Welcome back to the regular running of the Weekly Preview after a week missed (as the regular author was occupied with external activities late last week).
Round Nine of the Men’s Premier Cricket saw another 8 of 9 1st XI matches played (most of these were impacted in various levels by the weather that was experienced in the 36 hours preceding the round). Ringwood will be praying to the weather gods that it will be ‘third time lucky’ that they can take the field again this weekend after they have been washed out with their last two games.
Standout performers with the bat last weekend included Geelong skipper Eamonn Vines (115* vs Kingston Hawthorn) and Fitzroy Doncaster’s Jack Rudd (105 vs Greenvale Kangaroos). Others to perform well included Melbourne skipper Blake Thomson (95* vs Footscray) and Geelong’s Tom Jackson (85 vs Kingston Hawthorn), while another 11 half-centuries between 50 and 67 were scored across the grade.
With the ball, the pick of the bowlers was Northcote’s Daniel Lalor (5/29 vs Carlton). Other bowlers to put in strong performances included Dandenong’s Adam McMaster (4/29 vs St Kilda) and Melbourne’s Kyle Williamson (4/13 vs Footscray), with another 8 bowlers taking a 3-wicket haul in the round.
With the season now at the halfway point, a gap has started to form in the ladder with 6 points now separating 8th placed Prahran and 9th placed Melbourne University, with another 3 points separating the latter from Essendon and a small pack fighting to keep their chances of Finals alive.
This weekend’s fixtured matches are as follows:
Ringwood (11th) host Richmond (14th) at Russell Lucas Oval. The Rams will be keen to get on the park and showcase their talents, while the Tigers will be keen to continue developing their emerging squad and pick up some further wins. On paper, the Rams should have enough firepower if their batting fires to overcome the Tigers, but I wouldn’t say that the result is a ‘fait accompli’.
Prahran (8th) host Kingston Hawthorn (16th) at Toorak Park. The True Blues need to win this game to keep themselves in the Top 8 and potentially open the gap between them and Uni to a two-game buffer. The Hawks have provided a couple of surprise results this season so are not entirely out of consideration, but they will need to fire with the bat if they are a chance to win this game.
The Camberwell Magpies (15th) host Carlton (1st) at Camberwell Sports Ground. The Magpies have started well since the break with 2 wins and a tie but will find this battle a much greater challenge against the top side. The Blues will be keen to rebound strongly after being outclassed against Northcote and on paper should have enough firepower and skill to do so.
Footscray (12th) host Northcote (2nd) at Mervyn G Hughes Oval. The Dogs are in a position now where they need to take more chances and convert them into wins to have any chance of playing Finals. The Dragons are running into some strong form lately and on paper should take the points, but the Dogs at their home ‘kennel’ are not an easy proposition on any occasion.
Essendon (10th) host Fitzroy Doncaster (6th) at Windy Hill. The Bombers saw a rebound over the last two weeks and need to keep momentum going to keep themselves in with a chance of Finals. Standing in their way is the Lions who have won 6 games on the trot to be the current ‘in-form’ club. Expect this to be one of the matches of the round, with the gut feel suggesting the Bombers just.
Melbourne University (9th) host Dandenong (4th) at the University Main Oval. Uni has slipped outside the Top 8 after the last couple of weeks and will be keen to keep their chances of the Top 8 in play. The Panthers have won their last 3 matches and will be keen to make it 4 in a row with the ladder becoming a logjam around them. Current form suggests the Panthers on the road in a tight one.
Frankston Peninsula (17th) host the Greenvale Kangaroos (18th) at AH Butler Oval. Both sides will be keen to get their campaign into double digits for the season. The Roos defeated Kingston Hawthorn before a washout against Ringwood, while the Heat upset Melbourne before a tie against the Camberwell Magpies last week. Current form suggests the Heat as favourites.
Melbourne (3rd) host Geelong (7th) at the Albert Ground, with the Demons being able to access the venue for the first time this season. The Demons have won their last two after dropping 3-in-a-row post-Christmas, while the Cats have won their last 4 games. While the Cats have the best run-scoring capacity, their bowling attack still has question marks on performance. Demons at home.
Finally, Casey-South Melbourne (13th) host St Kilda (5th) at Casey Fields #4. The Swans defeated Essendon last week in a close game to break a 3-game losing streak, while the Saints have dropped their last two and 3 of the last 4. The big battle in this game will be how the Swans bowlers can contain the Saints batting card under pressure. Saints to start as favourites on the road.
In Women’s Premier Cricket, Round 10 has arrived. With just 5 rounds left in the Home and Away season, the teams are starting to be sorted out with the number of sides left in contention sitting at 6 (but may reduce to 5 after the weekend pending on the results).
