After rain saw play abandoned last weekend, all grades pulled out the blue pads once again, and took on Northcote in a one-day match. Despite mixed results, Uni gave themselves a bit of a cushion at the top of the race for the Club Championship, while competition heats up for ladder positions through the grades.
With the return of Ben Rolfs to the First XI this week, an already youthful team became even younger- so much so that 22 years of age was the divider for the warm-up game.
Winning the toss and batting first at Bill Lawry Oval on a wicket that traditionally becomes harder to bat on later in the day, Uni soon found themselves 1/0, after Martignago was dismissed in the first over. The ever-reliable pair of McKenna (48) and Gregory (38), however, were able to steady the ship. Adding 72 for the second wicket, the pair exploited the short straight boundaries at Northcote, McKenna treating his teammates to a dismissive straight swat; prompting calls of “Shot Gregs- wait no, Ferg!” from the sidelines… After their dismissals, the middle order failed to capitalize on the solid platform, and soon enough Uni were reeling at 7/140. At this point, it was Rolfs and Bett who went about adding some respectability to the scorecard in the last 10 overs. Bett (31*) added another bowler to his list of pull-shot victims (bad luck, Harbo) and used his Power Stance ©TM to clear the fence. Not to be outdone, Rolfs (30*) hit a gorgeous check-drive for 6 straight back over the bowler’s head. Adding 59, the pair took Uni to 7/199; an impressive fightback the score would be difficult to chase on a wicket that was starting to play tricks.
With Steve Reid on paternal duty, Alex Gregory took the new ball, and didn’t take long to strike- combining with wicket-keeper, Martignago to have the Dragons 1/14. From this point, Uni never really gave Northcote a look in; Hatzoglou removed Phelan soon after, and when Stafford nicked off Abbatangelo, Uni were well on top. A mini resurgence was soon broken by Hatzoglou, who, despite being riddled with pain from his emergent wisdom teeth, broke the game apart with the ball, on his way to career best First XI figures of 4/32; well done, Thumper- a deserving winner of TRP Player of the Week. Ben Rolfs sent the Dragons to ‘Rolfswagonville’ backing up his efforts with the bat, to claim 2/15, including the dangerous Sundberg who was the only Northcote player to pass 20.
Ultimately bowling the Dragons out for 112, Uni secured a win and a bonus point to put themselves 8 points clear on top of the First XI ladder with one round remaining. A strong performance and still plenty of room to improve.
Déjà Vu for the Second XI at the Main; “who would’ve thought the sequel could be just as good as the original?”
Batting first on a wicket that had a fair bit in it courtesy of a wet week of weather, the Students made the fast start. The most intelligent and South-Australian opening pair in the competition combined for an 83-run partnership in double time to have Uni on the front foot. When Emms (47) was dismissed, Borgas (26) followed soon after, and the Students began to falter. Unable to form a partnership of substance through the middle part of the innings, Uni lost 5/27, and found themselves in big trouble at 7/125. The Coach, Antony Keely showed the way for a while, managing 19, but the Students were bowled out on the last ball of the innings for 173; while defendable, the momentum was squarely with the Dragons.
Keen to wrestle back the aforementioned momentum, Akon Mawien struck in his first over to have Northcote 1/6. Despite the gradual building of partnerships, Uni didn’t let things get out of control, and when McLaughlan and Haseeb struck in quick succession, things were in the balance at 3/41. Again, a partnership, as the Dragons added 53 for the fourth wicket; again, wickets fell in succession, and Northcote found themselves 6/104. As the tension built, Northcote formed what appeared to be the game defining partnership, still with plenty of time left in the innings, Daniel Hutton was able to send the Northcote captain’s stumps cartwheeling, breaking the game open at 7/145. Refusing to yield, however, the Dragons fought their way to 7/171, just three runs shy of victory…
With the game seemingly out of reach, Mawien dragged it back, claiming the eighth and ninth wickets in an over, the big quick had given the Students the chance to claim some points from the day; scores tied and 1 wicket in hand, Jacob Stevenson was to bowl the last over. Having bowled beautifully all day, the Fridge had only conceded 21 runs from his 9 overs, before he crashed through and bowled the number 11 with 4 balls to spare. A superb effort, the Second XI secured a tie for the second time within a year, and claimed two points from a roller-coaster day of cricket.
A difficult day for the Third XI where little went right still saw some positives, especially with the ball as some young Trinity graduates continue to impress.
Bowling first on an unpredictable wicket, Uni made early inroads courtesy of young quick, Angus Molden who claimed the first two wickets. From this point, it was the spinners who really went to work. Dan Mcnab, known to his friends simply as “haircut” claimed three victims to help restrict Northcote, and his Trinity partner in crime, Dough Warren, claimed 2. Ben Roughsedge also spun out one wicket, and at the compulsory closure Northcote had managed 157; not a mammoth score, but it would prove difficult to chase down.
In trouble from the first, Uni’s top 5 managed only 13 runs, with Roughsedge accounting for 12 of these. From this point, it was always going to be difficult to mount a serious challenge at the total. Bienvenu (20) and Savill (26) tried to help add some respectability to the scorecard, but the Students were ultimately bowled out for just 98 in 28 overs.
Despite not being able to make the finals, the Fourth XI still have plenty to play for in terms of helping MUCC mount a charge at the Club Championship.
Bowling first Princes Park, the Students struggled to make early inroads, the Dragons reaching 73 before the first wicket came courtesy of a run-out. From this point, Uni did well to restrict the Dragons, and a steady enough stream of wickets prevented the score from getting out of hand. Young gun, Om Patel was the best of the bowlers, claiming 3/32 from his 9 overs, while Panjwani and Mirza were the other wicket-takers for the Students. Closing the innings at 158 from their 45 overs, the target was certainly reachable for Uni.
Cam Martin was solid in his first Premier innings for the Club, managing 16 opening the batting, but wickets continued to fall at one end at the start of the innings, and Uni were in trouble at 5/50. Thankfully, Jayden Zanoni answered the call, and played a composed and measured innings of 62. Fresh from Bali Belly, the classy left-hander anchored the innings, but unfortunately didn’t have enough go with him through the middle of the innings. Some late hitting from Stockley (18) helped give Uni one last push, but the Students ultimately fell short, all out for 142.