The first day of Round 12 saw plenty of interesting scores and positions in matches, with two first innings results already achieved (one through a magnificent spell of bowling that saw a club record broken) and majestic maiden knocks from two batsmen for their respective clubs.
At the Camberwell Sports Ground, the hosts will resume at 5/80 chasing Fitzroy Doncaster’s score of 144. The Lions were led by Peter Dickson, whose score of 75* saw him become only the 9th player in the history of Victorian Premier Cricket to pass 10,000 1st XI runs (with the Camberwell Magpies’ Simon Hill the only other currently active member of the group on the field at the time of achievement), while Andrew Fekete (3/56) led the Pies’ attack. In reply, the Magpies will need to rely on Thomas Russ (26*) if they are to take first innings points while surviving the Lions attack, led by Nick Fletcher (3/27), while the visitors will need early wickets to take the points. Gut feel says advantage just with the Lions at this point of the game.
At Princes Park #1, St Kilda will resume at 0/13 chasing Carlton’s score of 252. The Blues’ total was led by Lachie McKenna (60) and captain/coach Evan Gulbis (56), while the Saints attack was led well by Simon O’Brien (4/22) and Jonathan Merlo (4/76). The Blues are coming into the Finals run full of confidence after taking out the Vic SUPER SLAM Grand Slam and Renegades Conference titles and will be keen to keep their current Top 2 position in their control, while the Saints will need to find some hard-fought runs from their top order who have been finding this currency a little harder to obtain across the current season. If Adam Crosthwaite can get going with the willow and have some support then the Saints can go close, but on the recent bowling strength, Carlton are sitting ahead.
At Casey Fields #4, one of the talking points of last Saturday was the innings composed by Casey-South Melbourne’s debutant opener Ashley Chandrasinghe, whose knock of 144 on debut (ably supported by keeper Devin Pollock’s 80) saw the Swans finish the day at 9/332 against Northcote. The Dragons had few answers to this outstanding knock until Jonty Rushton (4/47) dismissed the opener late in the day. With the availability of overs but being 9 wickets down it would appear the Dragons may be batting straight away and will need to find runs from Mark Phelan, Josh Sundberg and the rest of the top order if they want to get the win to stay in the Top 8 and keep their Finals chances alive. A battle that would appear that the result won’t be known until late in the day.
At Greenvale Reserve #1, Dandenong have already secured first innings points and are going for the Outright to give them an outside chance of pushing for Finals. Last Saturday was the James Nanopoulos show, with the all-rounder’s figures of 9/26 when dismissing the hosts for just 49 breaking the Dandenong record for best bowling in an innings and was oh-so-close to having the perfect 10. The Panthers replied with 9/167 before declaring with Cameron Forsyth (46) leading the batting and Humza Ali (3/39) and Sean McNicholl (3/65) the Roos best with the ball. With the hosts at 3/39 in the 2nd innings and Nanopoulos sitting on 11 wickets for the day, there is still a chance of another big haul sending the historians further into the records. Panthers on track for the outright.
At Windy Hill, the hosts will resume the day at 1/37 chasing Geelong’s total of 258 with Aaron Ayre already back in the sheds. The Cats’ did well to make this total after their top-order collapse, with the second-gamer Joshua Larkin scoring an unbeaten 111 in his maiden Premier 1st XI innings. Larkin was supported by Thomas Jackson (45) and Hayden Butterworth (39), while Matt Doric (3/67) found some wickets after a quieter patch in recent games. With James Seymour at the crease and Michael Hill still yet to bat the Bombers are certainly still in the hunt but will require one of them to match Larkin’s century and have some valuable support if they are to chase the target down, while the Cats will need to find early wickets if they want to stay in the Finals hunt. Both sides are still in this one.
At Mervyn G Hughes Oval, the hosts will resume the day at 6/165 with a lead of 56 against Melbourne. The Dogs provided the surprise of the day with their dismantling of the Demons’ batting card, led by Jonah Koch (5/32) and Jordan Buckingham (4/34), with only Matthew Brown (31) getting a start. In reply, Travis Dean (70) found some of the form that eluded him when representing the state at the start of the summer and skipper Dylan Kight (34*) will be keen to continue his time in the middle. If the Dogs’ can somehow get their score up to a total around the 220 mark, then the pressure will be on the Demons to avoid a potential outright result and with their batting card you would think it can be done but funny things happen in those situations. Dogs in the box seat.
