The Opening Weekend of the 2019/20 Victorian Premier Cricket went off largely without a hitch, with only a solitary 4th XI game (out of the 52 across Men’s and Women’s Premier grades) having to be abandoned due to unfortunate ground conditions.
The Men’s 1st XI saw the opening weekend have a ‘bit of everything’ – batting collapses, successful run chases, targets being defended and games that went down to the wire. Highlights included:
The Camberwell Magpies will host Melbourne at the Camberwell Sports Ground. The Magpies were successful on the road with a last-over victory against Geelong and will be keen to make use of this early momentum, while the Demons were competitive against Ringwood but a loss of early top-order wickets ultimately put paid to any chance of victory. The Demons’ have seen Chris Tremain and Sam Harper called to Victorian duties and will be keen for skipper Cameron White or Meyrick Buchanan to fire with the willow and some more success for their bowling attack, while the Magpies will be looking to shut down the Demons’ batting line-up early. Tough game to pick a winner and could go either way.
Melbourne University will host neighbours Carlton at the University Main Ground. Uni were lucky to come away with the points against Dandenong with just the last wicket pair standing when the target was reached, while last years’ premiers the Blues will need to pick themselves off the canvas after a monster batting collapse saw them go from 1/50 to All Out 75 against Essendon. This game will be a key battle between Uni’s bowlers and Carlton’s batsmen as to see who will come out on top. Gut feel suggests Carlton’s experience may just hold them in good stead to rebound from Round 1’s loss.
Geelong will host Casey-South Melbourne at the Geelong Cricket Ground. The Cats’ were ruing a series of starts from their batsmen as they found themselves falling short of the points in defending by 2 balls, while the Swans would rather forget last weekend’s batting performance against Prahran. I expect the Swans to bounce back with the willow and will be enticed by the beautiful batting conditions that the Geelong Cricket Ground normally produce to get some form while the Cats will be looking to get someone in the Top 4 batsmen to produce a big knock. Geelong at home to start favourites, but don’t discount the Swans in any shape.
Footscray will host Dandenong at the Mervyn G Hughes Oval. The Dogs’ started positively with a 9-wicket win over Kingston Hawthorn thanks to Dean Russ (116*) and Travis Dean (75*), while the Panthers just fell short against Melbourne University at home. With the Panthers’ bowling attack looking more towards medium pacers and spinners, this may work in their favour a little as it may not let the Dogs’ batsmen settle too easily, while the Dogs’ will be keen to see some success for recruits Jake Reed and James Muirhead with the ball and Travis Dean with the bat (after not being named for Victoria). The Dogs with the home ground advantage to start with their noses in front.
Essendon will take on the Greenvale Kangaroos at Windy Hill. The Bombers played a blinder in the first round against the reigning premiers in Carlton and took the points very convincingly, while the Kangaroos showed some positive signs but were ultimately outplayed by St Kilda by 9 wickets. With the early finish last week, several of the Bombers’ squad will be coming into this game looking for a chance to show their abilities, while the Kangaroos will be keen to give it their best and see more out of the new players in their line-up. Essendon strong favourites at home.
Fitzroy Doncaster will host St Kilda at Schramms Reserve #1. The Lions took the biscuits in the opening round at home against the Monash Tigers, but look to have possibly lost Peter Dickson to a recurring hamstring issue. For the Saints, a 9-wicket win over a new-look Greenvale was a positive start but will be missing both Nic Maddinson and Peter Handscomb who took the field last week on State duties. I feel the Saints will have the advantage in this match with a little more experience in their bowling line-up in comparison to the Lions’ attack after a busy off-season of departures.
Frankston Peninsula will host the Monash Tigers at AH Butler Oval. The Heat were successful in the opening round with a last-over victory over Northcote, while the Tigers were competitive but ultimately inexperience with the willow was the reason for the loss against the Lions. I expect this game will be a lot closer than what it may have looked like in past seasons, with the battle being down to the Tigers’ batting against the Heat bowlers (minus Scott Boland on Victorian duties). Whoever wins this battle may just take the points for their side with them. Gut feel says the Heat to just squeeze by and go 2-0 to the season come Saturday Night.
Prahran will host Kingston Hawthorn at Toorak Park. The True Blues dominated proceedings at Casey Fields by rolling the home side for just 45 and took the points, while the Hawks showed improvement with the bat against Footscray to set a competitive target before they were overtaken by an experienced Dogs’ batting card. Like Essendon, the True Blues will be going into this match with several players with limited involvement from the first game and they will be keen to get some form. For the Hawks, the batting appears to be promising but will need more games to get a better picture, while the bowling needs to find something to challenge opposition line-ups. Prahran to start favourites in this one.
