Last weekend saw clubs and curators battle against the elements in the lead-up to Day Two on the Saturday, with most grounds winning the battle. A total of 26 games out of the 36 in the Men’s grades were able to see play commence on the weekend, with 7 out of 9 Men’s 1st XI games seeing a resumption in play (with ground conditions ruling out play at Geelong Cricket Ground for Geelong v Footscray and Princes Park #1 for Carlton v St Kilda).
In the games that were able to get play commenced, there were a wide variety of results.
Round 9 will see the return of the coloured gear, with this round being a One Day round with white ball being used. This will also continue for Rounds 10 & 11 after the Christmas/New Year break.
St Kilda (4th) will host neighbours Melbourne (10th) at the Junction Oval. Both sides are coming off weather-impacted draws and will be keen to secure points prior to the Christmas break. The Saints will be looking to stay inside the top 4 while the Demons will be looking to keep in touch with the top 8. Both sides are capable of playing quality cricket and will be keen to play their best on the Junction Oval on Saturday. The big catch will be to see how many of their respective National and BBL reps will be away for this match. Saints to start as favourite but this could go either way.
Casey-South Melbourne (8th) will host Footscray (16th) at Casey Fields #4. The Swans will be wanting to rebound strongly after last round’s loss to bottom-placed Kingston Hawthorn, while the Dogs will be filthy for the weather washing away their chance of points on the road at Geelong after setting the Cats 400 to get. The Swans have been relying largely on the experience of Luke Wells and Nathan Lambden, while the younger and inexperienced players for the Dogs like Ashley Armstrong and Nathan Caulfield are starting to hit their straps and support their more experienced campaigners. Will this be enough to upset the Swans this weekend? My gut feel says there could be an upset on the cards here if the Swans don’t ‘pull their socks up’!
Dandenong (7th) will take on Frankston Peninsula (15th) at Shepley Oval. The Panthers did well to hold off Melbourne at the Albert Ground for a draw last week, while the Heat succumbed to a determined Greenvale Kangaroos at home. The Panthers are just sitting 2 points inside the top 8, while the Heat will be determined to produce another upset and have something to cheer about for the Christmas break. On paper, the Panthers appear to be far stronger but will need to be ‘switched on’ from the outset to take the points.
Ringwood (14th) take on Prahran (12th) at Russell Lucas Oval. The Rams struggled all game at Windy Hill against Essendon while the True Blues gave themselves a spark they desperately needed with their win over Northcote. This match will be a battle of the big guns, with David King and Ian Holland for the Rams fronting up against Jake Hancock and Adam Bull. Whoever wins the battle out of these 4 batsmen will go a long way to winning this match. On recent form, this suggest the visiting Prahran side but it won’t be an easy match for either team.
Fitzroy Doncaster (1st) will be keen to stay on the top of the ladder when they host the Monash Tigers (13th) at Schramms Reserve #1. The Lions this season have made a habit of recovering from shaky positions against opposition teams and this might be an opportunity that the Monash Tigers need to capitalize on with the ball. The Tigers on the other hand need to find some more runs with the bat as things have gone a bit cold in that department lately. Despite the ladder positions, this game will be one to keep an eye on at the weekend as both sides can win this. Runs on the board may be the difference in this game.
The Camberwell Magpies (9th) will get a true measurement of where they sit when they host Essendon (2nd) at the Camberwell Sports Ground. The Magpies were on the wrong end of Fitzroy Doncaster’s performance last Saturday after having them on the ropes, while Essendon were rarely troubled against Ringwood. If Liam Bowe and Clint McKay don’t play for the Bombers due to BBL commitments, that will make the Magpies’ batting job a little easier but they will still have to contend with James Seymour, Michael Hill and Aaron Ayre to bowl to. The Magpies will be relying heavily on the opening pair of Andrew Fekete and Will Walker, while they will need the batting to fire, with import Lewis McManus due for a big score. Essendon to start favourites but it could be closer than expected.
Greenvale Kangaroos (17th) will host Carlton (3rd) at Greenvale Reserve #1. The Roos will be looking to capitalize on their victory over Frankston Peninsula last round but will find themselves with a great challenge against a Blues side brimming with confidence despite having their match against St Kilda washed out last weekend. The Roos are starting to find some run scorers with Sunam Gautam and Anthony Barton having both made a century this season, while the bowling is slowly strengthening. The Blues have one of the most dominating batting line-ups if they all fire and can call on a quality bowling line-up that has seen them inside the top 4 to now. While the Roos are continually on the improve, the Blues will have to start favourites in this one.
Melbourne University (5th) will host Kingston Hawthorn (18th) at the University Main Oval. Uni scraped home ‘by the skin of their teeth’ last round against the Monash Tigers, while the Hawks pulled off a major upset by knocking off Casey-South Melbourne at the Walter Galt. The Hawks needed a spark after a run of poor results but will need all their determination against a strong Uni line-up that is capable of anything. With Steven Reid and Alex Gregory in strong form with the ball for Uni, the Hawks will be needing things to go their way to keep in the contest. Uni to start favourites at home.
Finally, Northcote (11th) will host Geelong (6th) at Bill Lawry Oval. The Dragons let one slip against Prahran last weekend, while Geelong were the benefactors of last week’s wet weather after being set 400 to get by Footscray. The Dragons are playing some positive cricket in recent rounds and have been pushing up the ladder, while the Cats have been ‘hot and cold’ over the season but still sit inside the top 8. This match could put some extra pressure on those in the bottom half of the 8 if results go a certain way and is certainly capable of happening. Geelong to start favourites……..just.
Congratulations go to the following members within Premier Cricket for the following recent and upcoming milestones:
Finally, the PCMT wishes all members of Premier Cricket the best for the Festive Season and remind everyone to be mindful and take care if travelling anywhere across this time.
MEN’S PREMIER 1STS
ROUND 9 – SATURDAY 22 DECEMBER (11:00am Start)
ST KILDA V MELBOURNE at Junction Oval
Umpires B Davies & R Patterson
CASEY-SOUTH MELBOURNE V FOOTSCRAY at Casey Fields #4
Umpires A Hawking & S Pitts
DANDENONG V FRANKSTON PENINSULA at Shepley Oval
Umpires M van Eck & M Muthugounder
RINGWOOD V PRAHRAN at Russell Lucas Oval
Umpires A Barrow & C Grant
FITZROY DONCASTER V MONASH TIGERS at Schramms Reserve #1
Umpires D Ireland & M Malmberg
CAMBERWELL MAGPIES V ESSENDON at Camberwell Sports Ground
Umpires C Lai & D Brigham
GREENVALE KANGAROOS V CARLTON at Greenvale Reserve #1
Umpires J Leonard-Scott & M Nolan
MELBOURNE UNIVERSITY V KINGSTON HAWTHORN at University Main Oval
Umpires G Bawa & G Azzopardi
NORTHCOTE V GEELONG at Bill Lawry Oval
Umpires B Sheahan & S Olufson