While the rain fell half way through Saturday’s proceedings – matches abandoned in all Premier grades, the biggest highlight for the weekend came when the sun was shining on Sunday…
Life member and long-standing Fifth XI captain, Adam Pustola, played his 200th match for Melbourne University in his side’s clash with Old Haileybury on Sunday. A legend of the club, his reputation precedes him. Known simply as ‘The Architect’ he is famous for designing stunning works for Lyons Monday – Friday, before drawing up cunning plans to dismiss batsmen on a Sunday. His role as captain of the Fifth XI sees him responsible for many a MUCCer’s first taste of the club, and the culture he manages to maintain in a side that is never the same week to week is astonishing. Premiership captain in season 2018/19, Pustola has done it all at MUCC in his 200 games, and we congratulate him on this incredible achievement.
It was only fitting that the Fifth XI celebrated his milestone game in style. Batting first in trying conditions, Uni found themselves in a spot of bother at 3/52, before the youthful ‘West Side’ partnership of Om Patel and Jack Boyd hauled the Students out of trouble. Patel crafted his way to 52, while Jack Boyd played a steadying and invaluable innings of 32*. Alex Gall closed the innings with some lusty blows; no scooter, Vespa or pushbike was safe on Royal Parade as he slammed 24 from just 12 balls; Uni finishing 4/160.
With the ball, it was quite simply a procession from University. Ram Nayak – whose shoes and haircut are befitting of his intimidatory opening bowling style – blasted through the top order, claiming four of the first five wickets. From that point on, it was The Architect who flourished. For 199 games he has challenged a stump-to-stump line, and in his 200thhe got his just rewards, claiming 3/9 to seal the victory for his side.
A dominant display, Uni bowled Old Haileybury out for just 40 (not even 40-odd) to become the first University side to secure a finals berth in 20/21.
Grand Final day on Sunday, and the Uni Main was looking a picture as the Melbourne University Women’s XI prepared to face Ballarat.
The team entered the contest with an air of confidence, having breezed through their Semi-final encounter. Moreover, the Students had been too strong for Ballarat when they met in Round 10 of the regular season. Keen to repeat the dose on Grand Final day, Uni would bowl first.
Jordyn Allen broke through early for the first wicket, but from then on Ballarat were mightily impressive with bat in hand. Enjoying the favourable batting conditions, they took full toll of anything loose, building partnerships and scoring quickly. While Uni managed to take four wickets, they struggled to stem the flow of runs, as Ballarat had reached 4/160 when the innings closed after 36 overs.
Unfortunately for the Students, they were never able to get going in the run chase. Early wickets and a lack of substantial partnerships meant they struggled for momentum, though Cath Grant (14) and Dani Norman (31) provided some hope through the middle order. Unfortunately, too much was left to too few, as Uni were eventually bowled out for 67.
A disappointing result, but plenty to be proud of for the Women’s XI, who have taken great strides in season 20/21. We look forward to next year as the side is keen to go one step further.
We are thrilled to announce that supporters are welcome, nay encouraged, to return to the Uni Main to watch the Students go to work. The bar will be open, and a little birdie even told me that there might be some snags on the BBQ from 4pm on Saturday 20th March (The First XI’s final game at Home in the regular season). So, come on down and enjoy watching cricket at the best ground in the world. We would love to have you there.
P.S. buy a beer – they’re really cheap and can be tasty!
P.P.S. buy a pie – they’re really cheap and ALWAYS tasty!
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