Alex Gregory was the standout for the First XI and Yousaf Iqbal made the most of his return to the Second XI, as both sides took the points against the Tigers.
Playing away to Monash for the fourth year in a row, the First XI were keen to keep themselves ahead of the ledger on Sunday, with the chance to make it three wins from the first four rounds. Fielding first, it didn’t take Steven Reid long at all to claim the first wicket, courtesy of a nice catch from McKenna. Steady wickets from Gregory (3/29) and Bett (2/31) along with a slow and low pitch prevented Monash from ever getting off the chain, and when Reid (2/22) claimed the final wicket, the Tigers were all out for 190. Though not a huge score, the wicket was becoming harder and harder to bat on, and it would take a gutsy batting performance from the Students to take the points.
Things didn’t start particularly well after the break as Emms (8) and McKenna (7) were both dismissed early, leaving Uni under pressure at 2/17. Coming in with Monash well on top and on a day where batting had been particularly difficult, Andrej Yaksender shone once again. Motoring to yet another half-century, before he was dismissed for 60 off 66 balls, he helped turn things back in Uni’s favour, and took his season tally to 203 runs. At the other end, Alex Gregory went about anchoring the Students’ innings. Playing within himself for the majority of his 120 balls, the powerful all-rounder completed a superb individual weekend to be 61* when the winning runs were struck. Batting with poise and maturity, Gregory’s exceptional performance went a long way to securing the win, and he has been duly recognised as the Resilience Project Player of the day.
An impressive win in unfavourable conditions, the First XI sit one point outside the top four moving into red-ball cricket next weekend.
Returning to the Uni Main for the second day of their double-header weekend, the Second XI welcomed back Mark Simpson to skipper the side, as well as debutant Jayden Zanoni, whose Saturday night plans were cut short as he prepared to join the team to take on Monash.
Fielding first on a flat University wicket, Abdul Haseeb struck in the first over to have Monash 1/4. Some powerful hitting and errant bowling saw the Tigers race to 46 before a flying James Horn held on to a nice catch as Mawien strangled Viccars (25) down the leg side. Uni then put the foot on the throat, as Peter Hatzoglou (3/37) and Callum Dooley (3/30) combined to make light work of the Tigers’ middle order. Some lower-order hitting helped to push Monash beyond 150, but the final wicket fell in the 43rd over, as Uni bowled the Tigers out for 176.
As Haseeb (0) and Roughsedge (3) both fell early, things were a touch precarious at 2/6, but some positive batting from Iqbal and Young helped to steady the ship, as the pair put on 89 for the third wicket. When Young (46) was dismissed, Iqbal continued to go about his work, moving past 2000 Premier Cricket runs on his way to a particularly well-compiled 92, that, combined with James Horn’s 35*, helped secure victory and a bonus point for the Students.
Rounding out a particularly successful weekend for MUCC with 5 wins from 6 games, the Second XI sit fifth on percentage, as they prepare to face Greenvale in their first two-day fixture of the season next week.