Round 15 has arrived after last weekend’s rescheduled One Day round was undertaken and after last week’s action, 9 teams are left fighting to lock in their Finals appearance for this season.
Highlights from last weekend’s matches included:
The Men’s competitions return to the Saturday/Saturday play for the last round, with some sides fighting to lock in their Finals appearance this year, while other teams are playing for pride and to finish on a high.
Ringwood (10th) host the Camberwell Magpies (11th) at Russell Lucas Oval. Both sides are still slim chances of making the Finals but the winner of the game would have to win Outright and rely on at least 2 of the sides between 6th and 9th losing their games to sneak in. The Rams have been competitive but will be ruing their tardiness with their over rates during the season as they have lost points as a result and would have had less margin to make up, while the Magpies will be keen to rebound after their horror showing against Essendon last weekend. On current form, the gut feel says Ringwood with the advantage with the bat but I doubt the Outright can be achieved.
Carlton (2nd) host Footscray (3rd) at Princes Park #1. For both sides, this will be a great tune-up for Finals with the extra incentive being the winner to have a home Qualifying Final. The Blues will also have extra practice mid-match as they will be journeying to Adelaide to defend their National Premier T20 title. On paper, both sides have strong batting cards and there are several experienced campaigners that will be keen to perform in a Finals-like intensity match, while the bowling will be the area that can make-or-break each side. On current form, I feel the experience of the Carlton bowling attack will be the difference in this match and will carry the Blues to a home final.
Melbourne University (1st) host Casey-South Melbourne (14th) at the University Main Oval. Uni have all but locked in the Minor Premiership with an 8-point buffer on Carlton and Footscray, while the Swans were competitive against Ringwood but early season form eventually took them out of the running just after Christmas. With the University Main Oval in good form, both sides will be looking to cash in with the bat, while the bowlers will be keen to take some scalps. The key match-up will be between Alex Gregory (Uni) and Nathan Freitag (Swans). On current form, Uni will have the advantage and should take the match out comfortably.
Dandenong (9th) host St Kilda (4th) at Shepley Oval in what is arguably the Match of the Round. The equation for the Panthers is simple: Win at minimum on 1st Innings and rely on one of Melbourne, Essendon or Prahran to lose and they are in. Lose and it is season over. For the Saints, they can still finish 2nd if they get a 1st innings win and the Carlton-Footscray match ends in a draw. Both sides have been in positive form in recent rounds and will be keen to leave no stone unturned. The focus will be to see if Panther James Nanopoulos can take 1 more wicket to hold their record for most wickets in a season. On current form, gut feel suggests the Panthers’ may just sneak in the Finals.
Essendon (7th) host the Monash Tigers (15th) at Windy Hill. The Bombers have been a little hot-and-cold in recent rounds but rebounded with a clinical performance against the Camberwell Magpies, while the Tigers ended Geelong’s season with a dominant performance. The Monash Tigers will also have their minds focused on other matters with the club heading over to Adelaide early next week (along with Carlton) for the National Premier T20 Tournament. On current form, the Bombers will have the advantage and will be keen for their some of their batting card (such as Aaron Ayre, James Seymour and Michael Hill) to get some form in before a sudden-death Finals match.
The Greenvale Kangaroos (16th) host Fitzroy Doncaster (13th) at Greenvale Reserve #1. Both sides are out of contention but will be keen to finish their seasons on a high. The Roos played well to defeat Frankston Peninsula, while the Lions were on the losing side against Footscray. Both sides appear to have areas they will be keen to focus on improving for the 2020/21 season and this might be an opportunity for some fresh faces to be tried and tested. On current form, the Kangaroos may just hold out the Lions in this one, who will be without former skipper Peter Dickson, who retired last week after another suffering another injury and finishing his career on 298 Premier 1st XI games.
Frankston Peninsula (17th) host Melbourne (6th) at AH Butler Oval. The equation for Cameron White and his men is simple: Win and play Finals, lose and risk being bundled out if other results go against them. Their task is somewhat improved in their favour taking on the Heat but on the road. The Demons have been quite strong with the ball in several games, while their batting has been serviceable without some players having overly productive seasons. The Heat won’t be pushovers but will need some luck to go their way to bowl out the Demons for a total to put the pressure back on the potential Finalists. On current form, the Demons should have enough form to play Finals.
Geelong (12th) host Prahran (8th) at the Geelong Cricket Ground. This game (along with Dandenong vs St Kilda) appear to be the two that will most likely shape the Finals series. The Cats’ chances ended last week with a loss to the Monash Tigers, while the True Blues were outclassed by Carlton. The equation is simple for the visitors: Win and book in a Finals appearance, lose and if Dandenong win then say goodbye to season 19/20. Both sides have struggled with the bat in the last round and this might be an area that could decide the outcome. On current form, the True Blues should go in as favourites but gut feel suggests that the Cats may pull out something special to finish the season.
