Round Five of the Men’s Premier Cricket saw some interesting results take place across the competition, with a couple of tight chases and a couple of upset results leading the way.
Standout performers with the bat last weekend included Carlton duo Nick Ross (113) and Thomas Smyth (111) against Essendon, Footscray’s Dan Sartori (107) against Geelong, Richmond’s Scott Edwards (121) against Kingston Hawthorn, Melbourne University’s Andrej Yaksender (112) against the Greenvale Kangaroos and Northcote’s Josh Sundberg (123*) against the Camberwell Magpies.
With the ball, the two standouts were Carlton’s Xavier Crone (5/30) and Essendon’s Matt Doric (5/53) in the same game, with other strong efforts being Footscray’s Dean Russ (4/47), Greenvale Kangaroos’ Jacob Pawlowicz (4/57), St Kilda’s Henry Thornton (4/31) and Prahran’s Blake Parsons (4/18) from the same game.
With five rounds completed, a logjam is already forming in the middle of the ladder with just 2 points separating 4th with 10th on the ladder. Results will be crucial for sides over the next month as they get towards the half-way mark of the season.
The games in Men’s Premier Cricket this weekend are as follows:
The Camberwell Magpies (18th) host the Greenvale Kangaroos (17th) at Camberwell Sports Ground. Both sides have found the going tough this season, with the Magpies struggling to find anyone with regular runs, while both sides have struggled with the ball so far this season. The big battle will be the Magpies’ batting against the Kangaroos’ bowling I feel. On current form, the Kangaroos appear the stronger of the two sides and go in with the advantage.
Carlton (2nd) host Richmond (7th) at Princes Park #1. Both sides are coming off wins last weekend and will be keen to keep that momentum going. The big area of concern for the Tigers will be how they can look to slow the run-scoring capacity of the current Blues batting card. If Gulbis, the Smyth Brothers, Ross and/or Pell can get scoring well then it will be a hard task. On current form, the Blues have to go in with the advantage against the Tigers.
Dandenong (5th) host Ringwood (11th) at Shepley Oval. The Panthers were upset by Casey-South Melbourne last week and will be keen to rebound, while the Rams just fell short against neighbours Fitzroy Doncaster. The key battle will be the Panthers’ batting card (only ahead of Camberwell on runs scored) against the Rams’ bowlers. On current form, this has the potential for a game of the round, with the gut feel suggesting the Panthers at home in a close one if their batting card fires.
Fitzroy Doncaster (13th) host Footscray (8th) at Schramms Reserve #1. The Lions returned to the winners’ circle with a good win over Ringwood, while the Dogs stayed in the top 8 with a strong win against Geelong. Both sides need to provide some stronger efforts in the field and with the ball, with this match to be a key opportunity to get their bowlers humming along for future rounds. On current form, the Dogs have the advantage on the road.
Geelong (12th) host Frankston Peninsula (15th) at the Geelong Cricket Ground for the annual ‘Two Bob’ Shield. The Cats’ continue to score well but again struggled to contain opponents and saw points slip past against Footscray, while the Heat jump-started their campaign with an upset over Melbourne. Whilst the Cats’ have the home ground advantage, their bowling attack will need to work or they could risk the same result as the Demons did last weekend. Cats just at home.
Melbourne University (4th) host Casey-South Melbourne (9th) at the University Main Oval. Uni came away with the points last week against the Greenvale Kangaroos but were made to work for it, while the Swans celebrated Tillakaratne Dilshan’s arrival with an upset win over Dandenong. If the Swams can produce a similar bowling effort to last week they are a chance, but on current form I feel that Uni have the advantage but am expecting a closer result than normal.
Melbourne (3rd) host Prahran (10th) at Beaumaris Secondary College – North Oval. The Demons will be out for revenge after losing to Frankston Peninsula last weekend, while the True Blues nearly ended St Kilda’s unbeaten run. The key match-up in this game will be the battle between the Demons’ bowling attack and the True Blues’ batting card, with the winner of this battle to push their side on to points. On current form, the Demons will be favourites to return to the winners list.
Northcote (6th) host Essendon (14th) at Bill Lawry Oval. The Dragons came away with the points against the Camberwell Magpies, while the Bombers had a lot to think about with their batting collapse against Carlton. Both sides have been competitive with bat and ball and the key battle this week will be how the Dragons’ bowling attack can manage the Bombers’ top order. If they can get on top, then the Dragons will have the advantage in this encounter.
Finally, St Kilda (1st) host Kingston Hawthorn (16th) at the CitiPower Centre. The Saints just held on to their unbeaten start with a last-gasp win over neighbours Prahran, while the Hawks were competitive but ultimately fell short against Richmond. The main battle to watch in this game will be how the Hawks’ batting card performs against the Saints bowling line-up, which has conceded the second-fewest runs against this season so far. On current form, the Saints should win this match.
