Round 11 of Victorian Premier Cricket was unfortunately a victim of the statewide ‘Snap’ Lockdown and no play was able to occur.
With no change to ladder positions and another week closer to determining who makes Finals and who doesn’t, the gaps between sides are opening and opportunities to move places are still around for those that can access them. The key gap for sides outside the Top 8 to focus on first is to reduce the current 6 points difference between positions 8 and 9 on the ladder.
This weekend’s fixtured matches for Round 12 are as follows:
Ringwood (9th) host Carlton (1st) at Russell Lucas Oval. The Rams will be keen to get out on the park again and fight for more points to keep the chances of Finals alive but standing in their way is the ladder leaders. The Blues will be keen to keep their hold on top spot as only 2 points separates them and Northcote. On paper, the Blues appear to have the stronger lineup, but I expect this game to be close if the Rams batting card can fire against the Blues’ bowling attack.
Fitzroy Doncaster (7th) host Casey-South Melbourne (13th) at Schramms Reserve #1. The Lions are snarling and will be keen to come away with a win as just one-point splits them and 8th placed Geelong, while the Swans will be keen to finish their season strong and potentially throw some curveballs in the process. If the Lions let the Swans batting card away to a flier then there could be some pressure here but the Lions should go into the match with the advantage on recent form.
Northcote (2nd) host Melbourne (3rd) at Bill Lawry Oval. Arguably the ‘match of the round’, both sides have been competing well all season and both sides will be keen to secure the points in this match, as the winner will look to sure up their position on the ladder and potentially move up pending results. Both sides have match-winners and can dominate on their day. On paper, both sides look reasonably balanced but the gut feel suggests that Melbourne’s experience may be the key.
The Camberwell Magpies (16th) host Melbourne University (11th) at the Camberwell Sports Ground. The Magpies will be keen to perform at home for Tom Russ’s 150th Premier 1st XI match, while Uni will be striving for a win to keep their slim Finals chances alive. Both sides have struggled with ball in hand this season so the big battle will be who can limit the opponent’s batting card the most. On paper, while the Magpies have the experience, Uni goes in favourites on recent form.
Footscray (12th) host St Kilda (5th) at Mervyn G Hughes Oval. The Dogs will need to find inner strength if they want to pull a miracle out this season with them currently sitting 12 points outside 8th place, while the Saints are sitting comfortable in 5th but keen to win to jump into the Top 4. The Saints have been a strong side this season in both aspects, while the Dogs can match them on their day. Whilst the Dogs are playing at the ‘kennel’, the Saints appear too strong on paper in this one.
Geelong (8th) host Dandenong (4th) at the Geelong Cricket Ground. The Cats currently hold a 6-point buffer on the sides outside the Top 8 and will be keen to extend that gap with their season-leading batting line-up but standing in their way is the Panthers who have the strongest bowling attack so far this season. This game should be an epic showdown at the batsman-friendly home ground of the Cats but if the Cats cannot fire with the ball then the Panthers will take the points home with them.
The Greenvale Kangaroos (15th) host Richmond (14th) at Greenvale Reserve #1. Both sides will be keen to finish their seasons strongly and this match should be a good tester. The Tigers have seen more action across the season in terms of runs scored and wickets taken but the Kangaroos could be a good match-up here. On paper, the Tigers would appear to have the better form with their brigade of ‘cubs’ but the Kangaroos at home might be enough to give the hosts a slight advantage.
Frankston Peninsula (18th) host Prahran (6th) at AH Butler Oval. It has been a tough year for the Heat but this game might spark something in them as it will be the first time that the Heat will take on Nick Boland since he made the move to the True Blues. The visitors will be keen to perform strongly here and come away with the points but if they are not on their game they could suffer the same fate as the Demons when they played the Heat after Christmas. Prahran with the advantage.
Finally, Kingston Hawthorn (17th) host Essendon (10th) at Walter Galt Reserve. The Hawks have gone quiet since their upset win over St Kilda earlier this season and will be keen to find that spark to pull another upset out of the bag. The Bombers will be keen to celebrate Michael Hill’s 200th Premier 1st XI game with the points and have a team that is more than capable of actioning this. On paper, the Bombers have the stronger lineup and should win this game.