Standout performances with the bat were again led by EMP’s Elyse Villani (94 vs Carlton-Brunswick), while Prahran skipper Annabel Sutherland (58 vs Melbourne), Melbourne’s Mia Perrin (55 vs Prahran) and Plenty Valley’s Jasmine Nevins (51 vs Ringwood) also passing the half-century mark. With the ball, the pick of the crop was Box Hill’s Isabel White (6/16 vs Dandenong), while Melbourne’s Anna O’Donnell (4/30 vs Prahran) also bowled well. Returning Australian and Victorian speedster Tayla Vlaeminck took 3/27 in her first game back with Plenty Valley after injury in their win against Ringwood.
With the WNCL games commencing next Wednesday for Victoria, there may be some notable inclusions/exclusions for this weekend’s games.
On Saturday, Essendon Maribyrnong Park (3rd) take on Dandenong (2nd) at Aberfeldie Park for their second battle for the ‘Redderz Cup’. Both sides will be keen to take the points after winning their last two games, with the Bombers especially needing the points to keep a hold of a place in the Top 4 with Ringwood and Box Hill in hot pursuit. Based on current form, if both sides have their strongest teams in with state players then EMP would start as favourites, but if decimated then the favouritism would swing towards the Panthers.
On Sunday, Box Hill (5th) host Carlton-Brunswick (7th) at Box Hill City Oval. For the Mustangs, this is a must-win game to keep their chances of making the Finals as strong as possible, while the Strikers will be keen to finish the year strong and could potentially cause some headaches along the way. Noting performances so far this season, the Strikers would really need to find something out of the ordinary as they are only ahead of their opponents on runs scored but have taken the fewest wickets with the ball. On current form, the Mustangs would have to go in as favourites.
Plenty Valley (6th) host Prahran (8th) at Yarrambat War Memorial Park. The equation is simple for the Bats – win to keep any chances of Finals alive, lose and say goodbye to season 2020/21. For the True Blues, this season has been a year of rebuilding and developing talent and they would be keen to see a little more reward on the ladder for their efforts. If the Bats can fire with the willow then they will make it tough for the visitors, but if the True Blues can bowl the hosts out for a low score then anything is possible. Gut feel says the Bats to keep their season alive.
Finally, Melbourne (1st) host Ringwood (4th) at the Albert Ground. The Demons have taken this season by storm and have survived a couple of scares to sit 7 points clear of Dandenong, while the Rams are hanging onto 4th position by the skin of their teeth. The Rams will be keen to secure a win to keep themselves in contention but will be subject to who is available in the team selection, as the Demons are expected to have close to a full-strength line-up on paper that has done the job time and again this season. On current form, the Demons to go in with the advantage.
Congratulations go to the following members within Premier Cricket:
MEN’S PREMIER 1STS
ROUND 10 – SATURDAY 6 FEBRUARY (11:00am Start)
RINGWOOD V RICHMOND at Russell Lucas Oval
Umpires G Azzopardi & A Hind
PRAHRAN V KINGSTON HAWTHORN at Toorak Park
Umpires W Downey & L McCabe
CAMBERWELL MAGPIES V CARLTON at Camberwell Sports Ground
Umpires S Brne & L McKay
FOOTSCRAY V NORTHCOTE at Mervyn G Hughes Oval
Umpires J Leonard-Scott & M Wood
ESSENDON V FITZROY DONCASTER at Windy Hill
Umpires D Brigham & J Wyatt
MELBOURNE UNIVERSITY V DANDENONG at University Main Oval
Umpires A Ali & B Sheahan
FRANKSTON PENINSULA V GREENVALE KANGAROOS at AH Butler Oval
Umpires C Grant & S Pitts
MELBOURNE V GEELONG at Albert Ground
Umpires M Nolan & M van Eck
CASEY-SOUTH MELBOURNE V ST KILDA at Casey Fields #4
Umpires V Calabro & S Olufson
WOMEN’S PREMIER 1STS
ESSENDON MARIBYRNONG PARK V DANDENONG at Aberfeldie Park
Umpires R Birch & R Hubbard
ROUND 10 – SUNDAY 7 FEBRUARY (11:00am Start)
BOX HILL V CARLTON-BRUNSWICK at Box Hill City Oval
Umpires G Bawa & M Muthugounder
PLENTY VALLEY V PRAHRAN at Yarrambat War Memorial Park
Umpires M Malmberg & T Wendelken
MELBOURNE V RINGWOOD at Albert Ground
Umpires D Ireland and T Medina