Round Three of the Men’s Premier Cricket saw fine weather across all Victorian Premier Cricket grounds and some quality cricket was played.
Highlights from the weekend included centuries to St Kilda’s Michael De Iacovo (136 vs Ring), Northcote’s Mark Phelan (115 vs FD), Geelong’s Angus Boyd (100 vs GK), Melbourne’s Blake Thomson (100 vs KH) and a 98* from Casey-South Melbourne’s Ashley Chandrasinghe (vs FP).
Pick of the bowlers from the weekend were Prahran’s Blake Parsons (5/37 vs CM), St Kilda’s Henry Thornton (4/15 vs Ring), Melbourne University’s Ben Rolfs (4/16 vs Ess), Geelong’s Hayden Butterworth (4/19 vs GK) and Melbourne’s Kieran Elliott (4/27 vs KH).
With the Christmas/New Year holidays knocking on the door, each side will be keen to finish their pre-Christmas campaign with the points and bring some joy home to their supporters.
The games in Men’s Premier Cricket this weekend are as follows:
St Kilda (1st) host Northcote (7th) at the CitiPower Centre for the annual Indigenous Round battle. All matches at St Kilda on Saturday commence at 11:30am (1sts to 4ths). The Saints are running in a strong vein of form, while the Dragons are looking fiery after recent wins. Expect this game to be played with plenty of passion, with the batting to be the key in deciding this match result. On paper, the Saints appear to have a slightly stronger line-up across the board and will go in as favourites.
Carlton (3rd) host the Greenvale Kangaroos (18th) at Princes Park #1. The Blues have been running hot early with a strong and consistent team while the Kangaroos have taken their time in looking to gel their unit together. The Kangaroos have strugged to take wickets so far and will need to find some inner strength against a batting card containing match winners in Gulbis and Stepien. On paper, the Blues will go in as favourites and should be expected to take the points here.
Fitzroy Doncaster (15th) host the Camberwell Magpies (17th) at Schramms Reserve #1. Both sides have been struggling in their early games and this will be a must-win clash for either side to take in any confidence into the games post-Christmas. Both sides have struggled to take wickets so far, while the Magpies have found it harder to score runs, with only Richmond having scored less so far this season. On paper, the Lions at home with a slight advantage in this battle.
Dandenong (6th) host Kingston Hawthorn (13th) at Shepley Oval. The Panthers were able to come away with a hard-fought win last week against Richmond while the Hawks received a reality check against Melbourne. The Hawks again will be going into this match with a ‘free swing’ but opportunities to score against the Panthers’ attack are going to be few and far between in this format. On paper, the Panthers appear far too experienced and should take the points.
Prahran (9th) host Ringwood (5th) at Toorak Park. The True Blues came away with a win against the Camberwell Magpies last week and will be keen to finish in the Top 8 at the break, while the Rams will be keen to rebound after being given a cricketing lesson against St Kilda. Both sides are capable of strong cricket on their day and any result is a strong possibility. On current form, if the Rams can reproduce their early form then they will go into this battle with the slight advantage.
Essendon (8th) host Footscray (11th) at Windy Hill. The Bombers’ batting card had its first real test last weekend against Melbourne University and showed how rusty the middle and lower order was, while the Dogs were on the receiving end of a Carlton batting rampage. Both sides are capable of positive cricket and have players that can change the course of the match when on-song. On current form, if the Bombers’ batting card can fire like Rounds 1 & 2 then they will have the advantage.
Casey-South Melbourne (10th) host Melbourne (2nd) at Casey Fields #4. The Swans have been fairly positive early and sit just outside the top 8 after their win over Frankston Peninsula, while the Demons are running hot after defeating Kingston Hawthorn. The Swans will need to bowl strong to contain the Demons’ batting card and bat well against a side that can produce strong form at any time. On current form, the Demons would have to go into this game as the favourites.
Richmond (14th) host Frankston Peninsula (16th) at Central Reserve North. The Tigers nearly had a second win with a tight game against Dandenong going the wrong way, while the Heat were competitive but fell short against Casey-South Melbourne. Both sides are young and have some inexperience so this game will have some meaning and pressure on all the players involved, with points key to start their campaigns. On paper, the Tigers would appear to just have the advantage.
Finally, Geelong (12th) host Melbourne University (4th) at the Geelong Cricket Ground. The Cats finally joined the winners’ circle with a win over the Greenvale Kangaroos, while Uni are running hot after dismantling Essendon. The Cats’ batting card have been scoring regular runs but their bowling attack appears to be somewhat loose and if they want to win this game they will need to tighten this area up sharply. On current form, Uni would have to go in as favourites.
