Last Saturday saw the weather gods doing their best to curtail the opening day of red ball matches, with rain impacting to some degree across all venues. It was a credit to all involved across the day to enable the amount of cricket that was achieved in the available playing times, with games to continue as they currently stand this Saturday, with numerous games starting at 10am or have agreed variations to start time due to the recouping of lost time on Day Two.
At Camberwell Sports Ground, the Magpies have set the Monash Tigers 255 to get for the points. Alec Smith (93) led the batting card for the Magpies, with support from Matt Whittaker (34) and Ben Rowles (32) in support, while Marcus Berryman (4/57) and Dom Matarazzo (3/35). The Tigers will need to find some runs out of their top order, who will look to relish the opportunity to bat all day, with Jake Fraser-McGurk likely to be the key to the run chase, while Marcus Berryman and Dom Matarazzo will need to produce some handy runs be in with a chance. If the Magpies can find wickets at regular intervals, they will come away with the points.
At Casey Fields #4, Carlton will resume at 0/20 chasing Casey-South Melbourne’s total of 190. The Swans did well to achieve this total after losing wickets at regular intervals, with the two Nathan’s – Lambden (53) and Freitag (52) capitalizing while skipper Luke Wells (31) also had a start at the top of the card. For the Blues, Cam Stevenson (4/48) continued his early-season form with the ball, with support from Tom Smyth (3/28). Early wicket on Day Two will be key for the Swans if they want to get the win, with Brayden Stepien (11*) and Tom Smyth (9*) at the wicket, while the likes of Evan Gulbis, Nick Ross, Donovan Pell, Harrison Smyth and Mackenzie Harvey all to come in at some point for the Blues. Advantage Blues at this stage on paper.
At Shepley Oval, Geelong have the advantage after a day full of twists and turns. The Cats batted first after being sent in and scrounged a total of 155, with Josh McDonald (38) and Dom McGlinchey (34) leading with the willow, while Panther James Nanopoulos (7/43) was the chief destroyer. In return, Dandenong went from 1/21 to an eventual Stumps score of 6/54 after an inspired spell of bowling from McGlinchey (5/22) saw him rip apart the Panthers batting line-up. If the Cats can dismiss Panthers captain Tom Donnell (27*) early on Day Two, then they will claim 1st Innings points but will there be enough time for a further result in a match that has been full of change?
At Russell Lucas Oval, only 28.1 overs were played but that was enough for Essendon to cause carnage with the hosts Ringwood left at 8/67 when play was abandoned. Tom Rogers (22) and skipper Patrick Ashton (19*) were left to rebuild the innings after Tom O’Donnell (4/30) and a Matt Doric hat-trick (3/33) left the Rams at 5/7 and then 6/22. With Liam Bowe (1/0 off 0.1) to resume to Matt Fotia, Essendon are certainly in the advantage of taking 1st Innings points. The decision will be with skipper Michael Hill as to whether he looks to push for a distant outright result or use the time for batting. Gut feel says there could be a result in the bag by the lunch break.
At Toorak Park, Fitzroy Doncaster will resume at 1/74 in pursuit of Prahran’s total of 174. The True Blues score was led by skipper Jake Hancock (60) and saw a last-wicket stand of 48 between Steven Seymour (35*) and Sam Grimwade (18) that got them to a defendable score, against Jake Sherriff (5/32) and Ejaaz Alavi (2/22). In reply, the Lions responded strongly and saw the score to 72 before Zac Elliott (43) was dismissed. Jack Russ (24*) and Noah Korkolis (1*) will resume the chase and will be keen to get the target chased before the Prahran attack look to get their revenge. I expect there will be some nervous heart flutters close to the end of the chase but the Lions will be roaring come the end of the game.
At the CitiPower Centre, Footscray will resume their innings at 2/165 after 58.1 overs against St Kilda. Matt Underwood (91*) and Dean Russ (24*) will resume with their partnership at an unbeaten 83, with the Saints struggling for penetration despite the figures of Shea Gribben (1/10 off 11). The key for the Dogs will be to get as many runs as they can from their remaining overs to give themselves a chance of winning the match, as the Saints batting line-up is more than capable of chasing a reasonable target if they have enough time but they will want to avoid being dismissed by their ex-teammate James Muirhead. Gut feel says if the Dogs can push towards 300 then it will be a game that will go to the wire and winnable by both sides.
At AH Butler Oval, Kingston Hawthorn will resume at 0/15 in chase of Frankston Peninsula’s total of 294. For the Heat, the batting card was led by all-rounder Brodie Symons (96) and new keeper Brodie Eccles (64), with a 66-run stand for the 10th wicket between Eccles and Jamin Barron-Topp (14*) pushing the score to a more challenging task. For the Hawks, Jack Fowler (4/105) and Jake Rigby (2/36) were the pick of their bowlers, while Matt Acocks (3*) and Sam Newell (12*) will resume the chase for the Hawks. The Hawks will be keen to push for a second win after defeating the Greenvale Kangaroos in the One Day games but will be pushing hard if a Nick Boland or Brodie Symons happen to get rolling with the ball. Heat with the advantage in this one.
