The first weekend of the Men’s Premier Cricket went off well. Four centuries (including two from the same game) and some fine spells of bowling were key highlights, while St Kilda keeper Patrick Rowe started his season well on the gloves with seven caught behinds!
The match of the round in terms of results was the Casey-South Melbourne vs Kingston Hawthorn game, with just five runs between the two sides at the end of the game with the result going the way of the hosts.
The games in Men’s Premier Cricket this weekend are as follows:
St Kilda host Fitzroy Doncaster at the CitiPower Centre. The Saints came out firing against the Camberwell Magpies and will be keen to make this two-from-two against a Lions side that were competitive against Prahran but fell short defending 214. The big question will be if the Saints’ BBL players are available this week or not as this might make the game closer on paper. If the likes of Peter Handscomb and Nic Maddinson are available, then the Saints start with the advantage, but if not then the game is closer to a toss of the coin to pick the winner.
The Camberwell Magpies host Ringwood at the Camberwell Sports Ground. The Magpies were outclassed by St Kilda last weekend and will find another tough match-up this weekend against a Ringwood side that started off strongly against Northcote. The Rams have a side that if they play together could be a strong chance for a Finals appearance this year but they need to get the early results banked away. The Magpies can be a competitive team if they get their batting firing but on early form the Rams have to start favourites.
Prahran host Northcote at Toorak Park. The True Blues came away with the points against Fitzroy Doncaster last week and will be keen to make it two from two but will come up against a Northcote line-up that will be keen to make amends from last week’s performance against Ringwood. The True Blues have been strong in white ball games in recent seasons, while the Dragons are keen to save some face and will need their top order to get firing if they want to get the points. On early form, the True Blues have the advantage in this game.
Carlton host Geelong at Princes Park #1. The Blues got their campaign off and running against neighbours Melbourne University while the Cats were on the wrong end of a batting masterclass against Essendon. The area of early concern when looking at the two sides from the opening round is that the Cats need to find wickets against a free-scoring batting line-up and also scoring quickly against the variety of the Blues’ attack is never easy at the best of time. On paper, the Blues will start as favourites.
Melbourne University host Footscray at the University Main Oval. Uni were competitive against neighbours Carlton but simply failed to get a large enough total to defend, while the Dogs commenced their season with the points against the Greenvale Kangaroos. This match will see a good game in the pipeline, with the Uni batsmen against the Dogs’ bowling attack the area in focus to see who gets the advantage and eventually take home the points. On paper, the Dogs with their nose just in front on the strength of their batting card.
Essendon host the Greenvale Kangaroos at Windy Hill. The Bombers started their season strongly with a dominant batting display against Geelong on the road, while the Kangaroos started their season slowly against Footscray. The Bombers will be keen to continue their batting performance of last weekend and this will be an area that the Kangaroos will need to get some early breakthroughs to limit the potential damage that could occur. On paper, the Bombers have the advantage on their performance last week.
Richmond host Casey-South Melbourne at Central Reserve North. The Tigers were on the wrong end of the result against Melbourne while the Swans squeezed home against Kingston Hawthorn. The Tigers are a promising side that can be capable of anything if they gel together, while the Swans could produce anything on their day if the conditions are right. This battle will be one of the games to watch this weekend, with the gut feel suggesting that the Tigers may have a little more success with the ball to rebound and take the points.
Melbourne host Dandenong at Beaumaris Secondary College – North Oval. The Demons took away the points in Round 1 and will be keen to do so at their first Men’s 1st XI game at Beaumaris (due to pavilion works at the Albert Ground), while the Panthers also took the points and keen to make a statement after a ‘nearly’ 2019/20 season. This game has the makings of a ‘Match of the Round’ with both sides strong in all departments. On paper, the gut feel suggests that the Panthers may just get the points if they can contain the Demons top order batsmen.
