In a weekend where the Students claimed their first broom for the season, there were standouts across the grades as Uni put the Hawks to the sword, and our youthful captain led from the front.
On a day that belonged to Fergus McKenna as he notched up his maiden First XI century, Uni started strongly and never looked back as they comfortably took the points against Kingston.
Though a chase of 292 is never an easy prospect, the favourable conditions and particularly strong batting line-up, meant the First XI entered the contest full of confidence.
Openers Emms and McKenna solidified this confidence as play began at Walter Galt. Not only surviving the new ball, they scored quickly to get ahead of the game in the first hour. The pair’s discipline and maturity shone through and they were quick to pounce on errors from the Kingston bowling attack, their intent duly rewarded as balls raced across the fast outfield. Having passed 50, McKenna showed no signs of slowing down as the lunch break loomed, as Uni reached 100 for the loss of no wickets after the first two hours of play.
After the resumption, Emms also reached his 50, and the blonde banker’s bold prediction that no one else would get a hit was looking increasingly plausible. Mother cricket had the last laugh, as he was soon given out caught behind, a decision for which the umpire later apologised, for a well-made 65. Gregory (0) followed soon after, and the door was ever so slightly ajar for Kingston. McKenna, however, was going nowhere.
The twenty-two-year-old captain brought up his maiden First XI hundred with a tuck around the corner to the vacant fine-leg region. He was not done, however, as he partnered with Andrej Yaksender just before the tea break. The pair added the requisite 90 to win the game, as Yaksender blasted his way to 43 not out, while McKenna carried his bat right the way through the innings, to finish 164 not out.
A truly incredible performance from the young captain who has shown poise and composure in spades thus far in season 2019/20. We are all very proud of him and are looking forward to seeing his strong form continue.
The victory saw the First XI retain the Ray Steele cup, and means they are sitting pretty in sixth spot on the ladder, only two points behind first. The next two fixtures will prove crucial, as Uni takes on St. Kilda (5th on the ladder) and Melbourne (1st) before the Christmas break.
Having already claimed first innings points last week, the Second XI were out to take the full 10 points on Saturday; needing to bowl out the Hawks a second time in order to do so.
On a flat wicket at the Main, Kingston showed steely resolve with the bat, denying the Students quick wickets from the outset. As Uni continued to toil throughout the day, leg-spinner Peter Hatzoglou bowled a mammoth 32 overs, claiming 4 wickets as he tried to bowl the Students to a second innings result. Akon Mawien (2/69) was the only other multiple wicket taker, and Ben Roughsedge managed 1 (1/11) as Kingston refused to yield. Their stubborn resistance continued even after it was deemed no result was possible, as they refused to shake hands and batted on well into the last hour. Tempers frayed under such strained circumstances, but unfortunately for the Hawks, their steadfast defiance came a week late, as Uni still took the six points they earnt last Saturday.
The win leaves the Second XI sitting one point clear on top of the ladder, their premiership defence well on track.
Resuming play with Kingston 3/69 still 169 in arrears, the second day promised to be a good contest. What eventuated, however, was a particularly one-sided affair, as Uni claimed 16 wickets for the day, just one short of an elusive outright victory.
Picking up where he left off last week, it was off-spinning John “Bumpy Johnson” McLaughlan who ran through the Hawks on the second day. Using all of his craft and skill, John bowled a magical spell in the first innings of 22.2 overs, 14 maidens, 6 wickets for 10. An unbelievable return, McLaughlan can be very proud of his efforts as he bowled the Third XI to first-innings victory. He was ably supported at the other end by spinning partner in crime, Kendrick Hatton, whose 3/25 meant the Hawks found no respite from the other end. Kingston managed to add a meagre 24 runs on the second morning, before they were bowled out for 93, and captain Tom Savill was quick to enforce the follow on.
It didn’t take long for the Students to break through again in the second innings, this time courtesy of the quicks. Tama Stockley (3/12) and Nick Ritchie (1/8) combined for the first four wickets, to have the Hawks reeling at 4/27. McLaughlan, however, wasn’t going to be kept out of the game, bowling yet another inspired spell, claiming 3 wickets to open the door for an outright victory. Unfortunately, the Hawks were able to resist, ultimately finishing 9 wickets down in their second innings. McLaughlan’s completed his return to cricket with the amazing match figures of 9/82 from 44.2 overs, an effort of which he and the rest of the Club can be particularly proud.
The Third XI now sit fourth on the ladder, with a chance to jump third placed St. Kilda next week.
Starting the second day with Kingston already 3/39, having posted an imposing 7/283 (dec.) last weekend, the Fourth XI were hot favourites to claim the win on the weekend.
In favourable batting conditions at Princes Park, Uni never gave Kingston a look in. A steady stream of wickets meant that the Hawks were never able to form partnerships of any real substance, as Uni applied pressure from both ends. Henry Alexander (2/17) was impressive with the ball, but it was sixteen-year-old, Nehsant Rao, whose inspired six over spell saw him claim the figures of 4/9, that really broke the back of Kingston. Eventually bowled out for 147, the Fourth XI claimed their first victory for the season, and a comprehensive one at that.
Enforcing the follow on, the Hawks put in a much better showing in the second innings, only losing three wickets, one apiece to Gall, Patel and Panjwani.
The victory moves Uni to tenth on the ladder, only three points outside of the top eight, in what is a particularly close run competition.