At Greenvale Reserve #1, Melbourne University will resume at 2/191 against the Greenvale Kangaroos with Alex Gregory (71*) and Andrej Yaksender (0*) at the crease. Uni’s innings was setup by the opening stand of 73 between fill-in skipper Fergus McKenna (28) and Harrison Emms (90). While the Roos were able to work hard with the ball, only Sean McNicholl (1/57 off 22) and Humza Ali (1/46 off 18) were the only bowlers to see reward for their efforts. With Uni setup in a strong position, the Roos will have to be prepared to be chasing a score in the vicinity of the 300 mark and will be a good test to see how their batsmen go against the Uni attack of Steven Reid, Mark Stafford, Fawad Ahmed and Alex Gregory. Uni with the advantage in this game.
Finally, at the Albert Ground, the hosts Melbourne will resume at 3/65 in pursuit of Northcote’s total of 182. The Dragons innings saw several starts with the bat with Josh Sundberg (43), Mark Phelan (37), Joe Medew-Ewen (30) and Lachlan Fitzpatrick (22) all finding good time in the middle. For the Demons, Jackson Coleman (4/43) led the bowlers, with Fergus O’Neill (2/31), Kieran Elliott (2/36) and skipper Cameron White (2/32) also taking wickets. In return, the Demons will need Blake Thomson (39*) and skipper White (12*) to take charge and get the bulk of the target as the batting starts to thin out after Jack Harper, while Sam Harbinson (2/33) leads the Dragons’ attack after last weekend. If the Dragons’ can get at least 3 wickets in the first 90 minutes of play they will hold the power in the game, otherwise Melbourne will come away with the points.
The Women’s 1st XI competition last weekend saw Ringwood and Melbourne charge up the ladder with points from wins in both games against Dandenong and Carlton-Brunswick respectively, while the points were shared in the EMP vs Prahran and Plenty Valley vs Box Hill encounters. There were numerous individual highlights spread out over the course of the day’s play, with some games going down to the wire and some good run chases achieved.
Plenty Valley (6th) take on Essendon Maribyrnong Park (3rd) at AK Line Reserve. The Bats hung on for a 2-run win in Game 1 against Box Hill before dropping the second game by 7 wickets, while the Bombers accounted for Prahran by 9 wickets in Game 1 chasing 149 before dropping Game 2 by 3 wickets defending just 101. The Bats were led well by Jasmine Nevins and the two Sophies (Reid and Day) last week and will need to get some support from the rest of the team to be a chance against the Bombers, who have the experienced hands of Nat Schilov, Makinley Blows and Briana Binch in their ranks. Unless the Bats can force a major batting collapse in one of the games, then the Bombers will start favourites to take the points from both games.
Prahran (1st) take on Box Hill (4th) at Toorak Park. The True Blues were somewhat lucky in taking the points in Game 2 against EMP after being unluckily on the wrong end of a run chase of 149, while Box Hill took out Game 2 against Plenty Valley after falling agonisingly short in Game 1 by just 2 runs. The True Blues saw some form from their Dutch Internationals Robine Rijke (2/11 in Game 2) and Sterre Kalis (67* in Game 1) and will need to find some extra support with the ball against the Mustangs batting card led by Anna Lanning. On paper, the Mustangs appear to have some more depth with their bowling line-up, and I suspect this could be the difference in these games, with the Mustangs more of a chance to take both games out.
Dandenong (7th) take on Melbourne (2nd) at Greaves Reserve #4. The Panthers were quite competitive against Ringwood last weekend but lost by 6 wickets defending 106 before falling just short in Game 2 (8/98 against 9/90), while the Demons took out both games against Carlton-Brunswick with a tight win in Game 1 (8/96 vs 83) before a 47-run win in Game 2 off the back of Elly Donald’s knock of 70. The Panthers are relying a lot on the efforts of skipper Emma Gallagher and Maryam Omar, with a lot of starts not being converted at this point of the season and will not find the task any easier against the Melbourne line-up. Expect the Demons to be travelling back to the Albert Ground with another 4 points in the bank and potentially the top position on the ladder.
Finally, Carlton-Brunswick (8th) take on Ringwood (5th) at Princes Park #1. The Strikers were competitive in Game 1 against Melbourne but failed to chase the target of 97 after being bundled out for just 83, before only making 110 in reply to a target of 158 in Game 2. The Rams brought their season back on track with the points from both games against Dandenong with a 6-wicket win in Game 1 followed by an 8-run win in Game 2. New Ringwood skipper Bhavisha Devchand is proving to be a key link in how the Rams play and the Strikers will be keen to get her cheap to help their chances, while the Rams will be keen to keep the Strikers to achievable totals. Gut feel says there could be a splitting of points here with this set of matches.
The following Milestones were also achieved last weekend during play:
WOMEN’S PREMIER 1STS
ROUND 9 & 10 T20 – SUNDAY 3 NOVEMBER (10:00am and 2:00pm Start)
PLENTY VALLEY VS ESSENDON MARIBYRNONG PARK at AK Line Reserve
Umpires C Lai & S Fishley
PRAHRAN VS BOX HILL at Toorak Park
Umpires C Grant & K Faulkner
DANDENONG VS MELBOURNE at Greaves Reserve #4
Umpires R Harrison & P Welbourn
CARLTON-BRUNSWICK VS RINGWOOD at Princes Park #1
Umpires D Brigham & L McCabe