The United Nations Climate Council’s persistent concerns have a ready-made solution in Liam Scammell. MUCC’s resident ‘Ice Man’ so cool under pressure, he could save the polar ice caps.
Season on the line, backs to the wall, write them off at your peril…
Bowling first at the Main (a surface quickened slightly by the removal of 30 cubic meters of outfield during the week) Uni’s bowlers were keen to get into their work. Bowling for the last time as an unmarried man, Steven Reid was quick to arrest any fears that he might soften as a husband and father; nothing soft about the way his inswinger hit De Iacovo’s front pad. Soon after, Simon Mackin removed the other opener, and Uni were off and away. Disciplined bowling and difficult batting conditions meant Uni were able to control the game with the ball, Scammell, Bett and Mackin owning the middle overs. Reidy went and broke innings apart with three more valuable wickets to finish with his best figures for the year (4/31). To go with the ever-impressive bowling quintet was a James McNeil run out to complete the MUCC blueprint, as the Students restricted the Saints to 8/167 from their 50 overs.
Though not an overly daunting score to chase, it promised to be a challenging one as batsmen never felt truly ‘in’ on a surface that offered enough to the bowlers throughout the day. Emms (17) and McKenna (16) both worked hard for their runs, but the inopportune timing of their dismissals saw St. Kilda with the momentum. Naturally, on a day where most had found batting a challenge, Andrej Yaksender made it look easy. Blasting balls where he had no right to, the Saints were seeing demons, as memories of the 2020 Polish masterclass came flooding back. A fine innings of 56, Yak also fell at an awkward period and when a flurry of wickets followed, including the fast-scoring McNeil (26), Uni needed their lower order to deliver. Treading the ever so fine line of keeping up with the run-rate when 7 wickets down, James Bett and Liam Scammell worked themselves into a position where they needed 10 off the final over to win. Three singles followed a by a third ball boundary to James Bett meant that Uni would need two from the final delivery to keep their season alive; with the field in, Scam popped a full toss over the ring, and then a vein in due celebration, as he and Bettsy completed a masterclass in late innings composure.
Do yourself a favour and watch the last over of the innings on MUCC TV here
A classic victory, it will give the Students the confidence to continue on their merry way all through March and April.
On Saturday, the Students arrived and paid for parking at Harry Trott under the watchful eye of the Parks Victoria ranger; avoiding a $90 windscreen surprise a staple of all lakeside cricket. As the umpires put the ‘Zing stumps’ in the playing surface, Uni’s XI were hoping that they, too would light up – a top four spot beckoning.
Batting first, St. Kilda made the fast start, as Mitch Domann fell in the first over. Some quick scoring saw Uni wrestle back momentum on an already up and down wicket, but when Young (30) and Iqbal (7) fell, Uni were in a spot of bother at 3/55. Meanwhile, skipper and elegant left-hander Daniel Hutton was going about his work at the other end. Back at the top of the order, Hutton is making it look easy; his languid movement into the square drive burnt in the memory of all who bowl to him. Moving beyond 50, he was dismissed soon after, and Uni would need the lower order to rally in order to have something to defend. As ever, it was Jeremy Peacock who answered the call. With a good habit of making runs down the order, Jez compiled an invaluable 44*, combining with Doug Warren (who promised a 17-ball century) for a 39-run partnership at the end of the innings, giving Uni 201 to defend.
Picking up right where they left off, Uni’s bowlers went about dismantling St. Kilda’s top order. Angus Molden started the rot, before Lucien Bienvenu claimed three in quick succession. When Jeremy Peacock broke through with his first ball of the day (the man has the Midas touch) St. Kilda were 5/47, and Uni well on their way. Consistent as always, the spinners gave nothing easily to the opposition, Warren (0/30) and McLaughlan (3/39) making life tough through the middle. Resistance came in the form of Matt Henning; perhaps as payback for Doug declaring he was “not even half the speed of Patto” during our batting innings, as the St. Kilda number 7 played the innings of a lifetime. Balancing power with batting smarts as he paired with the lower order, Henning gave the Saints a chance, and when he blasted three sixes in a row to bring up his hundred, they looked all but home. Lucien Bienvenu, however, held his nerve and had him caught by John McLaughlan, to seal victory for the Students, and claiming his second (!) 5 wicket haul of the year. Great work, Luc.
A difficult day for the Third XI, they were outclassed by a strong St. Kilda outfit and now sit nine points outside the top eight.
Batting first, it was the stylish Elliott Durrant who showed his class first up with the bat. Biding his time and punishing loose balls with full toll, KD worked his way to 36, before being beaten by a wrong’un. I’ve always said, every team needs a left arm wristy. Ben Rolfs also batted smartly, donning strapped finger and Masuri head to toe, Rolfs also managed 32, but the lack of a big score from the top six hamstrung the Students. Tom Savill (21) helped push the total beyond 150, Uni bowled out for 164.
Though both openers struck early, Patel and Pedley each with a wicket, that was where the joy ended for the Students. St. Kilda playing with class in the chase, they knocked it over two down and with ten overs to spare. Uni will need to regroup quickly to keep the finals dream alive.
A dirty day for the Fourth XI.
While the team collapsed around him, Hayden Lim provided a shining light of resistance, his 16* the highlight as Uni were bowled out for 60. The score chased down in ten overs, there will be plenty to learn from this one, as Uni plays for pride in the final few rounds of the season.