At AH Butler Oval, the hosts will resume their innings at 1/30 in reply to Ringwood’s total of 229. The Rams’ were best served by import Harry Came (81*), while support from David King (46) and Josh Hartill (36) was valuable. For the Heat, Brodie Symons (3/36) was handy again with the ball, but the loss of skipper Christopher Dew before stumps was a blow to the Heat. With the match very much in the balance, the first hour will be the key in this game as the Heat batsmen are certainly capable of batting deep and chasing the total, while the Rams’ will need to find some early wickets to put pressure on the younger members of the Heat squad and force mistakes. On current form, the Rams’ will need to win this to stay in the Finals race but am not expecting this to be an easy task.
At Walter Galt Reserve, the Monash Tigers will resume at 0/56 in reply to the host side’s score of 174. The Hawks recovered from a top-order collapse through Shorye Chopra (62) and keeper Joel Lewis (59) before Mitch Perry (3/28) and the Tigers’ attack put an end to things. In reply, Kyle Viccars (29*) and Krishna Padmanabhan (26*) have laid the foundations of the run chase so far. For the Hawks to have a chance of back-to-back wins they will need to have to find 4 wickets in the first hour to really upset any momentum the Tigers have, while the Tigers will need their younger members to bide their time and chase the total or have their senior heads play anchor roles if they want to secure another set of points. At this stage, the Tigers appear to have their claws in this game.
Finally, at the University Main Oval, Prahran will resume their innings at 5/110 in reply to the host side’s score of 194. Uni’s innings was led by Jarrod Martignago (71), with support from Alex Gregory (47) and Andre Yaksender (31) before Andrew Perrin (6/37) and Sam Cook (3/63) snuffed out their chance of passing the 200 mark. In reply, the True Blues have seen starts from Stephen Seymour (39) and James Billington (27) before Mark Stafford (3/40) and Alex Gregory (2/30) kept things in check. With the game in the balance, Uni will be keen to keep their hold on top spot and not let it slip to neighbours Carlton, while the True Blues won’t want to slip outside the Top 8 if other results go against them. At this stage of the game, Uni have their noses in front to retain top spot.
Women’s Premier Cricket saw some quality cricket played across the Australia Day weekend. Highlights saw:
Round 9 will see all 1st XI matches on Sunday and with the rounds running out the pressure will only look to increase for those sides that are looking to secure a Finals spot.
Prahran (2nd) take on Carlton-Brunswick (6th) at Toorak Park. The True Blues are continuing to notch up the points (with a 7-game winning streak) and keep the pressure on EMP, while the Strikers have only seen success once in the last 6 rounds. With the True Blues top order looking quite threatening in recent rounds and making strong scores, this will put pressure on the Strikers’ bowling card who have been finding it a challenge to match the top sides and their batting card has been the weakest of any of the sides this season for runs scored. On current form, Prahran will go in as favourites.
Dandenong (7th) take on Melbourne (5th) at Shepley Oval. The Panthers have won back-to-back games and will have to give themselves every chance of making it 3-from-3 against a Melbourne side that appears to be a shadow of the team that won last season’s One Day Premiership. The area that would appear to concern the Dees so far is that their side has conceded the most runs against and will need to restrict their opponents to a low score if they want to break this run of poor form, while the Panthers are running on confidence and may just provide the upset of the round in this match.
Ringwood (8th) host Essendon Maribyrnong Park (1st) at Russell Lucas Oval. The Rams were soundly defeated by Dandenong while the Bombers continue their sight-seeing at the top of the table with a solid win over Melbourne. The big concern for the Rams has been their lack of penetration with the ball (lowest wickets taken of any side and 2nd-highest runs conceded), while the Bombers are due for a big innings if they can settle in early with their batting card (as they have the 2nd-fewest runs scored for). On current form, expect the Bombers to return home with the points.
Finally, Box Hill (3rd) host Plenty Valley (4th) at Box Hill City Oval. The Mustangs would be feeling confident but annoyed that they are sitting inside the Top 4 while having had 2 of their past 3 matches washed out (with one when close to victory), while the Bats will be keen to take in some lessons from last week’s game after their late-overs capitulation when in the box seat. The big battle will be between the Mustangs batting card (highest for runs scored for) against the Bats’ bowling (3rd-fewest wickets taken but 3rd-least runs scored against). On form, Box Hill start favourites.
Congratulations go to the following members within Premier Cricket:
The following Milestones were achieved last weekend:
WOMEN’S PREMIER 1STS
ROUND 9 ONE DAY – SUNDAY 2 FEBRUARY (11:00am Start)
PRAHRAN V CARLTON-BRUNSWICK at Toorak Park
Umpires C James & V Calabro
DANDENONG V MELBOURNE at Shepley Oval
Umpires A Barrow & R Harrison
RINGWOOD V ESSENDON MARIBYRNONG PARK at Russell Lucas Oval
Umpires J Leonard-Scott & S Fishley
BOX HILL V PLENTY VALLEY at Box Hill City Oval
Umpires M Muthugounder & M Rogers