The Students faced Prahran in another important match-up as they look to continue a positive build towards the finals in the top three grades. Matches are in the balance across the board, while the women’s team had a fantastic win.
Taking on the True Blues at the Uni Main, both teams were greeted by a green wicket that had spent the large part of the week under covers as rain lashed Melbourne. Losing the toss, Uni were quickly sent in, but remained upbeat as the sunny conditions meant that should they navigate the first session, batting would be easier in the latter part of the day.
The early wickets of openers Borgas and McKenna had the Students in trouble, before Gregory and Yaksender steadied the ship. The pair are both in the top three run-scorers in the competition and showed their class as they added 54 for the third wicket. Yaksender (31) went just before the lunch break, while Gregory balanced some power hitting and lovely straight drives with measured defence and patience on a wicket that kept the bowlers interested. When he was dismissed for 47, Uni were in trouble at 6/121. Enter Jarrod Martignago. Taking it upon himself to wrestle back the momentum, Jazz scored at almost a run-a-ball from the start of his innings, sending ball to the fence nine times in his invaluable innings of 71. Having pushed the score up beyond 150, Uni were eventually bowled out for 194 just after the tea break, still with 33 overs left in the day.
Bowling in what were by this stage favourable batting conditions, Uni would need to put in a good shift on the first evening to stay in the contest. There was never any doubt that they would. With the strongest bowling attack in the competition, Stafford and Reid bowled beautifully up the top, before Squid got the first, to have Prahran 1/38. As the pressure continued to build from both ends, the wickets continued to fall, as Staff and Gregory (2/30) had the True Blues reeling at 4/50. Some resistance from the batsmen, before Staff managed to break through just before the close of play for his third of the evening, to have Prahran 5/110. The game well and truly in the balance, it shapes as a crucial first session for both sides next weekend.
Back on the winners’ list after a dominant display last weekend, the Second XI travelled to Toorak Park for the resumption of red-ball cricket to take on Prahran. Also losing the toss and being sent in on a wicket that would offer enough to the bowlers for the first hour, Uni started shakily, finding themselves 1/6.
Max Hatzoglou continued his strong season at the top of the order, making his way to 35, ably supported by fellow wicket-keeper, Noah Croes, who crunched his fifth half-century of the season, blasting eight boundaries in his innings of 53. After the pair were both dismissed and captain Simpson was run out, Uni were in trouble at 6/124. Thankfully, Daniel Hutton was going nowhere at the other end. The ever-stylish left hander showed great patience throughout the innings, and reached his half-century on the stroke of tea. After the break, he really kicked into gear, blasting ten boundaries and two sixes, Hutton worked the ball into the off-side to bring up his hundred. His second century for the season, Diesel’s innings of 128 not out helped push the Students up over 300. A fine effort, and just rewards for the power of work he continues to put in, his innings earnt him the mantle of TRP Player of the Week. Some late hitting from off-spinner John McLaughlan (42) meant Uni were eventually bowled out for an imposing 330.
An exciting two overs with the ball at the end of the day didn’t produce any wickets, but the Students will enter the second week hot favourites to take the points.
On a wicket that had been uncovered and drenched with rain throughout the week, the Third XI were sent into bat first on Saturday morning against Prahran.
While the conditions made batting difficult, a run out saw the Students 1/0, before a flurry of wickets had Uni in deep trouble at 5/15. Some resistance Nick Ritchie and Hugo Bienvenu took the sting out of Prahran’s bowling effort briefly as the pair added 23. Ritchie was the only batsman to reach double figures as he made an impressive 38 from 92 balls. Unfortunately, no one was able to go with him as the Students were bowled out for 65 in 33 overs.
Needing an impressive bowling performance, Uni made the most of what were still distinctly bowling friendly conditions. Answering the call, Jacob Stevenson bowled beautifully. With the ball on a string, the big quick received enough assistance from the surface and broke the game apart with the wonderful figures of 5/21 from 14 overs. During his 2nd5’fa for the season, Fridge also brought up his hundredth wicket for the Club; well done, Stevo! Callum Dooley and Ben Roughsedge also managed a wicket each, as the Students refused to give in. Despite the heart shown by the Third XI, Prahran did manage to pass their score, and currently sit 9/70.
Having lost on the first innings, the Third XI will be hopeful they can force a second innings result next Saturday and will enter the contest with a great deal of confidence and momentum from what has been a wonderful bowling effort thus far.
Desperate to get on the board for their first win since Christmas, the Fourth XI faced Prahran away in Round 11, under the leadership of Sam Skinner.
Winning the toss and bowling first, it didn’t take long for the Students to draw first blood, as Tama Stockley broke through with an LBW to have the True Blues 1/10. From that point on, Uni never looked back, as wickets continued to fall relatively consistently; every bowler taking at least one wicket. Recent VCE graduate and the man with the most aggressive haircut at the Club, Dan McNab spun a web from one end, as he claimed 4/39 from 15 overs, while Om Patel and Alex Gall each managed 2 wickets. An impressive bowling performance, Uni bowled Prahran out for 117.
Still with 28 over left in the day, the Students had the chance to make significant inroads to the chase on the first afternoon. Despite the early loss of Kennedy (8) in his first game back from a dislocated shoulder, some valuable contributions from Alex Gall (26) and Raf Epstein (22*) steadied the ship and saw the Students close the day at 3/65. The game in the balance, Uni will be confident that a steady effort with the bat next week will see them over the line.
In an absolutely dominant display against Tullamarine on Sunday, the girls showed why they sit at the top-end of the ladder. Batting first, the Students put on a mammoth 3/211 from their 36 overs, including an opening stand of 175 (Lopez 93, Collard 99).
With the ball, MUCC never gave Tullamarine a chance. After the first wicket fell with the score at just 7, Uni never looked back, and it was Club legend Cath Grant who was the star of the day, claiming a hat-trick on her way to the match-winning figures of 3/6 from 5 overs. Eventually bowled out for 51, Tullamarine hardly gave a yelp as Uni were far too strong.