Winning his first toss and electing to bat at the Uni Main on Saturday, captain Fergus McKenna and opening partner Harrison Emms showed great intent and positivity to get the Students off to a good start. In a trademark display of back-foot power, Emms managed 35 in his return to the First XI, before being dismissed, leaving the score 1/69. This brought best buddies Gregory and McKenna together. The duo, who are yet to be seen apart in season 2019/20, added 109 for the second wicket, as McKenna (75) reached his highest score in the First XI. Andrej Yaksender did some wonderfully Yaksender things, including hitting sixes over cover, (for reference, see MUCC TV) on his way to an invaluable late innings 44 from 29 deliveries. MUCC finished on 4/247 from their 50 overs, as the rain set in across Melbourne.
Steven Reid continued his fine form to claim the first wicket of the innings and put the Heat behind the eight ball, before the rain arrived, and players were forced from the field. After a lengthy delay, and as the sun started to peek through the clouds in the late afternoon, Frankston was set a revised total of 36 from 4 overs. In this time, Gregory and Bett both collected wickets, and Reid (2/22) claimed his second, as the Students were able to restrict the Heat, and claim their second win of the season.
Mark Simpson has got this dual-captaincy operation down to a fine art, or so it seemed on Saturday morning, when Antony Keely, leading the side for the first time this season, found himself in a wet and windy Frankston for the Second XI’s round 3 clash with the Heat.
Losing the toss and fielding first, it was Frankston who were the fast starters, but intermittent rain and some good bowling from Peter Hatzoglou (3/50) halted their momentum and helped Uni to wrestle back the ascendency. Callum Dooley’s tidy spell of 2/39 and Abdul Haseeb (2/46) also helped restrict Frankston when they threatened to get away. Ultimately, rain prevented a full 50 over being bowled, Frankston posting 9/244 from 47 overs.
After the early dismissal of Haseeb, Uni found themselves 1/7, before Roughsedge and Young combined for a 90-run partnership to put the momentum squarely in the Students’ hands. A lengthy break in play due to rain saw the total revised- Uni requiring 246 from 45 overs. As play resumed, Roughsedge was dismissed (35) soon followed by Young (64) and Max Hatzoglou (9) and Frankston found themselves on top. Thankfully, however, Keely’s trip down Eastlink wasn’t in vain, as the coach and self-dubbed “insurance policy” made a typically stylish 38. James Horn (35) was steady at one end, as cameos from Peter Hatzoglou and his newfound ramp shot (16), and Lachie Melican (23) put the result beyond doubt. It was, however, the Club’s resident “winning-run-hitter” Akon Mawien who sealed the victory with a chip over mid-on, as the Second XI took the points for the second time this year.
Driving through the Mullum Mullum tunnel to Frankston, “run-machine” Raf Epstein got a call from Third XI skipper Tom Savill alerting him to his eleventh-hour promotion. Despite the rush to return to Princes Park, Epstein, along with his teammates were in fine form from the first ball.
Opener Elliott Durrant (45) managed his highest score for the season, and Hugo Bienvenu (28) was impressive again in his return to the Third XI. It was the middle order, however, that really took control of the game, as Jayden Zanoni (59) and Nick Ritchie (56) put on 117 for the fourth wicket, pushing the score well beyond 200. Jacob Kooran blasted 16 from 5 balls to close the innings, as Uni posted an impressive 4/226.
After early wickets from Stevenson (1/22) and Kooran (1/11) the Heat were well behind, and Uni never let go of the ascendancy. Hatton was able to keep things tight as usual, but it was young all-rounder, Nick Ritchie, who backed up his maiden Third XI half-century, with his best bowling figures at the club, claiming 4/43 as Uni bowled out Frankston for 148. A comprehensive performance, and we all keenly await Ritchie’s dual shotguns!
Desperate to secure their first win of the year, the Fourth XI made their way down to Frankston, battling the cold and rain. Losing the toss and fielding first, Uni made early inroads thanks to a runout and some impressive up-front bowling from Tama Stockley (3/23). Despite this impressive start, the Students’ let the Heat back into the contest with some errors in the field, as Frankston went from 4/22 to 9/189 after a rain-affected 38 overs.
Semi-regular wickets throughout the early part of Uni’s innings threatened to halt the run-chase before it really got moving, until an impressive partnership between Christain Van der Merwe (63) and Alex Gall (48) helped tip the scales in Uni’s favour. More rain delays added confusion, and despite the loss of three overs, there was no change in target, which ultimately curled Uni, as they fell 2 runs short. A disappointing result, but again, some impressive individual performances will give the Fourth XI inspiration moving into red-ball cricket next week.