Mega-broom? Ultra-broom? Bonus-broom?
Whatever you want to call it, the Students broke new ground on the weekend as they claimed bonus point victories from the Main to Mickleham against the Kangaroos.
It’s a long way from Brighton to Greenvale Reserve, but Buckets wasn’t going to be caught out; the first to arrive at Section Road on Saturday morning. He’d be forgiven for thinking he was still on the M2 upon arrival, however, because the wicket was particularly flat – and Uni would bowl first.
Though conditions favoured the batters, it was Uni’s seamers who dominated first up. Simon Mackin was thrilled to come with the wind on the weekend, and didn’t he impress? Bashing a relentless length, he was miserly throughout the powerplay. Happily, Mark Stafford has perfected his headwind technique on the bike throughout the off-season, and he also made scoring difficult from the other end.
Second-gamer Angus Molden made the first breakthrough thanks to a characteristic rising short ball and pop-up catch. From the other end, TOG went to work. Landing his left-arm orthodox spin on a thruppence, Bettsy kept things in check for the entirety of his 10-over spell. Naturally, his word count in the field went North after his final delivery – “dynamic inside the 30-yard circle, powerful outside it” a personal favourite. Domann was excellent with his off-breaks and Rolfsy (known as Rofs on the scoreboard for his first three overs) was also impressive. He claimed the set batter after the second drinks break, and also nabbed two run-outs (he’s baaaaack).
Just hopping past 200, The Kangaroos finished at 5/209, and Harrison Emms couldn’t wait to bat: “This is fill your boots stuff, Drew,” he muttered as he looked longingly at the ever-flattening surface at the change of innings.
Well, may Larry’s Christmas stocking resemble his boots, because they filled quickly on Saturday. He took to blasting the brand new cool mint to all parts of the burgeoning North West, his play square of the wicket particularly attractive. Blasting 8 boundaries, he put the game in Uni’s hands, and although he was unfortunately run out, he can be well pleased with his form.
At the other end, Noah Croes quickly found a groove. Punishing short balls to the square boundaries on both sides of the wicket, our Donk put on a batting masterclass. He is enviably stylish in all that he does (the man can roll a lawn bowl make no mistake) and was splitting gaps at will. Accelerating past 50, Croey (perhaps as a precursor to the broom) brought out a range of sweeps; conventional reverse and paddle all played with great conviction. A sneaky drop and run into the off side brought up his century; a fine knock that took Uni almost all the way to victory!
Naturally, Yak finished 37* as he set about his annual pursuit of the batting trophy, Uni securing the points in the 37thover.
“Bradman Borgas Bats and bats and bats”
87 years since the headline first appeared after Bradman cracked 304 at Headingley, it rings true for Borg, who put on a batting masterclass at the Main on the weekend.
Bowling first on a hard and flat Main wicket, it was University’s fielders who made an early impression as the first two wickets came courtesy of run-outs. Bienvenu and Hutton getting themselves involved, it was a sign of things to come as the Second XI had their finger on the pulse for the duration of the day.
Bowling first change, Jeremy Peacock remains slightly perturbed that he can’t play cricket in a singlet. Channelling his inner Liam Scammell in that sense, he did so with ball in hand, too; claiming 3/28 from his ten overs. A game-breaking spell, it was a fine effort that gave Uni the upper hand. Lucien Bienvenu (3/31) was also impressive at the tail end of the innings, preventing the Kangaroos from gaining any kind of momentum and restricting the total to 200.
With bat in hand, captain Borgy went to work straight away. With typical elegance, he put on a clinic as he cracked 16 boundaries to score at a run-a-ball for the duration of his innings. Bringing up a stunning century with a commanding walk-down stand-up square cut (the footage is simply glorious), Borgy celebrated in style and assured teammates that a mid-week wedding and a couple of ales might be the best kind of preparation! Partnering with Hugo Bienvenu (on one leg thanks to a hamstrung hamstring) they simply shut the door on Greenvale with a stunning 150-run partnership. Hugo (68*) secured the bonus point with a boundary off the second last ball of the 40th over completing a fine victory for the Second XI.
It was a procession from the first at Greenvale Reserve #4 as the Third XI dominated every contest, securing victory with a bonus point against the Kangaroos.
One of the hardest hitters of a cricket ball, Jayden Kennedy made the Kookaburra wince on Saturday as he blasted ten boundaries and two sixes opening the batting on Saturday. A stunning 77 off just 66 deliveries, JK broke the game apart with quad and glute chunk and even broke bread with Pencil, the two sharing a 134-run partnership. Under advisement of local air-traffic control, the pair even managed to stay out of each other’s way between the wickets.
Following JK’s dismissal, Pencil carried on his merry way, acting as something of a (grey)lead weight for the Kangaroos’ bowlers. Playing with stunning poise and maturity, he cracked 14 boundaries as he crafted his first century as a Student. A fine innings, he finished 133* taking Uni close to 300 and earning the mantle of POTW in the process.
Some big hitting from Forwood (22) and Skinner (30) at the end of the innings took the Students to a mammoth 5/289 from their 45 overs.
Tough work bowling to a side that has no interest in making a game of it, Uni did a great job to fight it out with ball in hand. The Kangaroos might have been batting for themselves, but even their stonewalling method wasn’t enough to conquer the wizardry of Rithin Rakes. He claimed 3/33 from his 9 overs, his leg-breaks simply a class above. The Stock Pot and Jimmy Anderson also claimed a wicket each, along with Pencil who completed a stunning all-round match with a wicket to go with his century.
Limping to a meagre 6/178, the Kangaroos fell more than 100 short. Taught a lesson by the Students.
It took just 10 players and 70 overs for University to secure a bonus point victory at Princes Park on the weekend.
Bowling first, it was Khush Talati (Talati or not Talati? That is the question…) who made early inroads. A stunning opening spell with the cool mint, he broke the game open with 3/4 from 5 overs! Ably supported by Tom Uhr-Henry, the Students had the Kangaroos reeling at 4/11. A steady middle order partnership wrestled back some momentum for Greenvale, but it was Hendro Dias – against his old side – who worked some magic. 3/24 with his off-breaks, he ensured the Kangaroos wouldn’t have much to defend, as they were bowled out for 119 in 38 overs.
Chasing a small total, the opening partnership is vitally important to snuff out any chance of a batting collapse. Happily for Uni, Yas Muntasir (20) and Paarth Verma (32) were impressive and ensured it would be just a matter of time for the Students to secure the points. Batting at 4, the Insurance Policy clearly felt like a hit – Antony Keely’s premium rising by the year as he cracked an imposing 49* from just 40 balls; steering the youthful Students to victory.