How fitting that two MUCCers – and two very close mates – will both reach 100 matches as Students on the weekend. A happy coincidence, too, because the careers of James Horn and Harrison Emms have always shared a lot in common.
Starting before their arrival at the Main, they crossed state boarders to play school cricket against each other. The start of an enduring connection, they each ran with long flowing locks during the early part of their MUCC careers; In Emmsy’s case, this was always a point of consternation for bowlers, who would remind him “there’s no bouncer repellent in your Pantene Pro V shampoo!” Perhaps that early bumper barrage is why his pull shot is now so strong? In any case, as their on-field careers flourished, each took on roles off the field as they continue their rich contribution to the club.
Both First XI representatives, both MUCC Premiership players and both wonderful people with plenty more to offer in their next hundred and beyond, congratulations to you both on the milestone!
Just net run-rate outside of the top four, the Students have a chance to make a statement against the reigning Premier at the Main on Saturday.
Welcoming back Doug Warren to the side for the first time in 21/22, the left-arm tweaker will prove a real challenge for the Prahran batting line-up; should they run past one, look for the Warren/ Wombat combination(a proud and storied combination in the animal kingdom) to pull off a few stumpings.
To that end, fellow spinner, “Richmond Rolfs,” has not had a night at home this week. Be it the Big Bash (where he chose to double dab on fan cam), or the $19 evening Ground Pass at the Australian Open, Melbourne’s sporting precinct has proven too tempting. If he goes big on the weekend, only a brave man would wager he’ll head home to Glasshouse St early.
Finally, Andrej Yaksender was arguably best afield in Thursday’s catching competition. Sunglasses on, he did a reliable impression of “Robo-Cop,” and he could continue that on Saturday: “Excuse me, I have to go. Somewhere there are runs that need to be made.”
PLAYER TO WATCH: Janak Prakash
JP has settled in beautifully at the Main over the last couple of months, and I am reliably informed his dance moves even rivalled Rolfsy’s last Sunday. Devastating with the new ball and power in the lower order, he could break this one apart. P.S. JP has a penchant for rum and coke with no ice. Seriously, he takes no prisoners.
Sitting pretty in fourth spot, anything but a central wicket tomorrow at Toorak Park will make for a short square boundary – a tantalising prospect for a talented Second XI.
Nick Ritchie, whose traditionally strong forehand wasn’t quite enough to get Robertson through their ‘Tennis Cricket’ clash with Lowery on Tuesday night, has also been enjoying the Australian Open action of late. Not a fan of the “Kia Close Calls,” however, he would prefer a return the use of linespeople; trusting the umpire’s decision a fundamental pillar of his connection to the sport.
Moreover, Harrison Barnes, who is something of a run-making machine, might also contribute some overs of left-arm wrist spin. Toorak Park is a fine venue for the craft, and Hugo Bienvenu might turn to him as a second spin option to work in tandem with James Bett.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Jeremy Peacock
Working hard to maintain his place as MUCC’s ‘main tanner,’ after a fierce challenge from Jamin Barron-Toop, Peacock has enjoyed a week of sunshine at the Uni Main. Moreover, his form on the field has been particularly impressive of late, and the all-round star will surely have a big say on Saturday.
Two fine inclusions headline the Third XI on the weekend; one from the Melbourne University Fruit bowl – John “Rock Melon” McLaughlan and the other from Mooseheads in Canberra, Lachie Pedley. Two of the better bowlers at the level, it is particularly exciting for John to return – nagging injuries not able to get the better of him.
Back at PP3 and keenly pursuing a spot in the top four, the Third XI will need to knock off ladder-leaders, Prahran. Of course, the Students needn’t fret should things get tight, because with Jimmy Anderson in the team, a high-pressure situation will quickly have the sting taken out of it by Uni’s resident finisher.
On a slow PP3 with limited shade, there will be plenty of UV rays – as there will in the Students’ XI. Yuvraj “UV rays” Singh will take the field – and with his drifting off-breaks, carrom ball and powerful batting, he will surely prove more than a handful for the True Blues.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Lucien Bienvenu
Lucien was part of greatness on Thursday night at training, as a tennis ball was thrown from the outfield and caught by Rolfsy in a moving vehicle. To quote Talking Heads, such magical moments occur “once in a lifetime,” and surely hint at more good things to come. Having enjoyed his time opening the batting and the bowling last week, Lucien could boss this one around as well.
Lachie Melican returns to the side this week, alongside captain Ed Savill, Rithin Rakes (yes, still leg breaks!) and Tom Uhr-Henry.
Desperate to start climbing the ladder, Saturday provides a nice chance at RIghetti Oval. A proud venue, a firmly struck shot in an Easterly direction could clear the M1 – no doubt a thought that has crossed the mind of dynamic young batter, Shenan Dias.
No such opportunity will present for the True Blues, however, as Tom Uhr-Henry, renowned for his thruppence-hitting-ability, returns to the side. Part of a particularly imposing bowling attack, he, along with Stockley and Talati will provide plenty of headaches with the new ball.