Round 10 of the Men’s Premier Cricket competition saw the weather again play around with a handful of games across the competition but only reducing the number of overs available at certain venues. Most games were able to play unimpacted and some interesting results were the order of the day’s activities.
Standout performers with the bat last weekend included Carlton duo Nick Ross (130*) and Thomas Smyth (94) in the Blues’ win against the Camberwell Magpies, Dandenong’s Ed Newman (120* vs Melbourne University) broke through for his maiden 1st XI century, as did the Greenvale Kangaroos’ Joshua Trembearth (108 vs Frankston Peninsula). Essendon’s James Seymour (83 vs Fitzroy Doncaster) batted well, as did Geelong skipper Eamonn Vines (90 vs Melbourne) and Prahran’s Damon Egan (96* vs Kingston Hawthorn), while there was another 13 half-centuries across the day’s play.
With the ball, the pick of the bowlers was Essendon’s ‘wizard’, Liam Bowe (5/27 vs Fitzroy Doncaster). Other bowlers to bowl well on the day included Geelong’s Brody Couch (4/47) and Melbourne’s Kyle Williamson (4/34) in the Cats vs Demons game, Prahran’s Nick Boland (4/20 vs Kingston Hawthorn) and Northcote’s Michael Topp (4/30 vs Footscray). Another 11 bowlers across the grade finished the day with a bag of 3 wickets to their names.
With the weeks quickly drawing towards the ‘pressure cooker’ end of the season, the gaps between sides are slowly starting to open-up 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 11 are as follows:
Carlton (1st) host Frankston Peninsula (18th) at Princes Park #1. The Blues have been one of the best sides all year and will be keen to not take their foot off the pedals anytime soon after their recent ‘slip-up’ against Northcote. The Heat will be looking to use their experience from their upset win against Melbourne after Christmas to try and get a similar result, but on current form the Blues appear far too strong on paper and should come away with the points.
Dandenong (4th) host Prahran (6th) at Shepley Oval. The Panthers have won their last 4 games, while the True Blues have won 3 of their last 4 so this should make for an entertaining match-up. The hosts were without James Nanopoulos last weekend but were able to cover his absence nicely, while the True Blues will be keen to keep the pressure on the sides placed above them. On paper, the Panthers will go in with the home ground advantage but this game could easily go either way.
Fitzroy Doncaster (7th) host Melbourne (3rd) at Schramms Reserve #1. The Lions will be keen to rebound with a win after Essendon broke their 6-game winning streak last week, while the Demons have won their last 3 games and appear to have their mojo back from the early rounds. Both sides have played some good cricket and this will be another game to keep your eyes on the score, but the gut feel suggests the Demons may be too strong with their line-up for the Lions in this one.
Geelong (8th) host the Camberwell Magpies (16th) at Geelong Cricket Ground. The Cats took it up to Melbourne last week but fell short, while the Magpies had Carlton in early trouble with the bat but could not break that crucial 4th wicket stand early enough proving the difference in that game. The Cats are still leading the ‘Runs For’ column on the ladder this season and will need to bowl well if they want to keep those outside the Top 8 at bay. The Cats at home in this one for the win.
Kingston Hawthorn (17th) host Ringwood (9th) at Walter Galt Reserve. The Hawks have lost their last four games but have been competitive at times, while the Rams won last week after their two previous games were abandoned due to weather. This game has the potential of going either way with the result if both teams come out and play their absolute best cricket, but on the strength of the two line-ups on paper I would have to say the Rams would go in with the advantage here.
The Greenvale Kangaroos (15th) host Casey-South Melbourne (13th) at Greenvale Reserve #1. The Kangaroos have won 2 of their last 4 games, while the Swans have only won 1 of their last 5 games. Both sides will be keen to secure more points and work on finishing their season on a positive note. The big battle will be how the Kangaroos’ bowling attack goes against the Swans batting line-up. On paper, the Swans may just have the advantage for this one despite being on the road.
Northcote (2nd) host neighbours Melbourne University (11th) at Bill Lawry Oval. The Dragons are now the ‘in-form’ team of the competition, winning their last 6 games and 8 of their last 9 games, while Uni has not seen a win since Round 6, with their abandoned Round 9 game their only recent points. On current form, I would have to say the Dragons have the advantage, but I wouldn’t put it past Uni to find something out of the playing group to keep their chances of playing Finals alive.
Richmond (14th) host Footscray (12th) at Central Reserve North. The Tigers have lost their last 5 games, while the Dogs have had a tough time of late as well, with a win over Kingston Hawthorn being their only points secured in the same timeframe. On paper, the Dogs appear to have the stronger batting card but the Tigers could give them some challenges with the ball and may make life difficult. On current form, I would say the Dogs just but expect this to be a close call.
Finally, St Kilda (5th) host Essendon (10th) at the CitiPower Centre. Over the last 5 rounds the Saints have won just two games, while the Bombers have been marginally better with 3 wins in the same time. The Saints will be keen to win on their home patch to keep pressure on the Top 4, while the Bombers need to win to keep pressure on the bottom end of the Top 8. With both sides needing the win, this game has the potential to go either way on the day but the Saints at home just for now.
