Round 13 of Victorian Premier Cricket saw more movement across the ladder, with numerous ladder positions shifting because of last week’s action on-field.
The standout performances with the bat last weekend came from Essendon’s reigning Ryder Medalist James Seymour (113* vs Camberwell Magpies) and Richmond’s Scott Edwards (101* vs Northcote), while Melbourne’s Sam Harper (92 vs Ringwood) and Fitzroy Doncaster skipper Ejaaz Alavi (89 vs Dandenong) also batted well.
With the ball, Footscray quick Hamish Winter-Irving (5/22 vs Casey-South Melbourne) and Ringwood skipper Patrick Ashton (5/37 vs Melbourne) were the pick of the weekend’s spells, while Casey-South Melbourne’s Nathan Lambden (4/19 vs Footscray), Melbourne duo Kieran Elliott and Jack Prestwidge (4/20 & 4/22 vs Ringwood), Essendon quick Matt Doric (4/49 vs Camberwell Magpies) and Richmond’s Sam Mills (4/33) all received good rewards for their efforts.
The author apologises for the lack of post-game written reviews last weekend. This was due to some personal matters experienced at the weekend. Followers of these articles are pre-warned that there may be some delays and some weekends where these write-ups (pre & post-match) may not be possible over the next 3-4 weeks due to various external commitments coming up for the author.
This weekend’s fixtured matches for Round 14 are as follows:
Fitzroy Doncaster (4th) host Carlton (1st) at Schramms Reserve #1 in the ‘Match of the Round’ for the John Scholes Trophy. Both clubs will be keen to take home ‘Barrel’ with them and this match will provide a good judgement as to where both sides sit, with the Lions having won 8 of their last 9 games and the Blues 4 of their last 6. Whilst the Lions have the home ground advantage, current form suggests the visitors may be too strong in the bowling department and should win this game.
Northcote (7th) host Dandenong (8th) at Bill Lawry Oval for the Brendan McArdle Shield. Both clubs have lost their last two outings so will be treating this as a ‘must-win’ game with both Essendon and Melbourne University knocking on the door of the Top 8. The big battle will be how the Dragons’ batting card performs against the Panthers’ bowling attack with the winner of this game coming from this battle. On paper, this game is hard to pick – the gut says the Dragons at home just.
Melbourne University (10th) host St Kilda (5th) at the University Main Oval. Uni has rebounded from a 3-game losing streak to win their last two, while the Saints were stiff to fall short against Geelong last weekend at the CitiPower Centre. The biggest area of focus in this game is how Uni’s bowling attack goes against the Saints’ batting card – if they fire then they can win. On paper, the Saints appear the stronger of the two sides and if their bowlers can fire then they should take the points.
Geelong (6th) host Richmond (11th) at the Geelong Cricket Ground. The Cats came away with a morale-boosting win against St Kilda, but it came at a cost with quick Dom McGlinchey hurting his back, while the Tigers upset Northcote to push themselves up the ladder. This match will have an interesting match-up with form bats Eamonn Vines against Scott Edwards. On paper, the Tigers appear to have the stronger bowling attack, but gut feel says the Cats at home are hard to beat.
The Greenvale Kangaroos (16th) host Melbourne (2nd) at Greenvale Reserve #1. The Kangaroos gave Prahran an early scare last week before being soundly defeated, while the Demons are kicking into top gear after dismantling Ringwood. With the Kangaroos having the second-lowest wickets taken this season, this could be an opportunity for the Demons’ bats to ‘cash in’ or their bowlers to work on an fast result. On current form, the Demons should win this battle comfortably.
Ringwood (12th) host Essendon (9th) at Russell Lucas Oval for the O’Donnell/Peters Cup. The Rams will want to chalk another win after dropping their last two games, while the Bombers are on a 3-game winning streak and are finding their gears again since James Seymour returned from the BBL. The big pressure for the Rams will be containing the Bombers’ top order – if they can get them cheap they have a chance. On current form, the Bombers should go in as favourites in this one.
Prahran (3rd) host Casey-South Melbourne (14th) at Toorak Park. The True Blues made light work of the Greenvale Kangaroos after an early scare, while the Swans will be hurting after failing to chase a target of 140 against Footscray. The True Blues are fast becoming one of the dominant forces with the white ball and are on a 4-game winning streak, while the Swans will be looking to break a 3-game losing run. On current form, the True Blues will go in as favourites at home.
The Camberwell Magpies (15th) host Kingston Hawthorn (17th) at the Camberwell Sports Ground. The Magpies took it up to Essendon for Simon Hill’s 300th game but ultimately fell short, while the Hawks will learn from their battle against ladder leaders Carlton. Both sides have struggled for success this season and will both be keen to find a win before the end of the season. On current form, the Magpies may just get home in this one but I won’t be surprised if the Hawks can find a win here.
Finally, Footscray (13th) host Frankston Peninsula (18th) at Mervyn G Hughes Oval. The Dogs played out of their skins against Casey-South Melbourne in defending a score of just 140, while the Heat were simply outgunned by Melbourne Uni. Both sides have found the season tough going, with their bowling attacks having issues with fitness and form, but the Dogs have been the stronger with the willow this season. On current form, the Dogs have to go into this match as favourites.
In Women’s Premier Cricket, Round 14 has arrived. With just 4 matches remaining in the Home & Away season, the Finals race has remained alive for Ringwood after last weekend’s results. Saying that, they will be nervously following every ball in Saturday’s match at Aberfeldie Park to see whether they get a chance to fight for that elusive opportunity to play in their first Finals series since promotion to the Women’s 1st XI competition or whether they will be playing for pride and wondering ‘what might have been’ if results had gone their way in several games mid-season.
