Round Four of the Men’s Premier Cricket saw some quality cricket on the last weekend played before the festive season commenced.
The standout performance with the ball was the bowling of wily Dandenong quick James Nanopoulos, who finished with 8/16 including a hat trick against Kingston Hawthorn that quickly had the record books being looked at when the Hawks were 7/4 before finishing with a score of 48. Others to do well with the rock included Fitzroy Doncaster’s Sam Elliott (5/23), Melbourne’s Fergus O’Neill (4/31) and St Kilda’s Wil Lovell (4/33).
With the willow, five centuries were achieved across the grade, with Geelong’s Josh McDonald (126), Carlton captain-coach Evan Gulbis (102*), Ringwood’s Ian Holland (123) and Prahran pair Damon Egan (103) and Lachlan Bangs (103) all raising their bats, while St Kilda’s Michae De Iacovo nearly made it back-to-back centuries, falling just short with 99 against Northcote.
With the Christmas/New Year holidays now been and gone, everyone will be able to focus their energies to the task at hand and begin charges for the elusive goal of a Finals berth.
The games in Men’s Premier Cricket this weekend are as follows:
Prahran (5th) host neighbours St Kilda (1st) at Toorak Park for the RJ Parish Cup. Both sides have started the season well and will be keen to keep their form going at this early stage of the season. The Saints so far look to be the team to beat and if the True Blues played like their last game against Ringwood could be more than a suitable match-up for this battle. On current form, the Saints would just have their noses in front but will be subject to who is available for them.
Northcote (11th) host the Camberwell Magpies (17th) at Bill Lawry Oval. The Dragons have had a tough start and will be keen to take on the Magpies, who have looked out of sorts in early games. If the Magpies are any chance to come away with the points, they need to fire in all departments with their side sitting lowest for runs scored and only the Greenvale Kangaroos have taken fewer wickets. On current form, the Dragons to start with the advantage and push back towards the top 8.
Ringwood (7th) host Fitzroy Doncaster (14th) at Russell Lucas Oval. The Rams were stiff to not come away with the points against Prahran while the Lions accounted for the Camberwell Magpies to commence their campaign. Both sides will be keen to notch another win on the board, with the battle being how the Lions’ batsmen go against the Rams varied attack of bowlers. On current form, the Rams will go in as favourites in skipper Patrick Ashton’s 150th 1st XI match.
Essendon (10th) host Carlton (3rd) at Windy Hill. The Bombers have been strong so far but were just on the wrong end of the result against Footscray while the Blues are one of three sides so far undefeated. The battle in this game will be between the Bombers batting card (dominated by their top three of Ayre, Seymour and Hill) and the Blues bowling attack (who is the only side so far to take all 40 wickets). On current form, the Blues to win if they expose the Bombers’ middle order early.
The Greenvale Kangaroos (18th) host Melbourne University (6th) at Greenvale Reserve #1. It is another season of growth for the Kangaroos and their line-up, while Uni are again showing themselves as a side to watch in the shorter format. The big push for the Kangaroos will be to breakthrough for wickets as their bowling card has had the least success so far. Current form suggests the visitors should come away with the points with little concern.
Kingston Hawthorn (15th) host Richmond (12th) at Walter Galt Reserve. The Hawks will be keen to make amends from their performance in the last weekend before Christmas and this game could be a great opportunity to do so, while the young Tigers will be keen for another win to keep themselves in touch of the Top 8. The deciding battle in this game will be between the Tigers’ young batting card and the Hawks’ bowling line-ups. On current form, the Tigers will just have their whiskers in front.
Footscray (8th) host Geelong (9th) at the Mervyn G Hughes Oval. Both sides notched up wins last round and will be keen to push themselves higher on the ladder. The Cats have been strong with the bat (only St Kilda has scored more runs so far this season) but are weaker with the ball which might be the area the Dogs need to focus their energies on targeting in this battle. On current form, the Dogs might just have enough experience when it counts with the ball to take the points.
Frankston Peninsula (16th) host Melbourne (2nd) at AH Butler Oval. The Heat have found it tough going so far this season and will find the battle no easier this week playing an undefeated Melbourne side. The Demons have been dominant with bat and ball so far and will be keen to keep some form in their experienced players if they want to keep their current form going. On paper, the Demons will go into this battle as favourites and may very well come away with a bonus point for their efforts.
Finally, Casey-South Melbourne (13th) host Dandenong (4th) at Casey Fields #4. The Swans have been competitive so far and come up against one of the better white ball attacks in Victorian Premier Cricket in the Panthers. The visitors have conceded the fewest runs so far and will be keen to keep things that way and allow for their experienced batsmen to capitalize on the situation. On current form, the Panthers will go into this battle as the favourites and should win well.