In Women’s Premier Cricket, Round 11 has arrived. With just 4 rounds left in the Home and Away season, we are left with 5 sides fighting 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.
Standout performances with the bat last weekend were led by Ringwood skipper Bhavi Devchand (85 vs Melbourne), EMP’s Elyse Villani (72* vs Dandenong) and Prahran skipper Annabel Sutherland (63* vs Plenty Valley), while another four half-centuries were scored across the grade. With the ball, the leader of the pack this week was Prahran’s Jaide Anthony (3/9 vs Plenty Valley). Other bowlers to take 3-fors included EMP’s Georgia Wareham (3/21) and Briana Binch (3/29) in their win against Dandenong, Melbourne’s Rhiann O’Donnell (3/33 & 55 vs Ringwood) and Plenty Valley’s Jasmine Nevins (3/13 vs Prahran).
With the WNCL game played on Wednesday and another today (Friday), this week may yet see some sides impacted with key player unavailability for the first time since the start of the season when the WBBL was being held in Sydney.
On Saturday, Essendon Maribyrnong Park (3rd) take on Prahran (8th) at Aberfeldie Park. The Bombers have won their last three games in a row while the True Blues have won 2 of their last 3 and took it up to ladder leaders Melbourne in the other game. While the Bombers have been strong in recent weeks, this has been with all their big-names in the side and with uncertainty of several of these members taking the field this week this could give the True Blues a chance, but they are in a similar boat with skipper Annabel Sutherland away on rep duty. Current form suggests the Bombers at home to take the points with the experienced members available.
On Sunday, Melbourne (1st) host Carlton-Brunswick (7th) at the Albert Ground. The Demons have been the form side of the season and have played a strong brand of cricket to have a 12-point break over 2nd placed Dandenong. The Strikers can look at the season as another year of development as a unit but will be keen to see their side push sooner rather than later for a Finals appearance with their brigade of young stars getting another year of top-flight cricket under their belts. Based on the current form of the Demons’ side and the fact they are back on the Albert has to see them take the points and potentially secure that minor premiership with three rounds to be played.
Plenty Valley (6th) host Dandenong (2nd) at Yarrambat War Memorial Park. Any chance the Bats had of Finals slipped by last weekend against Prahran, despite the efforts of the returning Tayla Vlaeminck with the willow, while the Panthers had their tails clipped by EMP and will be looking to rebound strongly. The big question for this game will be if any of the Victorian representatives are granted permission to take the field on the weekend as both sides have players ‘on duty’ that could be key to how they perform on the day. This may impact the final result but on current form, Dandenong have to go in as favourites in this match.
Finally, Box Hill (4th) host Ringwood (5th) at Box Hill City Oval. This match is arguably the ‘match of the round’ as this game could potentially wrap up who could make the Top 4. While there is current a 6-point gap between the two sides, the Mustangs have won 4 of their last 5 while the Rams have only won 1 game in this time but have defeated EMP in this timeframe (but lost to Plenty Valley in a tight run chase). Based on current form, the Mustangs appear to be the team to go in with the advantage and it might be the end of the Rams’ Finals chances if they cannot defeat Box Hill here as they then take on EMP next week.
Congratulations go to the following members within Premier Cricket:
MEN’S PREMIER 1STS
ROUND 11 – SATURDAY 13 FEBRUARY (11:00am Start)
CARLTON V FRANKSTON PENINSULA at Princes Park #1
Umpires R Birch & D Ireland
DANDENONG V PRAHRAN at Shepley Oval
Umpires R Hubbard & S Olufson
FITZROY DONCASTER V MELBOURNE at Schramms Reserve #1
Umpires J Leonard-Scott & M Malmberg
GEELONG V CAMBERWELL MAGPIES at Geelong
Umpires M Muthugounder & M Wood
KINGSTON HAWTHORN V RINGWOOD at Walter Galt Reserve
Umpires D Brigham & T Wendelken
GREENVALE KANGAROOS V CASEY-SOUTH MELBOURNE at Greenvale Reserve #1
Umpires A Ali & A Medina
NORTHCOTE V MELBOURNE UNIVERSITY at Bill Lawry Oval
Umpires G Azzopardi & J Wyatt
RICHMOND V FOOTSCRAY at Central Reserve North
Umpires G Bawa & S Brne
ST KILDA V ESSENDON at CitiPower Centre
Umpires V Calabro & C Grant
WOMEN’S PREMIER 1STS
ESSENDON MARIBYRNONG PARK V PRAHRAN at Aberfeldie Park
Umpires B Sheahan & M van Eck
ROUND 10 – SUNDAY 14 FEBRUARY (11:00am Start)
BOX HILL V RINGWOOD at Box Hill City Oval
Umpires A Hind & M Nolan
PLENTY VALLEY V DANDENONG at Yarrambat War Memorial Park
Umpires A Medina & S Pitts
MELBOURNE V CARLTON-BRUNSWICK RINGWOOD at Albert Ground
Umpires L McCabe & L McKay