Red Ball Return

O-week might still be a couple of weeks away, but there was PLENTY of action for the Students on the weekend, as the Women’s XI made a real statement, all four Men’s Premier XI’s donned the whites for the first time in three years, the Junior School (that’s the Dowling XI) put an exclamation mark on their campaign, while the Vets showed their class and experience. 



“Juggernaut rolls on.”


Nic Brian via WhatsApp, 9:37pm Sunday night.



That can only mean one thing, another comprehensive victory for the Women’s XI as they continue an utterly dominant season, now in the 50-over format. 


Sitting 5 points clear on the top of the ladder, there was a total gulf in class on the weekend, as the Students dismantled Skye. Batting first, Uni blasted an unbelievable 4/241 from their 50 overs, headlined by a remarkable century from Odette Lopez. 


In her knock of 100 rtno, Lopez cracked a whopping 14 boundaries, and took her season tally to beyond 300 in the process. A mighty effort, she was ably supported by Jahnvi Tandon (37), Bailee Bowden and Caitlin Maher-Gale (both 18).


Not done there, however, Lopez opened the bowling as well and claimed the opening wicket, just to put a full stop on her all-round dominance. Even contributions from all bowlers meant that Skye were always in strife, as the skipper Cath Grant claimed 3, while Edmonds and Tandon both contributed with two apiece.


Knocked over for just 93, Skye joins a whole host of competitors who will be glad to see the back of the Students…



At the home of the TAC Cup Dandenong Stingrays, the First XI just about clocked their 120 hours (of batting) on Saturday, as they put the Panthers to the sword. Having won two tosses in a row, the skipper picked up where he left off against the Hawks, making what he humbly described as “the best 39 runs in the history of the code.” Ably supported by Yaksender (54, which might actually DECREASE his average), Uni were always ahead of the game. 


Little quokka Croes made a stylish 70 – pounding pull shots, while Buckety Buckets put some runs in his bucket, with 69. In just his second knock at the level, UV Singh pounded an unbeaten 53. Such has his dominance been with the bat lately, that when asked where he was most likely to score, Emmys – who has seen Yuvraj bat the most – simply quipped, “the boundary.”


A rapid-fire 28 from JP at the end of the day pushed Uni towards 350, closing the day at 7/345. As Alex Gregory would say, “competitive…”



At the Main, with the bells and a red ball. Something of a fantasy land. In any case, the Students struggled in the first session with the pill, missing lengths on a very favourable batting wicket. The Panthers in control at 1/112 at lunch, few could have predicted what came in the afternoon. 


In his return to the Second XI, KD was a class above with the ball, his 13 overs yielding two wickets for just 25 runs, and a pair of outstanding – if understated – celebrations. (Refer Frogbox). At the other end, the quickies settled into beautiful lines and lengths – a potent combo. Nightingale, Melican and Sheahan all wonderful through the session, it was Harrison Thompson whose legspin really broke the game apart. In just his second match at the level, he claimed 4/49, celebrated like his life depended on it and yelled, “How good is leg spin?!” after a chim-cross. As Horny said, “it’s blonde and it bowls leg-spin, what more do you want?”


JBT returned for a late wicket and the Students rolled Dandenong for 192, before navigating their way to 1/45 at the close. A dominant day, it bodes well for the second week.



Perhaps something of a last hurrah before the school holidays ended, Josh Hahnel wanted to spend as long as possible at the crease on Saturday, as he anchored the innings in a big score for the Third XI.


Facing 194 balls, Joel channeled his inner Chet Puj (Cheteshwar Pujara for those playing at home), compiling a tidy 68. By contrast, Ali Khan plundered the ball to all parts of Wilson Oval (any into the creek?) as his innings of 50 on the knocker included 10 boundaries. Michael Forwood also contributed an invaluable 58, perhaps inspired by Lowery’s conversation during the week about the best tea-time offerings…


Some powerful late-order hitting from Leo Hatz (38 off 35) and Yaseen Muntasir (18 off 17) pushed Uni well beyond 250, the innings closing at 7/288. 



Only percentage keeps the Fourth XI from top spot at the moment, so a comprehensive drubbing of the Panthers would no doubt see conversation about the Minor Premiership entertained…


Bowling first, Uni made the fast start, as Tharindu Perera nabbed two early wickets; perhaps a portent of things to come for our imposing all-rounder… Thought the Panthers gathered some momentum and threatened to build big partnerships on a number of occasions, it was Tharindu who kept them in check; his impressive seamers accounting for 5 of Dandenong’s top 6. On such a rampage, T finished with the unbelievable figures of 6/36 from 14 overs – a stunning effort and enough to earn himself the mantle of TRP Player of the Week!


Elsewhere, Trent McManus claimed two, while one apiece to Singh and Jimmy Anderson saw the Panthers rolled for 219. Although the Students are 1 down overnight, the XI flush with batting depth will be confident they can get the job done.




VETS XIII – MUCC 4/194(cc) defeated Burwood 9/192 (cc)


The mobile MUCC aged care facility wound back the clock at Burwood Reserve No.2, finally delivering on the promise of coaching greats Sutherland, Allardice and Lowery to cement their “best fielding team in the comp” tag (four run outs) in a thrilling two run victory. 


Stand in skipper Brett Murphy called correctly, and (with only three players at the ground) wisely elected to bat first. After a wobble in the first over (1/0), Stew Harris (40 ret) and Tim Grant (42 ret) eventually found form against a steady attack, before Brett Murphy bombed them again (well, sort of!) (40 ret) and Peter Hamilton (21) accelerated to 194 from the allotted 36 overs. Ben Costello and Dan Lowery (14 apiece) also made very handy contributions at better than a run a ball. PLENTY!!! Or so we thought. 


Any designs on early croppos were then quickly shelved (figuratively speaking), with Burwood out of the blocks FAST. At 2/118 at the halfway mark, it was time for Desperate Dezzy Daniel Lowery to go to work (2/25). Which seems ironic since we all know that schoolteachers are never at work. Then came the chaos: a flurry of run outs (Tim Grant x2, Murphy, Duffy), neat death bowling from Costello and Grant (3/15), and a one-handed SCREAMER from this report’s author brought us to a heart stopping final over: Burwood NINE down and five runs short. Tim Grant (another schoolteacher!) stepped up again, with a very adjacent LBW bringing an end to proceedings. Croppos were had.


MUCC into second spot on the ladder, with one match to play before finals. MoM Josh Marquet, who played a full game despite injuring himself a few hours pre-match and barely able to muster a Cliff Young shuffle. 



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