In Women’s Premier Cricket, Round 6 is now here. With sides returning to the fray after the festive season, we will see if certain sides come out swinging or if they wish to consolidate and make a charge towards the Finals.
Two stand-out performances with the ball in Round 5 were the highlights, with Melbourne’s Elly Donald taking 6/20 against Prahran, while former Dandenong skipper Emma Gallagher finished with 6/12 off 10 overs against Box Hill. Best with the bat were Ringwood duo Bhavi Devchand (82) and Tess Flintoff (67*), EMP skipper Makinley Blows (75) and Molly Strano (64*), Carlton-Brunswick’s Nipuni Hansika (63) and Plenty Valley skipper Sophie Reid (57).
With only 8 more rounds after this weekend some sides may already need to start making some waves to get to the big stage.
Ringwood (3rd) host Melbourne (2nd) at Russell Lucas Oval. This will be a big battle between the two sides with just a game’s difference between them on the ladder. The Rams are developing as a side to watch over the last 18 months and if they keep their current form up may make the Finals, while the Demons are showing the form that saw them win the flag in the 2018/19 season. On paper, both sides can win this game but there would be a little more experience in the Demons’ camp and as a result I would expect them to go in favourites and potentially hold top spot come Sunday Night.
Prahran (8th) host Plenty Valley (7th) at Toorak Park. Both sides will be keen to come away with points, with the True Blues keen to get on the scoreboard after a near-miss against Melbourne last round and the Bats being accounted for late by Ringwood. Whilst it is a year of rebuilding for the True Blues, the current form of the Bats would be somewhat of a concern with the side not at the same strength as the side that has made Finals appearances the last two seasons. On paper, the Bats should have enough strength to get the points but an upset is certainly possible by the True Blues.
Carlton-Brunswick (6th) host Box Hill (5th) at Princes Park #1. Both sides have been up-and-down on form and would both be keen to boost their season along with a win the first weekend back. Both sides have had some issues with scoring at times, with some low totals left to defend putting pressure on their attacks. The winner of this game will be the side that can put the most pressure on their opponents top orders. On current form, this game has the scope to go either way, with the gut feel suggesting the visitors will be keen to celebrate Dani Montague’s milestone game with a win.
Finally, Dandenong (1st) host Essendon Maribyrnong Park (4th) at Shepley Oval for the Redderz Cup (in memory of Carey “Redderz” Cook). Both sides come into this battle in winning form, with the Panthers currently undefeated. Could this be the round that the Bombers burst the Panthers’ undefeated bubble? Or will the Panthers show their fangs and demonstrate why they are currently sitting on top of the ladder. On current form, the Panthers would go in as favourites but this game will be a lot closer if the Bombers have a side close to full strength on the park.
Congratulations go to the following members within Premier Cricket:
MEN’S PREMIER 1STS
ROUND 5 – SATURDAY 9 JANUARY (11:00am Start)
PRAHRAN V ST KILDA at Toorak Park
Umpires J Wyatt & J Leonard-Scott
NORTHCOTE V CAMBERWELL MAGPIES at Bill Lawry Oval
Umpires L McCabe & M Muthugounder
RINGWOOD V FITZROY DONCASTER at Russell Lucas Oval
Umpires R Hubbard & T Wendelken
ESSENDON V CARLTON at Windy Hill
Umpires S Brne & W Downey
GREENVALE KANGAROOS V MELBOURNE UNIVERSITY at Greenvale Reserve #1
Umpires M Nolan & B Sheahan
KINGSTON HAWTHORN V RICHMOND at Walter Galt Reserve
Umpires D Brigham & C James
FOOTSCRAY V GEELONG at Mervyn G Hughes Oval
Umpires S Pitts & M van Eck
FRANKSTON PENINSULA V MELBOURNE at AH Butler Oval
Umpires G Azzopardi & G Bawa
CASEY-SOUTH MELBOURNE V DANDENONG at Casey Fields #4
Umpires B Davies & C Grant
WOMEN’S PREMIER 1STS
ROUND 6 – SUNDAY 10 JANUARY (11:00am Start)
RINGWOOD V MELBOURNE at Russell Lucas Oval
Umpires M Malmberg & L Uthenwoldt
PRAHRAN V PLENTY VALLEY at Toorak Park
Umpires S Fishley & A Hind
CARLTON-BRUNSWICK V BOX HILL at Princes Park #1
Umpires R Birch & T Medina
DANDENONG V ESSENDON MARIBYRNONG PARK at Shepley Oval
Umpires D Ireland & S Olufson