In Women’s Premier Cricket, Round 12 has arrived. With now just 3 games left in the Home and Away season, just 5 sides are left to fight it out for the top 4 positions after bottom-placed Prahran ended Plenty Valley’s chances last weekend. Melbourne hold a two-game, 12-point lead over Dandenong at the top of the table, effectively having the Minor Premiership wrapped up at this point.
With WNCL games now scheduled to play in NSW as a result of the recent ‘Snap’ Lockdown that Victoria experienced, several clubs will be impacted by the unavailability of their State representatives.
This week’s matches are as follows:
Prahran (8th) host Box Hill (4th) at Toorak Park. The True Blues have developed as a side across the season after the mass exodus of experience felt at the end of last season, while the Mustangs have been pottering along nicely considering they haven’t had an opportunity to have their full-strength side take the field. This game has to be a ‘must-win’ for the visitors as any slip-up and results going against them could see them fighting to stay in the Top 4 and with the hosts likely to be missing skipper Annabel Sutherland and potentially Courtney Neale this is the window for the taking. Mustangs to start as favourites.
Ringwood (5th) host Essendon Maribyrnong Park (3rd) at Russell Lucas Oval. Both sides have been playing strong cricket but their form has fluctuated over the season. For the Rams, this game has extra significance as a ‘must-win’ to keep their Finals chances alive as a loss here and a Box Hill win will likely put an end to them making the Finals for the first time. The Bombers will see a different line-up take the field to past rounds with their Victorian representatives away on duty and this should make for a closer game that on paper has the potential to go either way. While the Rams need the win, the gut feel says the Bombers’ experience may just be the difference in this one.
Carlton-Brunswick (7th) host Plenty Valley (6th) at Princes Park #1. Both sides will be keen to finish their seasons with some positive notes to work with ahead of season 2020/21. The Strikers continue to develop their younger players and if they can gel then there is a chance of Finals in the next couple of seasons, while the Bats will be somewhat disappointed with the performances this season after making the Semi Finals the last couple of seasons. Both sides can certainly win this match if they play their best cricket. Looking at season form, the biggest battle will be which batting line-up can master the other’s bowling attack and current records give the Bats the advantage here.
Finally, Dandenong (2nd) host Melbourne (1st) at Shepley Oval. The top two sides of the season face off against one another. The Panthers will be keen to produce an upset to keep their Top 2 chances and a potential home final in-tact with EMP just 3 points behind them, while the Demons will simply want to win this match to wrap up the Minor Premiership with 2 rounds to go. Both sides have strong players but the biggest question for this match is how much each side is impacted by the State Squad selections for the WNCL. If this goes as expected with player representative duties then the advantage in this match will have to go with the Demons based on the squads on paper.
Congratulations go to the following members within Premier Cricket:
MEN’S PREMIER 1STS
ROUND 12 – SATURDAY 20 FEBRUARY (11:00am Start)
RINGWOOD V CARLTON at Russell Lucas Oval
Umpires G Azzopardi & S Olufson
FITZROY DONCASTER V CASEY-SOUTH MELBOURNE at Schramms Reserve #1
Umpires L McKay & B Sheahan
NORTHCOTE V MELBOURNE at Bill Lawry Oval
Umpires M Muthugounder & S Pitts
CAMBERWELL MAGPIES V MELBOURNE UNIVERSITY at Camberwell Sports Ground
Umpires D Brigham & A Medina
FOOTSCRAY V ST KILDA at Mervyn G Hughes Oval
Umpires D Ireland & M van Eck
GEELONG V DANDENONG at Geelong Cricket Ground
Umpires R Birch & T Wendelken
GREENVALE KANGAROOS V RICHMOND at Greenvale Reserve #1
Umpires A Hind & R Hubbard
FRANKSTON PENINSULA V PRAHRAN at AH Butler Oval
Umpires S Brne & M Malmberg
KINGSTON HAWTHORN V ESSENDON at Walter Galt Reserve
Umpires G Bawa & M Nolan
WOMEN’S PREMIER 1STS
ROUND 12 – SUNDAY 20 FEBRUARY (11:00am Start)
PRAHRAN V BOX HILL at Toorak Park
Umpires D Brigham & M Wood
RINGWOOD V ESSENDON MARIBYRNONG PARK at Russell Lucas Oval
Umpires C Grant & A Medina
CARLTON-BRUNSWICK V PLENTY VALLEY at Princes Park #1
Umpires W Downey & J Wyatt
DANDENONG V MELBOURNE at Shepley Oval
Umpires A Ali & L McCabe