Finally, Kingston Hawthorn host Frankston Peninsula at Walter Galt Reserve. The Hawks provided a strong start to their campaign but just fell short against Casey-South Melbourne, while the Heat struggled against Dandenong. The Hawks are a fairly new team that will take some time to gel and this might be a chance for points like last week if they can ‘click’ but the Heat will be keen to stop that from happening and can take it up to them. This game is a toss of the coin, with the gut feel suggesting the Heat just ahead if Scott Boland and Jon Holland front up.
In Women’s Premier Cricket, Round 3 is now here with two teams still undefeated. Wins early in the year will be key with the reduced season in play.
Box Hill (3rd) hosts Essendon Maribyrnong Park (7th) at Box Hill City Oval. The Mustangs have been in competitive form so far with a win over Plenty Valley before a close loss against Melbourne, while the Bombers have been on the wrong end of results against the same opponents. This will be an early make-or-break game for the Bombers as another loss will put extra pressure on the reigning Premiers to defend their title. On paper, I suspect that the Bombers may just get themselves in the Winners’ Circle but need their bowlers to fire to do so.
Carlton-Brunswick (4th) host Dandenong (1st) at Princes Park #1. The Strikers have been on the board early with a win over Prahran before a tougher battle against Ringwood but will find a truer acid test for their young side against the current ladder leaders who have come away with bonus points in their two games. If the Sri Lankans fire to the Strikers then there may be a closer game, but I feel that their inexperience with the bat otherwise could be the weakness that the visitors will look to pounce on. On paper, the Panthers will start with the advantage.
Prahran (8th) host Ringwood (6th) at Toorak Park. The True Blues have dropped both games but have been able to get a couple of positives out of these games, while the Rams came away with the points in a rain-affected game last week. Both sides currently are reliant on 1-2 players for their runs, while the bowling is about an even keel. Whoever can get the early jump on their opponent’s batting card will have the big say in this game. Based on this, the gut feel says the Rams might just have their noses in front here.
Finally, Plenty Valley (5th) host Melbourne (2nd) at Yarrambat War Memorial Park. This will be the first game for Rhiann O’Donnell against her former club, with a lot of pressure on her to perform. The Demons have come away with the points so far, while the Bats came away with a good win against EMP last weekend. Both sides have points to prove, with the pressure being on both sides’ top orders to fire to give them the best chance of taking the points. On paper, the Demons look the stronger and more experienced side.
Congratulations go to the following members within Premier Cricket:
MEN’S PREMIER 1STS
ROUND 2 – SATURDAY 5 DECEMBER (11:00am Start)
ST KILDA V FITZROY DONCASTER at CitiPower Centre
Umpires R Birch & M Malmberg
CAMBERWELL MAGPIES V RINGWOOD at Camberwell Sports Ground
Umpires V Calabro & D Ireland
PRAHRAN V NORTHCOTE at Toorak Park
Umpires W Downey & C Grant
CARLTON V GEELONG at Princes Park #1
Umpires D Brigham & M Nolan
MELBOURNE UNIVERSITY V FOOTSCRAY at University Main Oval
Umpires G Azzopardi & L McKay
ESSENDON V GREENVALE KANGAROOS at Windy Hill
Umpires C James & M van Eck
RICHMOND V CASEY-SOUTH MELBOURNE at Central Reserve North
Umpires B Sheahan & M Muthugounder
MELBOURNE V DANDENONG at Beaumaris Secondary College – North Oval
Umpires L McCabe & A Medina
KINGSTON HAWTHORN V FRANKSTON PENINSULA at Walter Galt Reserve
Umpires A Hind & S Pitts
WOMEN’S PREMIER 1STS
ROUND 3 – SUNDAY 6 DECEMBER (11:00am Start)
BOX HILL V ESSENDON MARIBYRNONG PARK at Box Hill City Oval
Umpires S Brne & T Wendelken
CARLTON-BRUNSWICK V DANDENONG at Princes Park #1
Umpires S Fishley & J Leonard-Scott
PRAHRAN V RINGWOOD at Toorak Park
Umpires G Bawa & S Olufson
PLENTY VALLEY V MELBOURNE at Yarrambat War Memorial Park
Umpires R Hubbard & L Uthenwoldt