Finally, Ringwood will host Northcote at Russell Lucas Oval. The Rams’ began with a victory over Melbourne and will be keen to go 2-0 and celebrate Tom Stray’s induction to the CV 200 Club. The Dragons took it up to Frankston Peninsula and just fell short in the last over defending 238 in a very tight game and would be able to match the Rams’ on paper. With Stray back in the Rams’ line-up and helping David King with the batting and Ian Holland still to return to the side, the Dragons will need Mark Phelan to fire in his 100th match and will need support to keep in touch. Rams to start favourites at home.
The Women’s 1st XI competition saw a reasonably even weekend’s play, with only Prahran coming away with both wins in their respective T20s against Carlton-Brunswick.
This weekend will see some interesting T20 matches occur, with some WBBL Interstate and Overseas players potentially lining up for their allocated clubs.
Melbourne will host Box Hill at the Albert Ground. Both sides were better for the run, with some promising signs shown last weekend. The Mustangs were able to defend just a target of 99 in Game 1 against Ringwood, before the Rams’ rebounded and chased 103 in Game 2. The Demons were able to defend 125 against EMP in Game 1 before the Bombers’ restricted them to just 9/84 chasing 110 in Game 2. The Demons’ will be keen to capitalize on the use of the Albert Ground while the Mustangs will be keen to spoil their party. I feel there could be a split of points on Sunday.
Plenty Valley will play Carlton-Brunswick at Princes Park #1 (this game being moved from Yarrambat due to ground works). The Bats’ were successful in their first game against Dandenong defending 118, before Dandenong chased 117 in the 2nd game. The Strikers were competitive in the first game against Prahran reaching 135 chasing 181, before only getting 97 in response to 191 in Game 2. With the Strikers team needing some time to gel together with some new faces, I would think the Bats would be in a prime position to take the points from both games.
Prahran will play Dandenong at Toorak Park. The True Blues made easy work of the Strikers last weekend, with only 4 players requiring a bat and defending big totals, while the reigning T20 title holding Panthers had a mixed day at home against Plenty Valley. With the True Blues top order already showing strong signs with the bat, the pressure will be on the Panthers to get early wickets and expose those that have not been required to bat so far. The likely scenario is for the True Blues to take the points in both games, but I won’t entirely rule out the Panthers from splitting the points.
Finally, Ringwood will host Essendon Maribyrnong Park at Russell Lucas Oval. The Rams’ took the points in the 2nd game against Box Hill after a disappointing collapse in Game 1, while the Bombers were able to defend a moderate total in Game 2 after being overrun in Game 1 chasing. With the Bombers’ expected to be making use of their contracted players while available, they will stand in favouritism for these two matches, with the likelihood of the Bombers taking all the points back to Aberfeldie Park strong but expect the Rams’ to not make things easy.
Congratulations go to the following members within Premier Cricket:
MEN’S PREMIER 1STS
ROUND 2 – SATURDAY 12 OCTOBER (11:00am Start)
CAMBERWELL MAGPIES V MELBOURNE at Camberwell Sports Ground
Umpires G Azzopardi & M Muthugounder
MELBOURNE UNIVERSITY V CARLTON at University Main Oval
Umpires L Uthenwoldt & M van Eck
GEELONG V CASEY-SOUTH MELBOURNE at Geelong Cricket Ground
Umpires D Brigham & M Robertson
FOOTSCRAY V DANDENONG at Mervyn G Hughes Oval
Umpires G Bawa & T Wendelken
ESSENDON V GREENVALE KANGAROOS at Windy Hill
Umpires R McKinnon & B Davies
FITZROY DONCASTER V ST KILDA at Schramms Reserve #1
Umpires D Ireland & M Nolan
FRANKSTON PENINSULA V MONASH TIGERS at AH Butler Oval
Umpires V Calabro & J Leonard-Scott
PRAHRAN V KINGSTON HAWTHORN at Toorak Park
Umpires R Birch & S Pitts
RINGWOOD V NORTHCOTE at Russell Lucas Oval
Umpires C Lai & B Sheahan
WOMEN’S PREMIER 1STS
ROUND 3 & 4 T20 – SUNDAY 13 OCTOBER (10:00am and 2:00pm Start)
MELBOURNE V BOX HILL at Albert Ground
Umpires G Bawa & R Hubbard
PLENTY VALLEY V CARLTON-BRUNSWICK at Princes Park #1
Umpires C Grant & C James
PRAHRAN V DANDENONG at Toorak Park
Umpires W Downey & M Malmberg
RINGWOOD V ESSENDON MARIBYRNONG PARK at Russell Lucas Oval
Umpires A Medina & S Olufson