Peter Hatzogolou has been selected to make his First XI debut this weekend, as Uni takes on Melbourne in the final round before Christmas. Hatzoglou has put together a superb body of work throughout the season to date, having claimed 20 wickets in the 2nd XI, and 4 in the Super Slam, and it was this irresistible form that saw the Club’s cult figure earn cap #969.
The round shapes as a crucial contest more broadly, as MUCC currently sits first on the Club championship, and Melbourne in third, meaning the results across the grades will all carry significant weight.
With Peter Hatzoglou selected to make his First XI debut, this contest will decide the ladder leader at the Christmas break as the Demons sit first on 32 points, the Students two points adrift in second place. To that end, both teams have won 4 from their last 5 matches, meaning they enter the contest full of both confidence and form.
Boasting the most runs scored of any side in the top-eight, Uni will be hoping some more of the top order can spend significant time in the middle of the Uni Main this round, while with the ball, Stafford will be full of confidence, and Steven Reid and Peter Hatzoglou will be keen to run through the Melbourne line-up.
Keep an eye out for James Bett this weekend. The off-spinning all-rounder is now on school holidays, and with this freedom of mind, will undoubtedly be able to go to work with both bat and ball.
The Club would also like to congratulate Alex Gregory and Steve Reid; both of whom have been selected in a Victorian All Star XI to take on a touring New Zealand XI next week in the lead up to the Boxing Day Test. Steve and Alex have both been in terrific form for a long period of time now, and it is fantastic to see their efforts rewarded with their selection. We can’t wait to watch them go to work! (Good luck, Kiwis!)
A Yaksender, HS Emms, P Hatzoglou, +JG Martignago, *F McKenna, S Reid, L Scammell, JR Bett, AP Young, M Stafford, AJ Gregory
Another MUCC youngster is set to get his first taste of Second XI cricket, as Nick Ritchie has been brought into the XI, and Yousaf Iqbal returns after a week off.
Ritchie, who has been in good form with both bat and ball in the Third XI will get his chance at the Albert Ground this weekend, the start of what will surely be a long and prosperous career in the top two XI’s.
The Second XI, currently sitting on top of the ladder have been dominant in their last month of cricket, and will be keen to maintain this form heading into Christmas.
Noah Croes is the one to watch in the twos this round; the talented wicket-keeper batsman will take Saturday off from the President’s Cup in order to don the creams, and will be sure to take full toll on the Albert Ground wicket.
*MG Simpson, NW Ritchie, Y Iqbal, A Mawien, DB Hutton, B Rolfs, J Stevenson, +N Croes, M Hatzoglou, JE Horn, A Haseeb
Johnny ‘Sox’ Stone has been selected for his Third XI debut, Tom Savill and his team set to take on Melbourne and stake a claim for top spot on the ladder.
Doug Warren and Lachie Melican also return to the Third XI, having recently completed their VCE studies.
Undefeated over the last 5 rounds of cricket, the Third XI have been in strong form, and enter this week with a particularly strong side. Many of the youthful XI have a wealth of experience, and this should hold them in good stead this weekend.
Look out for Daniel Van Der Merwe this weekend, the fast bowling Medical student is enjoying his time back in Melbourne, and having played a great deal of Second XI cricket, as well as some First XI in Sydney, he will no doubt prove a great challenge for the Melbourne batsmen.
H Bienvenu, J Stone, *TE Savill, L Melican, JG Zanoni, B Roughsedge, T Stockley, D van der Merwe, E Durrant, K Hatton, TJ Walker, D Warren
After a tough outing last weekend against St. Kilda, the Fourth XI will be keen to make amends as they take on the Demons at the beautiful Beaumaris Secondary College. A stone’s throw from what will be moving day at Royal Melbourne, there will be a few MUCCers looking to move their way up the ladder in the Fourth XI.
Welcoming back Christian Van Der Merwe, Dan McNab, and Jimmy Anderson, the Fourth XI are a strong side, and will be confident that they can grab an early Christmas present in the form of 6 points.
Keep a keen eye on Elijah Kleanthous this week; the young gun has been piling on runs in the 5th XI the last couple of weekends, and will be keen to transfer that form into the Premier competition.
H Alexander, *L Ditchburn, N Rao, N Bennett, +R Epstein, D McNab, E Kleanthous, J Anderson, J Browning, CJ van der Merwe, N Kumar, O Patel
Best of luck to all teams and players!