Round 12 of Victorian Premier Cricket saw plenty of ‘movement at the stations’ with the ladder, with various ladder positions shifting because of last week’s action on-field.
The pick of the performers at the weekend were Fitzroy Doncaster’s Jack Rudd (116*) with the only century of the weekend (scored against Casey-South Melbourne) and Ringwood’s Ian Holland (5/43) had the best bowling figures with his haul taken against Carlton.
This weekend’s fixtured matches for Round 13 are as follows:
Prahran (5th) host the Greenvale Kangaroos (16th) at Toorak Park. The True Blues have been on the improve again this year and will be keen to keep the pressure on the Top 4 with this match. The Kangaroos have been in matches many times this season, but their inexperience as a unit has often led to patches of play that let the opposition take the match from them. On paper, this match should go the way of the hosts based on their recent form.
St Kilda (3rd) host Geelong (8th) at the CitiPower Centre. This match has the potential for one of the ‘games of the round’, with the Saints playing some strong cricket and the Cats brimming with confidence after defeating Dandenong last weekend. On paper, this game can go either way, with the Saints bowling attack up against the best batting line-up in the comp. I would say the home ground advantage works in the Saints favour for this one with Saint Max Stevenson making his debut.
Essendon (9th) host the Camberwell Magpies (15th) at Windy Hill. The Bombers kept their Finals chances alive with a win against Kingston Hawthorn, while the Magpies just fell short against Melbourne University. The Bombers have been a strong side this year but on occasion have paid for slow starts and they will not want to do that here, while the Magpies will be keen for an upset on Simon Hill’s 300th 1st XI match. On paper, I expect the Bombers to start as favourites here.
Melbourne University (10th) host Frankston Peninsula (18th) at the University Main Oval. Uni just fell over the line in their encounter last weekend against the Camberwell Magpies, while the Heat were outclassed by Prahran. If Uni want to keep alive any chance of playing Finals alive, they need to capitalize on these opportunities, but the Heat have shown they are capable of an upset earlier this season. On paper, Uni should come away with the win, but they need to be clinical in the process.
Carlton (1st) host Kingston Hawthorn (17th) at Princes Park #1. The top of the ladder Blues have been performing all year and will be keen to celebrate Thomas Smyth’s 200th 1st XI match with another clinical performance, while the Hawks will be looking to return to the ‘inner spirit’ that saw them upset St Kilda earlier this season and aim for a similar result here. On paper, the Blues appear to be the team to beat this season and should continue their dominant season here.
Dandenong (6th) host Fitzroy Doncaster (7th) at Shepley Oval. The Panthers will be keen to bounce back after a fruitless road trip to Geelong last week, while the Lions will be keen to add to their tally of 7 wins from their last 8 matches played. The key defining area in this game will be how the Lions’ batting card goes against the Panthers’ bowling attack, with Jack Rudd being the lynchpin of the Lions’ batting card at present. Form suggests the Lions to win but gut suggests the Panthers at home.
Melbourne (2nd) host Ringwood (11th) at the Albert Ground. The Demons moved back into 2nd position after a comfortable win over fellow contenders Northcote, while the Rams were competitive against ladder leaders Carlton. Whilst the Rams have plenty of experienced heads in the team, the biggest battle here will be containing the Demons’ batting card – if they can do this then they have a chance but recent form suggests the Demons at the Albert are tough to beat.
Casey-South Melbourne (14th) host Footscray (13th) at Casey Fields #4. The Swans were outplayed by Fitzroy Doncaster last week but have a prime opportunity to take the points against the Dogs who have also struggled in recent weeks, particularly with the ball. The Swans will be keen to win for Devin Pollock and Michael Wallace’s 100th 1st XI matches and need to fire with the ball to win this game, but I expect the experience at the Dogs to rise to the top and give them a morale boost.
Finally, Richmond (12th) host Northcote (4th) at Central Reserve North. The Tigers ended a 5-game losing streak with a win over the Greenvale Kangaroos and will be keen to produce an upset, while the Dragons will be breathing fire after losing to Melbourne. Whilst the ‘Tiger Cubs’ are growing with each match, the Dragons’ line-up has been quite strong this season, especially on the batting front and this might be the deciding factor. On current form, the Dragons should take the points.
In Women’s Premier Cricket, Round 13 has arrived. With now just 2 games left in the Home and Away season, the top 4 positions are effectively sewn-up after last week’s results. Ringwood can theoretically still make the Finals but must win both games by large results, achieve the bonus points in both games and rely on Box Hill losing both of their matches.