In Women’s Premier Cricket, Round 7 is here. With sides approaching the half-way point of the season, the pressure gauge is slowly rising on clubs as the number of games slowly dwindle and the chances to play Finals cricket diminish.
Two strong performances with the ball occurred last weekend with Box Hill’s Zoe Griffiths taking 5/7 against Carlton-Brunswick and Prahran ‘debutant’ Courtney Neale taking 5/33 against Plenty Valley. With the bat, the standout for the round with Dandenong’s Kim Garth scoring 113 against EMP, while Plenty Valley’s Sophie Day (79), EMP’s Elyse Villani (69) and Molly Strano (55*), Ringwood’s Una Raymond-Hoey (54) and Melbourne skipper Teagan Parker (52*) all scored well.
This weekend sees the top four team play against one another. With just a few points separating each side and both Box Hill and Plenty Valley knocking on the door this round will be a key one for all sides.
On Saturday, Essendon Maribyrnong Park (4th) host Ringwood (3rd) at Aberfeldie Park. The Bombers are rebounding well after a slow start and came back from Shepley Oval last week with the ‘Redderz Cup’ in their kit bag, while the Rams were outclassed by a strong Melbourne line-up. Both sides are keen for the points as their current ladder positions can certainly be altered after the weekend’s play. On recent form, I would say the Bombers would be brimming with confidence last week and should have the advantage on their home turf in this one.
On Sunday, Melbourne (1st) host Dandenong (2nd) at Beaumaris Secondary College – North Oval. The Demons remain the only undefeated side in the competition after defeating Ringwood, while the Panthers hit a ‘bump in the road’ with a loss to EMP. Both sides appear to be close to full strength on paper and this should result in a game that could go down to the wire. The big question mark I have at present is how the Demons’ batting card is going as they haven’t made big scores. For this reason, my gut feel suggests the Panthers are a strong chance to end the Demons’ unbeaten streak.
Plenty Valley (6th) host Carlton-Brunswick (7th) at Yarrambat War Memorial Park. The Bats returned to the winners’ circle last weekend with a strong performance against Prahran, while the Strikers were outclassed by Box Hill on the day. Both sides have struggled on their day with bat and ball but there will be extra pressure I feel on the current Strikers batting card, as it appears that they have yet to find the right batting spots for their former Sri Lankan players. If they can do that then they have a chance but on current form, the Bats have the advantage to make it back-to-back wins.
Finally, Box Hill (5th) host Prahran (8th) at Box Hill City Oval. The Mustangs were dominant at Princes Park against Carlton-Brunswick last week and will be keen to keep pressure on Ringwood and EMP on the ladder, while the True Blues again showed signs of improvement in their loss against Plenty Valley. The big pressure on the visitors will be how their young batting brigade goes against the Mustangs’ bowling attack of Rafferty, Montague and Griffiths and if they can push past partnerships of 20 and 30 to 50 and 60. On paper, the Mustangs have the favouritism at home.
Congratulations go to the following members within Premier Cricket:
MEN’S PREMIER 1STS
ROUND 6 – SATURDAY 16 JANUARY (11:00am Start)
CAMBERWELL MAGPIES V GREENVALE KANGAROOS at Camberwell Sports Ground
Umpires G Azzopardi & M Wood
CARLTON V RICHMOND at Princes Park #1
Umpires C Grant & A Ali
DANDENONG V RINGWOOD at Shepley Oval
Umpires J Leonard-Scott & S Pitts
FITZROY DONCASTER V FOOTSCRAY at Schramms Reserve #1
Umpires D Ireland & J Wyatt
GEELONG V FRANKSTON PENINSULA at Geelong Cricket Ground
Umpires M Malmberg & L McKay
MELBOURNE UNIVERSITY V CASEY-SOUTH MELBOURNE at University Main Oval
Umpires R Birch & S Brne
MELBOURNE V PRAHRAN at Beaumaris Secondary College – North Oval
Umpires S Olufson & T Wendelken
NORTHCOTE V ESSENDON at Bill Lawry Oval
Umpires A Hind & B Sheahan
ST KILDA V KINGSTON HAWTHORN at CitiPower Centre
Umpires A Medina & L Uthenwoldt
WOMEN’S PREMIER 1STS
ROUND 7 – SATURDAY 16 JANUARY (11:00am Start)
ESSENDON MARIBYRNONG PARK V RINGWOOD at Aberfeldie Park
Umpires G Bawa & M Nolan
ROUND 7 – SUNDAY 17 JANUARY (11:00am Start)
MELBOURNE V DANDENONG at Beaumaris Secondary College – North Oval
Umpires S Brne & M Muthugounder
PLENTY VALLEY V CARLTON-BRUNSWICK at Yarrambat War Memorial Park
Umpires D Bomford & M van Eck
BOX HILL V PRAHRAN at Box Hill City Oval
Umpires B Davies & W Downey