Having travelled North-West last weekend, the Students will head to the other end of the Melways this Saturday as they take on Casey-South Melbourne in Round 6.
Under DHHS advisement, a trio of quarantined cricketers will return to the First XI this week, after a border-crossing mishap over the New Year. Vice-captain Fergus Mckennea, leg-spinner Ben Rolfs and Andrew Young are all thrilled to be back and will be looking to make up for lost time at the Main on Saturday.
The contest shapes as crucial for the First XI who are pushing for a top-four spot for the first time this season. Back at the Main – which is quickly becoming a fortress for the Students, Uni will be boosted by the presence of PK (Papa Keely) and daughter, Maeve, who will be watching the Students at Home for the first time.
PLAYER(s) TO WATCH: Hume and Hovell
The explorers who discovered Albury might have once been the border town’s most famous duo, but based on recent form, that mantle sits firmly with McNeil and Scammell. Taking batting totals to places they’ve never been before, Uni’s own explorers will be looking to break new ground this week – and you’d be braver than I if you thought to bet against them.
The Second XI will head to batting paradise at Casey Fields on the weekend and are boosted by some very exciting inclusions. Isiah Borgas – whose hipster hair/ headband combo are hopefully here to stay, returns to Uni for the first time this season. His experience, skill will be invaluable, but simply to have him back around the club is a thrill for us all. Joining Borgas, Emms, Horn (now 21 and firmly part of Team Old), Domann, Stafford and Iqbal are also all back in the side, meaning the Swans will face a full-strength Uni team.
Having claimed two wins in a row, another strong showing on the weekend would give the Second XI a good chance of pushing for the top-eight as they look to settle into a good rhythm
PLAYER TO WATCH: John McLaughlan
After overcoming injury in the early part of the season, Dwayne’s off-spin has been typically consistent and threatening. Working in partnership with Doug Warren, John is just invaluable for the Second XI. Moreover, a little bird told me he is giving Emmsy a ride down the highway, so he will come into the game with an hour of high-quality dross under his belt, so look out.
Princes Park might be the hottest ticket in town this weekend, as the Third XI boast an unbelievably strong side. Hugo Bienvenu and Jayden Kennedy both return to the team after strong performances in the Second XI last week, while Eliott Durrant, Lucien Bienvenu and James Browning will play their first games at the level for the season.
A young and exciting side under the leadership of Savill and Skinner, there will be no shortage of vspyshka (remember what that means? Something of a mid-semester exam) at Princes Park on the weekend, and if they get up and running, the boys should be hard to stop.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Jacob Stevenson
Out of isolation, it is, paradoxically, time for the Fridge to heat up. Stevo has bowled particularly well again this year, as his pace, bounce and usual shape keeps all modes of dismissal in play. Ever cool in a crisis, Fridge also spent his isolation on the exercise bike building quad chunk. Look for this to work in his favour.
Coming off a dominant win last weekend, the Fourth XI continue to impress in season 20/21. Currently sitting just inside the top-eight, a win on the weekend would help secure their position in the top half of the competition.
Also at Casey Fields, the Fourth XI will be sharing a change room with the Second XI, and if I know MUCC, there will be some shared positive vibes between the Second and Fourth XI’s. Moreover, last time captain Laban Ditchburn played at Casey Fields, he did get a kiss from his fiancé whilst fielding at fine-leg, so rule nothing out…
PLAYER TO WATCH: Hayden Lim
Somewhat of a Casey local, living in Pakenham, Limmy will be looking to go big with the bat on Saturday. Sure as ever behind the stumps as well, H could play a big role in helping the Students get the points.