The pick of last week’s performances came from EMP’s Nat Schilov (100 vs Ringwood), breaking her long-standing century drought that stretched back to the 2008/09 season and with the ball, 4-wicket hauls were taken by Jasmine Nevins (Plenty Valley), Addy Campion (Carlton-Brunswick), Rhiann O’Donnell (Melbourne) and Zoe Griffiths (Box Hill).
This week’s matches are as follows:
Box Hill (4th) host Melbourne (1st) at Box Hill City Oval. The Mustangs won last week over Prahran and will be keen to make sure that they are playing Finals by consigning the top of the ladder Demons to another defeat and put extra pressure on that top spot on the ladder. The Demons on the other hand will be keen to rebound after losing a last-over thriller against Dandenong on the road. Both sides are strong with the ball, with the two attacks having taken the most wickets this season so far. The difference will be with the bat and on paper, the Demons should have enough strength in their batting to overcome the Mustangs’ attack on the day.
Plenty Valley (6th) host Essendon Maribyrnong Park (3rd) at Yarrambat War Memorial Park. The Bats returned to the winners’ circle last weekend in what has otherwise been a year of consolidation with their squad, while the Bombers played well to finish the stronger in their game against Ringwood. Both sides are more than capable of playing strong cricket on their day and whilst the Bats are out of contention, they can certainly still shape the final positions of the Top 4. Noting the current strengths of the clubs with the WNCL running, the favourites on paper will be the Bombers but they will need to continue to fire with the bat to make sure they come away with the points.
Carlton-Brunswick (7th) host Ringwood (5th) at Princes Park #1. The Strikers have battled hard all year and will be keen to come away with some points in this encounter. Standing in their way is a fired-up team of Rams that will be keen to finish strong and keep any semblance of a Finals appearance alive. The Rams have been the second-highest run scoring team this season and can score freely when they are on-song, but they will need to make sure their bowlers fire as this has been one area that has been a battle this season but playing against the team that has scored the second-fewest runs, on paper the Rams should come away with the points but might find it hard for a bonus point.
Finally, Prahran (8th) host Dandenong (2nd) at Toorak Park. The True Blues have seen this season as ‘growing pains’ for their young squad but this will be for the longer-term betterment of their group of players, while the Panthers are currently in a prime position to make a push for a Premiership for the first time since the 2012/13 season. The True Blues feel the absence of their skipper Annabel Sutherland when on rep duty, while the Panthers can cover the gaps of their rep players at times. On current form, the Panthers should have enough experience to take the points but I would expect the True Blues to be fighting above their weight all the way.
This week, the Women’s Premier Thirds competition are playing their Semi Finals. Games and venues are as follows:
Congratulations go to the following members within Premier Cricket:
MEN’S PREMIER 1STS
ROUND 13 – SATURDAY 27 FEBRUARY (11:00am Start)
PRAHRAN V GREENVALE KANGAROOS at Toorak Park
Umpires V Calabro & L McCabe
ST KILDA V GEELONG at CitiPower Centre
Umpires D Ireland & S Olufson
ESSENDON V CAMBERWELL MAGPIES at Windy Hill
Umpires W Downey & A Medina
MELBOURNE UNIVERSITY V FRANKSTON PENINSULA at University Main Oval
Umpires A Ali & M Muthugounder
CARLTON V KINGSTON HAWTHORN at Princes Park #1
Umpires A Hind & M Malmberg
DANDENONG V FITZROY DONCASTER at Shepley Oval
Umpires G Azzopardi & T Wendelken
MELBOURNE V RINGWOOD at Albert Ground
Umpires R Birch & C Grant
CASEY-SOUTH MELBOURNE V FOOTSCRAY at Casey Fields #4
Umpires R Hubbard & M Wood
RICHMOND V NORTHCOTE at Central Reserve North
Umpires G Bawa & P Gillespie
WOMEN’S PREMIER 1STS
ROUND 13 – SUNDAY 27 FEBRUARY (11:00am Start)
BOX HILL V MELBOURNE at Box Hill City Oval
Umpires J Leonard-Scott & B Sheahan
PLENTY VALLEY V ESSENDON MARIBYRNONG PARK at Yarrambat War Memorial Park
Umpires S Brne & M Nolan
CARLTON-BRUNSWICK V DANDENONG at Princes Park #1
Umpires L McKay & M van Eck
DANDENONG V PRAHRAN at Shepley Oval
Umpires M Gunn & M Pearce