It is hard to believe that it is now a month since the 2021/22 Victorian Premier Cricket season commenced and judging by the ladder at present, the coming weekend will have a large say in terms of momentum for the coming weeks.
Round 5 results included a 1-run thriller that saw Melbourne defeat Footscray thanks to Sam Harper’s direct hit on the last ball to run out Jake Reed, Ringwood account for Geelong down at the Cattery and Richmond upset the reigning premiers in Prahran.
Last weekend saw 2 centuries, and 15 half centuries scored across the day, with Melbourne’s Campbell Kellaway (102) making it back-to-back centuries this season, whilst Ringwood’s Tom Rogers (118) also made his second century of the season. Richmond’s Shobit Singh (98*) was desperately unlucky to miss out on his maiden 1st XI century, as was fellow Ram Arjun Dhull (93) and Northcote’s Jack Lalor (94*). With the ball, the pick of the bowlers were St Kilda’s Todd Murphy (5/32) and Geelong’s Dom McGlinchey (5/46). Others to stand out included Melbourne University’s Alex Gregory (4/11), Northcote’s Jonty Rushton (4/23 + 47), Frankston Peninsula’s Brodie Symons (4/33) and Essendon’s Liam Bowe (4/33).
Round 6 will see several games that will determine who will be sitting inside the Top 8 over the upcoming Christmas/New Year break and will give other sides some motivation to come out firing post the break.
Melbourne (6th) host Essendon (17th) at the Albert Ground. The Demons come into this game off the back of their last-ball victory against Footscray, whilst the Bombers secured their first win last week against the Camberwell Magpies. Both sides will be keen to take the points and take momentum over the Christmas break, but the Demons are currently in the top 4 places for batting and bowling whilst the Bombers are 17th for runs scored this season. On current form, the advantage at this time will have to sit with the Demons on their home track at the Albert, but it could be another tight one.
Frankston Peninsula (14th) host Footscray (5th) at J Coburn Oval. The Heat were competitive against St Kilda but ultimately fell short after an average batting display, whilst the Dogs were unlucky in that Sam Harper’s throw on the last ball prevented them from sharing the points with Melbourne. On paper, both sides have been around a similar mark with the bat, but the key difference is with the ball, with the Dogs equal 2nd so far for wickets taken, whilst the Heat are 2nd last in the same space. On team strength, the advantage in this one will have to go with the Dogs on the road.
Ringwood (10th) host Prahran (9th) at Russell Lucas Oval. The Rams are coming into this match off the back of a strong win against Geelong on the road, whilst the True Blues will be keen to rebound after dropping their match against Richmond. This match should be interesting in that the Rams have been far stronger with the bat this season, but the True Blues are marginally performing better with the ball, though their batting (currently 14th for runs scored) may appear somewhat shakier than last season. On paper, this game could be decided by a toss of the coin – maybe the Rams at home just.
Richmond (8th) host Fitzroy Doncaster (13th) at Central Reserve North. The Tigers are roaring along this season after upsetting the reigning premiers Prahran by 8 wickets, whilst the Lions will be keen to get some revenge after falling 2 wickets short against Melbourne University. Both sides have been fairly even with the bat but the Lions have been slightly stronger with the ball in terms of wickets taken this season so far. With Tigers skipper Dom Matarazzo due to line up for his 150th 1st XI match this weekend, this game could be a ‘match of the round’ contender, with the Tigers at home for me.
The Camberwell Magpies (16th) play Northcote (4th) at the Bill Lawry Oval with the latest update being that the Camberwell Sports Ground is now unavailable until mid-January at earliest. The Magpies were competitive against Essendon but a lack of wickets hurt, whilst the Dragons accounted for the Greenvale Kangaroos. On paper, the Dragons have been the stronger of the two sides and will be keen to secure their position in the Top 4 for the Christmas break, but the Magpies will certainly be up to task to secure an upset. Gut feel and form says the Dragons in this encounter.
