Two from four yet again, as the twos and threes got the chocolates, the Students will be looking to upgrade from mixed bags to goodie bags in the form of an elusive broom sooner rather than later.
Not playing on the weekend, James McNeil was not going to be kept out of the action. instituting a sin bin system in the warm up game, he was quick to send anyone to the sidelines should they be too easily side-stepped. If this becomes a regular feature, I know one match report writer who won’t get much game time…
To the cricket, McKenna won his first toss of the season and was pleased to bat first on a wicket that looked flat and full of runs. Quick both on his feet and to retort a poorly thought out sledge, Martignago was fast into position to ramp the opening bowler as Prahran impressed with a largely disciplined and skilful first session with the ball. As wickets fell steadily, the Students were restricted on a wicket where scoring was harder than it might have appeared initially. McKenna (22) toiled hard up the top, but at 4/83, it was largely left to the middle order to give Uni something to defend. Having both spent extended periods of time playing cricket in the Netherlands, Scammell and Croes found a level of Dutch-based synergy in the middle of Toorak Park, as they went about resurrecting Uni’s innings. Both able to access every part of the ground, their partnership received added European flair when Andrej Yaksender came out to run for Scam, whose groin refused to co-operate on a particularly quick single. Some power hitting helped get the Students up near 200, as Scam (39) and Croes (52) both continued their good form with the bat. Humble Local Man (yes, that’s meant to be capitalised) James Bett also power-stanced his way to 14* at better than a run a ball to close the innings, Uni happy with their 8/199 on a wicket that was getting lower and slower.
After knocking back a packet of both wasabi and chilli flavoured pea chips during the batting innings, it was no surprise that Simon Mackin made the early running with the new ball. Claiming two wickets in three balls, he broke the game apart and gave the Students some real momentum. Mark Stafford, fresh off a career best round of golf on the Friday, broke through soon after to have Prahran 3/41. From this point on, however, it was a procession from the True Blues. Lachie Bangs played the innings of a lifetime as he decided to take the long handle to every Uni bowler – and found the middle every time. An incredible innings in which he blasted eleven sixes, the young left-hander had an answer to every Uni question (High Distinction sort of stuff, really) as he raced to 110 from just 67 balls. Chasing down the total in just 32.1 overs, it was an amazing procession of power hitting.
With the chance to turn around their fortunes on Tuesday against Fitzroy, the Students will be quick to move on, adopting a goldfish mentality to their Saturday at Toorak Park.
 Goldfish are classified as the happiest animal due to their short memory.
The Second XI decided to forgo a warm-up on Saturday, preferring to gather around a whiteboard working out their Chinese zodiac signs. Ostensibly futile, the exercise proved fruitful when the first three wickets of the day came courtesy of fire oxen… When the opening batsman decided to run into Akon in an attempt to make a quick single, he was quick to end up on all fours, as Hugo threw the stumps down from mid-off. JB and then Akon burst through for the next two wickets to give Uni the early ascendency. A middle order fight back courtesy of some experienced Prahran batsmen saw the True Blues work their way back into the game, before Wood Dog (July 1994) John McLaughlan struck thrice to throw Prahran right behind the eight-ball once again. As the innings drew to a close, Lucien Bienvenu also executed a run out; bien jour d’être un run out. Eventually bowled out for 202 on a flattening wicket, Uni were ahead of the game.
An opening partnership powered by West End was always going to be a success, and so it proved to be at the Main on Saturday. Borgas and Emms combined for a stylish 98-run partnership, before Borg fell just short of his second fifty on the bounce. Emms was not going be denied, however, passing his half-century on his way to 62. A crucial innings in the context of the match, Emmsy earns the mantle as TRP Player of the Week. In front of the game, some disciplined bowling and quick wickets saw the True Blues wrestle back some momentum, but a valuable 35 from Hugo settled the nerves a touch. Finishing the job, it was James Horn who found some of his best form. Hapeto sticker in tow, he ramped, swept and bludgeoned his way to 27 from just 18 balls to see the Students home with almost three overs to spare.
An important win, the Second XI have really found their groove.
With a median age of 19 on the weekend, it was an incredibly youthful Third XI that played out a classic at Righetti Oval.
Bowling first, Angus Molden once again broke through early. When he’s not punching tickets and popping corn at Hoyts Chadstone, Gus is making a good habit of taking early wickets. Fellow fast man and resident club Rook (that’s straight lines only, thanks), Jacob Stevenson also found an early wicket to have Prahran in trouble. A strong partnership of nearly a hundred saw the True Blues get back ahead of the curve, before Stevo once again the broke the deadlock. Fridge finished with the exceptional figures of 3/25 from 9 overs, combining with Gus (2/23) to help restrict Prahran to 6/181 from their 45 overs.
In the second innings, it was Prahran who made the early running. Two quick wickets put Uni on the back foot. While wickets continued to fall steadily at one end, Nick Ritchie anchored the other. Though still not at 100% fitness, Ritcho showed his class and composure as he managed to score at a good rate, keeping Uni in the game. Brief partnerships with McNab (24) and Patel (18) gave the innings momentum, but it was Ritchie’s 56 that really gave the Students hope. After his dismissal, it was going to be an uphill battle; enter Jimmy Anderson. Fresh from a sub fielding stint with the First XI that yielded three wickets, Jimmy was full of confidence and he took it right out to the crease with him. Blasting 25 from 19 balls, Jimmy managed to see Uni over the line with an over to go. An incredible effort, his match winning effort was one to remember.
Another difficult day for the Fourth XI, the Students were confronted with some hard hitting from Prahran’s top order in the first part of the day, giving the True Blues the early ascendancy; something they proved unwilling to concede for the remainder of the day. Stock Pot Stockley was the best of the bowlers, claiming three wickets, while Dias (2) and Bennett (1) were the only other wicket takers, as Prahran amassed a monstrous 279 from their 45 overs.
With the bat, none of the top four were able to get in and go big, which made the chase a difficult task. Dias continued from his good effort with the ball to rack up an innings high score of 31*, while Stockley (20) and Rakes (29) also chipped in down the order. Unfortunately there was simply too much work to do, as Uni’s innings closed at 7/148.
The First and Second XI’s will face Fitzroy-Doncaster tomorrow in Round 8, while the Thirds and Fourths will have the day off. Check out the full teams on MyCricket