (2nd) at Greaves Reserve. The Panthers were competitive last weekend against Box Hill but a lack of starts saw them fall 52 runs short, while the Demons continued on their winning way with victory over Carlton-Brunswick. The Panthers are still reliant on a handful of players while the Demons seem to have more able to share the load should a couple of members fail. Melbourne look the more experienced side and will start favourites on the road.
Carlton-Brunswick (4th) host Plenty Valley (5th) at AG Gillon Oval. Both sides started the season well before a couple of losses put the brakes on their positive starts. For the Bats, they will be looking for their bowlers to bounce back strongly after last week’s battle against Jess Duffin and Prahran, while the Strikers need to pick up more responsibility with the bat down the order. The wicket of Ellie Mason will be key as the Strikers have won when she has scored a century and lost when she hasn’t against two good sides. A tough game to determine a winner for.
Prahran (1st) host Essendon Maribyrnong Park (6th) at Toorak Park. There may not have been too many people who would have said that EMP would only have 1 win after 4 rounds with the side they have on paper, but indifferent form and Australian duties have combined to see a slow start for the Bombers and it will not be any easier against the in-form, undefeated True Blues. Prahran can be thankful for the start their stars (Duffin, Sutherland, Inglis, Kershaw & King) have provided in the first 4 rounds, but will need to be wary of not ‘falling into a trap’ against the Bombers and slipping up.
Finally, Ringwood (8th) host Box Hill (3rd) at Russell Lucas Oval. The Rams again battled against EMP last weekend but will be better for the experience for all their squad members, while the Mustangs took the points against Dandenong with Zoe Griffiths the matchwinner. The Rams can take some positives in that last week was the first time they bowled a side out this season, while the Mustangs will be keen to build on their position inside the Top 4 at present. Box Hill to start as favourites.
Congratulations go to the following members within Premier Cricket for the following recent and upcoming milestones:
MEN’S PREMIER 1STS
ROUND 5 – SATURDAY 3 & SATURDAY 10 NOVEMBER (11:00am Start)
ST KILDA V NORTHCOTE at Junction Oval
Umpires R Birch & C James
CAMBERWELL MAGPIES V CASEY-SOUTH MELBOURNE at Camberwell Sports Ground
Umpires L Edwards & A Barrow
CARLTON V FRANKSTON PENINSULA at Princes Park #1
Umpires G Azzopardi & M Malmberg
DANDENONG V MONASH TIGERS at Shepley Oval
Umpires S Olufson & R Hubbard
ESSENDON V KINGSTON HAWTHORN at Windy Hill
Umpires D Brigham & M Robertson
FOOTSCRAY V RINGWOOD at Mervyn G Hughes Oval
Umpires D Ireland & C Lai
GREENVALE KANGAROOS V PRAHRAN at Greenvale Reserve #1
Umpires M van Eck & M Muthugounder
MELBOURNE UNIVERSITY V GEELONG at University Main Oval
Umpires C Grant & A Medina
FITZROY DONCASTER V MELBOURNE at Schramms Reserve #1
Umpires R McKinnon & G Bawa
WOMEN’S PREMIER 1STS
ROUND 5 – SUNDAY 4 NOVEMBER (11:00am Start)
DANDENONG V MELBOURNE at Greaves Reserve #4
Umpires S Fishley & J Walker
CARLTON-BRUNSWICK V PLENTY VALLEY at AG Gillon Oval
Umpires A Barrow & K Faulkner
PRAHRAN V ESSENDON MARIBYRNONG PARK at Toorak Park
Umpires B Sheahan & S Awekar
RINGWOOD V BOX HILL at Russell Lucas Oval
Umpires I Leach & L McCabe