Standout performances in last weekend’s matches included innings of 66* by Melbourne’s Steph Townsend, 58 from Dandenong’s Tiana Atkinson, all-round performances of 50 & 2/32 from Ringwood’s Olivia Henry and 48 & 3/21 from Melbourne’s Rhiann O’Donnell and a standout spell of 6/24 from Prahran’s Ellen Williams to help deliver the bottom of the ladder Prahran an upset win over 2nd placed Dandenong to move them above Carlton-Brunswick on the ladder.
This week’s matches are as follows:
On Saturday, Essendon Maribyrnong Park (3rd) host Box Hill (4th) at Aberfeldie Park. This game will have the biggest say in the make-up of this year’s 1st XI Finals series, as a win to the Bombers will leave the door open for Ringwood to bundle the Mustangs out of the Finals in a last-gasp effort, while the Mustangs have to treat this as a ‘must-win’ game as a win secures their finals birth and unless they can pull off a massive win over the Bombers and dent their NRR then Ringwood’s finals chances are done. Both sides will be keen to rebound from poor performances last weekend but on paper, this game has the potential to go either way. Gut feel suggests the Bombers on their home turf in a tight one.
On Sunday, Melbourne (1st) host Plenty Valley (6th) at the Albert Ground. The Demons have performed this season after a disappointing 2019/20 season to claim the Minor Premiership and the Women’s Club Championship in a dominant display across all grades. The Bats will admit they have struggled for consistency but last weekend’s performance at home against EMP will give them some strength ahead of season 2021/22. Whilst the Bats will be keen to perform in one last game of the season, the current strength of the Demons side appears like they are rushing into the Finals as flag favourites and I expect that they will look to fine-tune their side ahead of next week’s Semi Finals with another crushing win against their opponents.
Dandenong (2nd) host Carlton-Brunswick (8th) at Shepley Oval. The Panthers will be smarting from letting their guard down against Prahran last weekend and will be keen to rebound with a win in the lead-in to the Finals series. For the Strikers, last weekend’s performance showed some signs of the future but they finished only two runs short of ending Ringwood’s chances at playing finals, with the Rams successfully stopping the Strikers from achieving a score of 139 and achieving a bonus point. The Panthers will be keen to secure a win as that will secure them a home final, while a loss will see either EMP or Box Hill jump to second based on their result. While the Strikers will be keen to finish on a high, I cannot see them doing so here. Panthers on their home deck for me.
Finally, Ringwood (5th) host Prahran (7th) at Russell Lucas Oval. The Rams will be waiting with bated breath as to the result on Saturday as to how they will attack this game. If the Mustangs lose to EMP, then the equation for the Rams is simple – win by as large a margin as possible as quickly as possible as they cannot make it without the bonus point. If the Mustangs defeat EMP then the game will be a ‘consolation’ effort. Both sides came away with the points last weekend in their games and will be keen to play a hard game of cricket in the last round of the season. While the True Blues will be coming in with plenty of confidence after last weekend’s upset, on current form the gut feel suggests the Rams will win in a tight one at home but will miss on the bonus point.
This week, the Women’s Premier Thirds Grand Final is being played between Dandenong and Carlton-Brunswick at Greaves Reserve #4 (11:30am start). Both sides were the underdogs in their respective Finals and have earnt their stripes to make it to the big dance, with the Panthers qualifying for the home Grand Final based on their higher ladder position at the end of the Home & Away ladder.
This game will be live scored and live streamed via the Victorian Premier Cricket Match Centre for those that are unable to make the journey to Dandenong.
Congratulations go to the following members within Premier Cricket:
MEN’S PREMIER 1STS
ROUND 14 – SATURDAY 6 MARCH (11:00am Start)
FITZROY DONCASTER V CARLTON at Schramms Reserve #1
Umpires W Downey & L McKay
NORTHCOTE V DANDENONG at Bill Lawry Oval
Umpires D Brigham & M Nolan
MELBOURNE UNIVERSITY V ST KILDA at University Main Oval
Umpires B Sheahan & M van Eck
GEELONG V RICHMOND at Geelong Cricket Ground
Umpires G Bawa & C Grant
GREENVALE KANGAROOS V MELBOURNE at Greenvale Reserve #1
Umpires A Ali & J Leonard-Scott
RINGWOOD V ESSENDON at Russell Lucas Oval
Umpires M Malmberg & M Wood
PRAHRAN V CASEY-SOUTH MELBOURNE at Toorak Park
Umpires S Brne & A Medina
CAMBERWELL MAGPIES V KINGSTON HAWTHORN at Camberwell Sports Ground
Umpires G Azzopardi & R Birch
FOOTSCRAY v FRANKSTON PENINSULA at Mervyn G Hughes Oval
Umpires L McCabe & S Pitts
WOMEN’S PREMIER 1STS
ESSENDON MARIBYRNONG PARK V BOX HILL at Aberfeldie Park
Umpires R Hubbard & D Ireland
ROUND 14 – SUNDAY 7 MARCH (11:00am Start)
MELBOURNE V PLENTY VALLEY at Albert Ground
Umpires G Azzopardi & T Wendelken
DANDENONG V CARLTON-BRUNSWICK at Shepley Oval
Umpires S Olufson & J Wyatt
RINGWOOD V PRAHRAN at Russell Lucas Oval
Umpires V Calabro & A Hind