On Friday, the rain got a start and looked good for its 40-odd(ml) but failed to convert, meaning the Students were to ‘report to grounds.’ Water had managed to work its way under the covers at the Main and across the road at PP3 overnight, so with the First and Third XI’s called off, the action would be out East as Uni took on the Rams.
Not even having his Carlton residence broken into on Friday night could wipe the smile from James Browning’s face on Saturday, as he got to bowl first on a sticky wicket at Russell Lucas. Both he and Akon struck in their first overs to have Ringwood right on the back foot at 2/8. Uni made the most of the bowler friendly conditions throughout the morning, making scoring difficult for the Rams with steady bowling. As the scoring rate continued to slow, the pressure mounted, and it was Jeremy Peacock who reaped the rewards. While his fellow groundsman, Ryan, was convincing umpires at the Main that playing on an unprepared wicket might not have been the best course of action, Jezza was taking wickets of his own, removing Ringwood’s number 3,4 and 5. His spell of 3/22 from nine overs really broke the game open and meant that the Rams would be unable to launch at the tail end of the innings. A fine effort, Jezza continues to impress. As ever, Doug was exceptional through the middle of the innings. His fast “these ones” (that’s left arm orthodox for those playing at home) were a nightmare on a slightly soft wicket, as some would grab and turn, while others skidded into pads and stumps. Finishing with 3/19, he is in some serious form and a big part of the Second XI’s success. Akon and JB both closed the innings particularly well, each adding a second wicket to their tally as Uni bowled out Ringwood for just 146.
Boasting a fine working from home set up in a prime Coppin St location, Harrison Emms has settled into a nice rhythm both for the ANZ and at the top of the order for Uni. Hitting his straps of late, Chris came out on a mission on Saturday as he struck at better than a run-a-ball for his entire innings. Moving past his third half-century of the season, Emmsy’s rapid 53 put the Students right ahead of the game. Moreover, Harrison’s dry sense of humour on the player mic during the week was good for the social media clicks. A strong all-round week for our resident capitalist. Fellow South-Australian opening stick, Borgy also continued his strong start to the year. Never in danger of a short stride, Borg’s aesthetically pleasing style also saw him earn a place as Ben Rolfs’ phone background. Speaking of aesthetically pleasing, Mitch Domann (who can hold 12 eggs in one hand!) knocked off the remainder of the chase with 31* to secure the bonus point for the Students. Having worked their way into fifth place on the ladder, they will have a chance to get into the top four as they play fourth-placed Dandenong next week.
THE DAY PEBBLES WENT TO THE ROCK
Ringwood might have a rock, but Uni has Pebbles, so the Students had the wood over the home side early. That said, bowling first the Rock lived up to its name as the Rams scored quickly on the small and fast-paced outfield.
Tama Stockley was once again steady at the top of the innings, breaking through for the first wickets, but no other quicks were able to penetrate as Ringwood settled in. Once the spinners came on, however it was a different story. As we have come to expect, Ninad Panjwani was invaluable with the ball. Claiming two wickets (weirdly, neither of them were front pads), the ‘Nad’ could have had a couple more, if the square leg umpire had been willing to remove finger from pocket. Still with Ringwood ahead of the game, ‘LJ’ Little John Bennett had other ideas. On the 16th anniversary of John Daly’s victory at the Farmer’s Insurance Open, Ned Bennet bowled a beautiful spell of leg-spin to get Uni back in the game. Boasting exceptional control, flight and turn, Ned’s 4/32 from 7.4 overs helped restrict Ringwood to just beyond 200, as he bowled some tough overs when the Rams were really trying to launch. Eventually bundling the home side out for 208, it was honours even.
While many of the top order managed to get themselves in (Khan 13, Gall 14, Dias 22) no one was able to put a big score on the board and the consistent flurry of wickets prevented partnerships of substance. Unfortunately, there was little resistance from the middle order, and once the Rams smelt blood, they went for the jugular, eventually bowling Uni out for just 98. A particularly stinging loss, Uni will be keen to make amends for a couple of batting collapses in recent weeks, as they face Dandenong next week.