Finally, Kingston Hawthorn (18th) host Northcote (5th) at Walter Galt Reserve. The Hawks will be looking to salvage something out of the season but will be coming up against one of the most improved sides of the season in the Dragons, who were quite competitive last week against the other most improved side in Melbourne University. The Dragons have improved significantly with the ball, while the batting has shown improvement with the willow but could still use this opportunity as a chance to get some form into some batsmen ahead of the Finals. On current form, the Dragons should win and could be likely to go into the Finals off the back of an Outright win.
Women’s Premier Cricket now arrives at the Final round and the Top 4 positions are now locked in, with no chance of movement of any of the top 4 positions now.
Highlights from the weekend were:
Round 13 will see the Finals-bound clubs look to fine-tune their games before the run into Finals, while those that are out of contention will be out to finish their season strongly.
Box Hill (3rd) host Essendon Maribyrnong Park (1st) at Box Hill City Oval. Both sides will be keen to keep their skills and form in touch in the lead-in to Finals and have bragging rights on what could be a potential grand final rematch akin to the 2017/18 epic that Box Hill snuck home in. Both clubs have been quite strong over the season, with the battle of the Rafferty sisters (Chloe for EMP and Paris for Box Hill) likely to be a feature of this game, along with the battle of the top order bats (Villani & Blows for EMP against Carter, Anna Lanning & Griffiths for Box Hill).
On current form, the Bombers look like the favourites but only just and if they can quell the Mustangs’ top order it will go a long way.
Dandenong (7th) host Prahran (2nd) at Shepley Oval. The Panthers will look to finish on a high by aiming to take a Finals scalp, while the True Blues will be keen to get some form into some players and take some momentum into the Finals. The Panthers’ post-Christmas revival has been primarily led by import Kim Garth, while the True Blues have been led for a large part of the season by Alana King and Emma Inglis, while bowler Gemma Triscari has recently snuck out of retirement and may play a role in the True Blues Finals campaign. On current form, the True Blues should take the points but expect the Panthers to take the game deep.
Carlton-Brunswick (5th) host Ringwood (8th) at Princes Park #1. The Strikers took the match up to Plenty Valley but could only come away with a Tie, ending their chances of Finals, while the Rams were competitive but ultimately conceded too many runs against Prahran to chase successfully. The big battle in this game will be between the relevant skippers, Addy Campion (Strikers) and Bhavisha Devchand (Rams) both in good form in recent rounds with both bat and ball. On current form, this game could yet be the closest of the round with the gut feel suggesting the Rams may sneak home if their batting fires and make early inroads with the ball.
Finally, Melbourne (6th) host Plenty Valley (4th) at Beaumaris Secondary College – North Oval (due to the Albert Ground being used by the ICC as a T20 World Cup Training Venue for the duration of the Tournament). The Demons will be looking to finish the season with a win in what has been a ‘what might have been’ season after last season’s Premiership, while the Bats will be looking to gear themselves up for their second-consecutive Finals appearances after securing their ticket with a tied game against Carlton-Brunswick. On current form, the Bats will start with their noses in front in a game that could go either way with the Bats bowlers in strong form.
Congratulations go to the following members within Premier Cricket:
The following Milestones were achieved during play last weekend:
MEN’S PREMIER 1STS
ROUND 15 – SATURDAY 29 FEBRUARY & SATURDAY 7 MARCH (11:00am Start)
RINGWOOD V CAMBERWELL MAGPIES at Russell Lucas Oval
Umpires L McCabe & B Sheahan
CARLTON V FOOTSCRAY at Princes Park #1
Umpires D Brigham & G Azzopardi
MELBOURNE UNIVERSITY V CASEY-SOUTH MELBOURNE at University Main Oval
Umpires V Calabro & R Hubbard
DANDENONG V ST KILDA at Shepley Oval
Umpires D Ireland & M van Eck
ESSENDON V MONASH TIGERS at Windy Hill
Umpires L Uthenwoldt & S Pits
GREENVALE KANGAROOS V FITZROY DONCASTER at Greenvale Reserve #1
Umpires C James & M Muthugounder
FRANKSTON PENINSULA V MELBOURNE at AH Butler Oval
Umpires J Leonard-Scott & S Olufson
GEELONG V PRAHRAN at Geelong Cricket Ground
Umpires R Birch & M Malmberg
KINGSTON HAWTHORN V NORTHCOTE at Walter Galt Reserve
Umpires T Wendelken & G Bawa
WOMEN’S PREMIER 1STS
ROUND 13 ONE DAY – SUNDAY 1 MARCH (11:00am Start)
BOX HILL V ESSENDON MARIBYRNONG PARK at Box Hill City Oval
Umpires L Uthenwoldt & M Nolan
DANDENONG V PRAHRAN at Shepley Oval
Umpires R Harrison & R Turner
CARLTON-BRUNSWICK V RINGWOOD at Princes Park #1
Umpires V Calabro & A Hind
MELBOURNE V PLENTY VALLEY at Beaumaris Secondary College – North Oval
Umpires M Wood & S Olufson