The Greenvale Kangaroos (18th) host Carlton (1st) at Greenvale Reserve #1. The Kangaroos were outclassed by Northcote last weekend and face another tough task this week, whilst the Blues overcame a sluggish start against Kingston Hawthorn to take the points. Whilst the Kangaroos secured a win in the Vic SUPER SLAM on Tuesday Night at Geelong, on paper this encounter will be a match where they will aim to not be blown out of the park and hope that their bowlers can gain some confidence. Regular expectations would say that Carlton will take the points comfortably.
Casey-South Melbourne (7th) host St Kilda (2nd) at Casey Fields #4. The Swans have started strongly and secured a win against Dandenong last weekend, whilst the Saints overcame a plucky Frankston Peninsula side that had them at a ‘6 count’ chasing 150. This match will be a good chance to see how the up-and-coming Swans and their new attack go against arguably one of the best batting line-ups currently running around the competition. On paper, whilst the Swans will go in with the home ground advantage, the current form shown would have to give favouritism in this one to the Saints.
Kingston Hawthorn (11th) host Geelong (12th) at Walter Galt Reserve. This game is already shaping up as a ‘must win’ encounter for both sides, as the Hawks lost to Carlton and the Cats to Ringwood last weekend. In terms of performances, both sides are around the same mark so far for wickets taken, but the Cats have been stronger with the bat as per previous seasons. The winner of this game may see themselves sitting inside the Top 8 come Saturday night and both sides will be keen to do so. On paper, I genuinely think the Hawks might have a sniff for the upset here on their home deck.
Finally, Melbourne University (3rd) host Dandenong (15th) at the University Main Oval. The Students just fell over the line against Fitzroy Doncaster last weekend, whilst Dandenong were soundly accounted for by Casey-South Melbourne. It has been a tough start to the year for the rebuilding Panthers and this game is not going to make things any easier, with the Students currently playing like they are a genuine premiership threat. On paper, whilst the Panthers hold one of the current leading wicket takers, the Students are far more even across the board to win this match at home.
In Women’s Premier Cricket, last weekend saw one of the tightest rounds in recent seasons, with two games being decided by small margins.
The two standout games last weekend saw EMP scrape home by 1 wicket over Ringwood at Russell Lucas Oval thanks to a 25-run 10th wicket stand chasing 110 for victory, whilst Carlton upset reigning premiers Dandenong at Shepley Oval by just 4 runs after the Panthers suffered another batting collapse. Melbourne defeated Prahran at the Albert by 66 runs and Box Hill defeated Plenty Valley at Yarrambat by 7 wickets to round out the other games.
In terms of individual performances, the standout with the bat was Box Hill’s Anna Lanning (106*) in the Mustangs’ 7-wicket win over Plenty Valley. The only other players to get scores of 50+ last weekend were Plenty Valley duo Tayla Vlaeminck (57) and Jasmine Nevins (54), with the next highest of the round being Carlton’s Nipuni Hansika (47).
With the ball, there were two standout performances from up-and-coming bowlers. Ringwood’s Hailey Ferris (6/30) almost won the match for the Rams with her spell triggering a Bombers batting collapse, whilst Box Hill’s Isabel White (5/26) cleaned up Plenty Valley’s middle and lower order. EMP’s Samantha Bates (4/13) was also unplayable when bowling to Ringwood’s batting card.
Round 6’s matches will see some interesting encounters, with last season’s Grand Final rematch and a recent rivalry that will see where both sides are at as we lead into the break. Most sides will likely also find themselves a little weaker as the Victorian team takes on New South Wales in WNCL matches today and Sunday at the CitiPower Centre.
Box Hill (2nd) host Dandenong (6th) at the Box Hill City Oval. The Mustangs are starting to find their feet in recent weeks and will be keen to secure another win on the board. The Panthers meanwhile will be keen to break their recent run of matches where they have been in the box seat, only to stumble and fall at the final hurdle and lose games from seemingly unlosable positions. There are certainly still some questions with the Mustangs’ batting card as they have yet to bat first in a match this season and this might give them a test if given the opportunity. On paper, whilst the reigning premiers will be keen to break their losing streak, it will be tough to go past the Mustangs at home.
