As the Bureau predicts between 5-35mm of rain on Friday, one can only hope that all Uni cricketers play with slightly more conviction tomorrow. As it sits on the fence, the only thing that is not described as a “possibility” or a “chance” in the forecast is the strength and direction of the wind – those travelling home in a south-westerly direction this evening will make quick time!
A pair of handy inclusions headline the First XI on Saturday as Mark Stafford and Alex Gregory return to the side.
Though Stafford’s return excites the playing XI, one man – Nick ‘Beefy’ Burke – is noticeably a touch apprehensive. Squid traditionally puts the heat on Beef, and the pair’s consistent bickering about who is older, who acts older and who pointed at whom, provides a reliable soundtrack for the summer. To that end, Beef was in great form on the waters last weekend, but can he deliver again with Squid back in the picture?
As for Alex, he is back from holiday, but evidently La Niña is ripe in Port Douglas, because as Noah Croes quipped, “you’re not looking very tanned for a man who went North, Grego!” A touch harsh, a neutral observer would suggest Alex is boasting a relaxed bronze tint at present, just the kind that is conducive to a strong all-round performance.
A proud University club, expect a large portion of the playing XI to complete Saturday’s Wordle as part of their pre-match preparation.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Simon Mackin
As it relates to tanning and sun safety, Simon Mackin is a man who could get moon burn (stones and glasshouses). That said, Simon revealed this week that he doesn’t actually believe man has set foot on the moon. His argument too incongruous to discuss here, suffice it to say that he makes a far better bowler than conspiracy theorist and he could well prove it again on Saturday.
Back at the Uni Main, the Second XI will look to continue their rampant charge towards top spot on the ladder.
With dynamic duo Ben Rolfs and Daniel Hutton in the side, there will be no shortage of fun, but keep an eye on Rolfs and Nick Ritchie; the pair might duck off for some storm chasing if the conditions allow for it.
Speaking of storm chasing, Geelong-based Bettsy would have found himself lashed by up to 40mm on Thursday evening as Corio bore the brunt of the extreme weather. Though a “watch and act” was issued for Geelong, it wasn’t enough to stop TOG venturing to the House of Golf; his new TSI 2 hybrid sure to get a workout around the North Course at Sandhurst on Sunday.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Jamin Barron-Toop
A pillar of the Second XI bowling attack, Mornington-based Toopy spent Jan 26th at the Pillars in Mount Martha. An Instagram opportunity ripe for the picking, Toop wouldn’t miss the chance, and with his speedy swinging style with the new ball, he will more than likely create chances of his own come Saturday.
“We’re putting the band back together!”
Yes, Tom Savill and Sam Skinner will play together tomorrow as Uni’s captaincy duo take the reins, leading an unbelievable Third XI side.
Durrant – who enjoyed an Ultimate Box (subbed out the potato and gravy for large chips) from the Red Church on Wednesday evening – returns to the team, to boost and already strong batting line-up. A line-up that boasts Michael Forwood who is one of the most in-form players at the club. Bienvenu, too, who hasn’t had a beer yet in 2022, could have reason to celebrate come the end of Saturday – as he looks to control the game with bat and ball.
A trio of spinners could nab some “McWickets” as McLaughlan, McNab and Singh will control the game through the middle, coming up and over the top of the dogs.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Om Patel
Though the Third XI are playing at Tony Dodemaide Oval (Dodemaide who received the Medal of the Order of Australia during the week), it won’t be OAM that is the focus, so much as our man OM. The Wizard is ever-reliable with the new ball, and his capacity as an all-rounder will surely be on display in the shadow of Vic Uni tomorrow.
Keen to start climbing the ladder, the Fourth XI will be doing so under the leadership of Anthony McQuire. Jerry, in for his first match at Premier level since arriving at the club, could not be more excited – and nor could the rest of us – for him to get stuck in. Still oozing class, Jerry could lock in for a big one, and God forbid an unknowing Dog decides to chirp him…
The Fourth XI are also a team choc-full of recent match time, as Yaseen and Rithin have been representing the U17 team throughout the week, while Will Keeble also returns to the playing XI.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Khush Talati
Another addition to the Melbourne University fruit bowl, Khush “Tomata” Talati is particularly versatile. In a salad, as a sauce or by itself if you’re brave enough, Khush can take on any challenge. A strong opening bowler, too, he will look to break this one open at Princes Park.