Can the Students Sweep the Kennel? Round 2 Preview

After a disappointing opening round on the whole, the Students are keen to make amends as they prepare to take on Footscray in Round 2 of the Premier Cricket season. A number of changes across the grades sees opportunities aplenty for young and more experienced players alike, and the Club will welcome in two first-time skippers.

FIRST XI

At home for the first time in season 20/21, the First XI will be looking to kick into gear and find their first win of the season. Moreover, Chief Hydration Officer, Nick Burke is sure to thrive in familiar surroundings as he also takes the armband for on-field COVID Officer duties. 

With report writing season over and school holidays on the horizon, teacher of geography and head of Merritt House, James Bett will make a well-timed first appearance in the First XI for the season. Following an impressive first round performance in the Second XI, ‘Sporky’ will be invaluable both in the warm up game and with his traditionally miserly left arm finger spin. 

The team will be hoping the ‘engine room’ middle order can get in and go big this week. After all getting starts against Carlton, if one or two can put a big score on the board or even go ‘trip-diz’ it will go a long way to helping the Students. Meanwhile, their all-star bowling attack are champing at the bit to go to work on the Uni Main wicket once again.

Player to watch: Andrej Yaksender

You’d be a brave man to bet against Andrej getting a score this week. Bowling to Yak has quickly become known as ‘The Polish Conundrum’ in Premier Cricket circles, as our beloved number four continues to churn out big runs. To that end, Richard Yaksender was seen feeding balls in the machine at the Main early on Thursday afternoon. A real family affair.

SECOND XI

With a pair of incredibly exciting inclusions and a median age rapidly heading South, the Second XI will be a dangerous prospect as they head to Footscray for their clash.

Making his Second XI debut, young fast bowler Tom Walker is an incredibly exciting player to watch. Yet another product of the TGS Cricket Academy, TJ has impressed everyone in his short stint at MUCC thus far, and we are thrilled that he has his opportunity in the Second XI this week. With exam season done, a few batsmen throughout the competition (and those of us at training) can expect to see a fair bit more from the young quickie, and we wish him all the best this week.

Joining TJ in the side this week will be the ever-reliable, Yousaf Iqbal. Fresh from taking 4fa in the Third XI, Yousaf will bat, bowl and field in style. He will also perform at least one of these skills in a pair of navy blue ray-ban sunglasses. 

Player to watch: Harrison Emms

‘Linear Larry’ is in the midst of completing a full re-brand. Though his sense of humour remains dryer than Chennai on day 5, his emergent zippy side revealed itself, to the amusement of many, in the form of chilli socks at training on Thursday. Moreover, he has form at Merv Hughes Oval; a game breaker in the Third XI Grand Final a couple of years ago, he claimed two invaluable wickets bowling first change – and if I know Harrison, he will be angling to get the ball in his hands once again this weekend. Harrison will also bring a sense of calm and composure to the top of the innings, batting with enviable class. Should the Woofers drop short, they will also go the ‘J’.

THIRD XI

It is set to be an exciting week in the Third XI. We are blessed at MUCC that even in the absence of two fine leaders in Sam Skinner and Tom Savill, the Third XI will be led, for the first time, by Jayden Kennedy and Jacob Stevenson. JK, voted most likely to be future CEO at Ford, and Stevo, who has spent the better part of the year in Shepparton and Wangaratta on medical placement, will make a fine combination and we wish them the best. Still unsure who will toss the coin, I understand their plan is to toss to decide who will do the toss. Already, they have all bases covered.

Equally exciting, the Third XI welcomes Hayden Lim to the team for the first time. Limmy, who has been a stalwart in the lower grades for a number of seasons now, will take the gloves and provide some valuable middle order runs. The Third XI will also welcome Lachie Melican this week. Returning from injury, the ‘West-sider’ couldn’t resist the temptation of taking on his local Footscray as he makes his first appearance for the year. 

Player to watch:

Angus Molden is your man at PP3 this week. The young quick spent lockdown in his home gym and continues to reap the rewards on the speed gun. He has also followed in the footsteps of his MUCC-idol, Mark Stafford in donning man bun of late, and he pulls it off exceptionally well. He will bowl fast, he will bowl some ‘neck nurries’ and if he goes full ‘Angry Molden’ then spare a thought for the bulldog 22 yards away.

FOURTH XI

Insurance provider, Allianz found that their stock price rose during the week. This tends to happen once a year, when the man who calls himself the insurance policy – Club Coach and all-round good guy Antony Keely – makes himself available for selection in the Fourth XI. Keels will also take the reins as skipper, leading a particularly strong side at Tony Dodemaide Oval.

After almost managing to take the points in the opening round, the Fourth XI, flush with youth yet again, will fancy themselves against Footscray. Ninad Panjwani will be looking to continue the fine form he found last weekend, as will Ed Savill, who will be desperate to get the first Premiership points of his MUCC career 2nd Ed.(ition)

Player to watch: Raf Epstein

Run Machine Raf Epstein. Enough said? No, not quite. The man who plays PlayStation golf “better than most… BETTER THAN MOST,” Raf is currently rocking a red Gray-Nicolls Ultra with a lime green grip. He also hits the ball to some bizarre places, so best of luck setting a field while he’s in the middle. 

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