Prahran (7th) host Ringwood (4th) at Toorak Park. The True Blues will be keen to notch a second win this season after facing ladder leaders Melbourne last week, whilst the Rams will be keen to rebound strongly after an ‘indifferent’ performance against EMP saw them drop a game when they had their hands clasped around the result. The True Blues will need to find some form with the ball as so far, they have taken the second fewest wickets this season (21 – still 9 wickets behind next lowest EMP) and this might be an area that the Rams batting line-up may look to capitalise on. On paper, the Rams should go into this encounter with the advantage on the road and should secure the points.
EMP (5th) host Melbourne (1st) at Aberfeldie Park. The Bombers pulled off the ‘great escape’ last week with a last-gasp victory on the road at Ringwood, whilst the Demons accounted for Prahran at the Albert. The Bombers’ line-up has been fluctuating based on which state players are available and this may prove to be a challenge in this match, with their batting having lost the second most wickets so far, whilst the Demons have taken the most wickets and are second for runs scored batting. On paper, expect minimal change with regards to the Demons line-up this week and on that basis would be most likely to go into the Christmas Break as the one undefeated side.
Finally, Carlton (3rd) host Plenty Valley (8th) at Princes Park #1. The Blues (like EMP) also pulled off a ‘great escape’ type win but with their game most of the carnage came from their opponents’ inability to finish their run chase off, whilst the Bats were certainly more competitive against Box Hill but also were again outclassed. The Blues are so far leading the competition for runs scored and against a side that has scored the second fewest runs and has taken the fewest wickets will be keen to make hay. On paper, whilst the Bats will be pushing hard to develop their squad, this game will be another tough for their young charges. Blues to win at home in this encounter.
Finally, on behalf of the Premier Cricket Department, we wish everyone a safe and festive Christmas and New Year and we look forward to seeing everyone on return for the weekend of the 8th and 9th January.
Congratulations go to the following members within Premier Cricket for upcoming and recently achieved milestones:
MEN’S PREMIER 1STS
ROUND 6 – SATURDAY 18 DECEMBER (11:00am Start)
MELBOURNE V ESSENDON at Albert Ground
Umpires L McKay & J Wyatt
FRANKSTON PENINSULA V FOOTSCRAY at J Coburn Oval
Umpires M Nolan & M Robertson
RINGWOOD V PRAHRAN at Russell Lucas Oval
Umpires D Brigham & C James
RICHMOND V FITZROY DONCASTER at Central Reserve North
Umpires L McCabe & M Muthugounder
CAMBERWELL MAGPIES V NORTHCOTE at Bill Lawry Oval
Umpires R Birch & C Grant
GREENVALE KANGAROOS V CARLTON at Greenvale Reserve #1
Umpires R Hubbard & S Pitts
CASEY-SOUTH MELBOURNE V ST KILDA at Casey Fields #4
Umpires G Azzopardi & A Medina
KINGSTON HAWTHORN V GEELONG at Walter Galt Reserve
Umpires B Davies & S Olufson
MELBOURNE UNIVERSITY V DANDENONG at University Main Oval
Umpires G Bawa & M Malmberg
WOMEN’S PREMIER 1STS
ROUND 6 – SUNDAY 19 DECEMBER (11:00am Start)
BOX HILL V DANDENONG at Box Hill City Oval
Umpires A Ali & G Azzopardi
PRAHRAN V RINGWOOD at Toorak Park
Umpires S Balreddygari & M Wood
ESSENDON MARIBYRNONG PARK V MELBOURNE at Aberfeldie Park
Umpires S Fishley & D Ireland
CARLTON V PLENTY VALLEY at Princes Park #1
Umpires B Davies & M Malmberg