In Women’s Premier Cricket, Round 5 is now upon us. With just one game before the Christmas/New Year break, all clubs will be keen to return from their games with the present of points and bragging rights against their opponents until they next meet in the season.
Round 5 will see ‘nearest neighbours’ battles in three of the four matches this weekend and plenty will be at stake in these encounters.
On Saturday, Essendon Maribyrnong Park (5th) host Carlton-Brunswick (6th) at Aberfeldie Park. The Bombers were dominant against Prahran on their way to their first points of the season, while the Strikers were left to pay for a game where they could have taken the points if the batting card fired. If the Bombers can field a team of similar strength as last weekend on the park, then the Strikers will need to somehow make a large score to give themselves a chance to sneak an upset. On paper, the Bombers look the side to go into the break with a boost to their points.
On Sunday, Box Hill (4th) host Dandenong (1st) at Box Hill City Oval. The Mustangs were competitive against Ringwood but a failure to break the key 5th wicket partnership early enough saw them fall at the last hurdle, while the Panthers are still undefeated at present. This game will be arguably the match of the round, with both sides capable of strong cricket and each having players that can change the course of the match in the space of 30 minutes. On paper, the Panthers may appear stronger but I wouldn’t discount the Mustangs on their home patch either. Tough to pick a winner.
Melbourne (2nd) host Prahran (8th) at Beaumaris Secondary College – North Oval. The Demons have come out this season with a strong start and will be keen to keep this going, while the young True Blues are continually developing and will be better for their experiences in the longer terms. The Demons have been dominant with bat and ball and this will be a large battle for the True Blues, who will be keen for some of their experienced squad members to show their leadership capabilities. On paper, the Demons are expected to win this comfortably and may finish the day on top of the ladder.
Finally, Plenty Valley (7th) host Ringwood (3rd) at Yarrambat War Memorial Park. The Bats took the game up to ladder leaders Dandenong last weekend before falling 15 runs short, while the Rams came away with a strong 5-wicket win in a race-to-the-finish against Box Hill. The Bats have been fluctuating in performances on-field and can bring anything to the table, while the Rams will need to fire again with the bat if they want to come away with the points from this game. On paper, the Rams will go into this game with the advantage, but the Bats may have the skills for an upset.
On behalf of the team at Cricket Victoria, we wish everyone within the Victorian Premier Cricket community a safe and happy festive season and we hope that you will all be ready to return to action on the weekend of Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th January.
Congratulations go to the following members within Premier Cricket:
MEN’S PREMIER 1STS
ROUND 4 – SATURDAY 19 DECEMBER (11:00am Start)
ST KILDA V NORTHCOTE at the CitiPower Centre (NOTE: 11:30am Start)
Umpires W Downey & M Nolan
CARLTON V GREENVALE KANGAROOS at Princes Park #1
Umpires G Azzopardi & R Birch
FITZROY DONCASTER V CAMBERWELL MAGPIES at Schramms Reserve
Umpires G Bawa & V Calabro
DANDENONG V KINGSTON HAWTHORN at Shepley Oval
Umpires D Ireland & J Leonard-Scott
PRAHRAN V RINGWOOD at Toorak Park
Umpires S Brne & S Pitts
ESSENDON V FOOTSCRAY at Windy Hill
Umpires A Medina & M Muthugounder
CASEY-SOUTH MELBOURNE V MELBOURNE at Casey Fields #4
Umpires L Uthenwoldt & M van Eck
RICHMOND V FRANKSTON PENINSULA at Central Reserve North
Umpires M Malmberg & T Wendelken
GEELONG V MELBOURNE UNIVERSITY at Geelong Cricket Ground
Umpires B Davies & S Olufson
WOMEN’S PREMIER 1STS
ROUND 5 – SATURDAY 18 DECEMBER (11:00am Start)
ESSENDON MARIBYRNONG PARK V CARLTON-BRUNSWICK at Aberfeldie Park
Umpires C Grant & B Sheahan
ROUND 5 – SUNDAY 19 DECEMBER (11:00am Start)
BOX HILL V DANDENONG at Box Hill City Oval
Umpires R Hubbard & J Wyatt
MELBOURNE V PRAHRAN at Beaumaris Secondary College – North Oval
Umpires S Fishley & L McCabe
PLENTY VALLEY V RINGWOOD at Yarrambat War Memorial Park
Umpires D Brigham & C James