By Andrew Young
Keen to continue their winning form, the First XI welcomed Fawad Ahmed and Mark Stafford for their first matches of the season this weekend against Carlton.
After sending the Blues in at the Uni Main, Carlton made a promising start, before Stafford (1/60) removed Mackenzie Harvey for his first wicket of the season. As powerful opener Brayden Stepien went about his work at one end, wickets fell at regular enough intervals at the other. Fawad (1/44) convincingly deceived Evan Gulbis with a wrong’un, and Alex Gregory (3/29) and Liam Scammell (2/26) were particularly valuable in restricting the Blues through the middle part of the innings. Despite a disciplined bowling effort, Stepien managed 128 to help Carlton post a respectable score of 240 all out.
Uni started in positive fashion in reply, before three relatively quick wickets saw the Students teetering at 3/52. Captain, James McNeil and young gun, Andrej Yaksender went about resurrecting the run chase. Both scoring at a fair rate, the pair managed to reach and clear the boundary on a number of occasions, as they pushed the score past 140. McNeil (36) then fell to opening bowler Xavier Crone, and Yaksender (66) followed soon after, brought undone by a Gulbis slower ball, as Uni started to fall behind. Resistance was shown at the back end from Rolfs (18) and Ahmed (14), before they were ultimately all out for 211.
The First XI will take on Frankston Peninsula at home, and Monash away next week in a double header weekend of cricket.
Also out to make it two from two to start the season, the Second XI were away to Carlton on the weekend.
Having won the toss and elected to bat on a fantastic Princes Park wicket, Uni found themselves 1/2 after Roughsedge was on the end of a corker from opening bowler Nick Woods. Harrison Emms (26) continued his positive start from round 1, before being struck on the toe and LBW. Andrew Young (95) combined with Noah Croes (58) for a 120-run partnership, as Croes showed off his 360-degree capability, sending the Carlton bowlers to all parts. As they looked to set a particularly intimidating total, wickets began to fall steadily, but some lower order hitting from James Bett (33) and skipper Mark Simpson (15) saw Uni push their total up over 250, ultimately setting Carlton 263 to win off their 50 overs.
Carlton made the most of the excellent batting conditions and the power play at the start of their chase, reaching 50 in less than 8 overs. Fortunately, second-gamer, Callum Dooley (1/34) was able to strike for his first wicket for MUCC, but the students struggled to contain Carlton. James Bett (2/31) was the standout with the ball for either side, bowling a well-controlled spell to restrict the Blues and wrestle back some momentum. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough, as some errors in execution with the ball, and a lack of support in the field saw Carlton pass the total in the 49th over, three wickets down.
Next weekend provides an ideal opportunity for the Second XI to regain some momentum, with two matches in two days against Frankston and Monash.
After a disappointing outing last weekend, the Third XI were keen to get some points on the board, and get their premiership defence on track.
At home at Princes Park #3, the Third Xi were sent in and soon found themselves 1 down after opener Elliott Durrant was dismissed. Boasting a particularly strong battling line-up this week, Daniel Hutton (81), Yousaf Iqbal (24) and James Horn (56) formed the crux of the Students’ batting innings, and some stylish stroke play from Hutton and Horn in particular saw the students push the score in excess of 200. Some handy lower order hitting from fast bowler Jacob Kooran (17) was valuable as Uni ultimately ended up posting 8/229 from their 45 overs.
Fresh from another week of University placement in Wangaratta, it didn’t take long for opening bowler Jacob Stevenson to make inroads into the Carlton batting line-up. Claiming the first two wickets of the innings, Stevenson (2/39) was ably supported by Hutton, who backed up his superb hand with the bat, with impressive figures of 3/31. Despite some lower order resistance from the Blues, Uni were comfortable victors in the end, as Carlton managed 8/208 at the close of their innings.
An impressive victory, the Third XI managed the only win for University across the weekend, and will be hoping to repeat the dose next weekend.
Keen to get their first win for the year, the Fourth XI were away to Carlton in round 2. Having won the toss and elected to bat, openers Raf Epstein (25) and Alex Gall (41) vindicated captain, Laban Ditchburn’s decision, combining for 70 before the first wicket fell. The ever stylish, Hugo Bienvenu (60) continued his good form, managing his second 50 in a row, as the score moved beyond 200. Some handy late-innings runs from schoolboy Elijah Kelanthous (33) and Jonny Stone saw Uni post an intimidating score of 6/224 at the compulsory closure of the innings.
Opening bowler Tama Stockley (1/44) struck early, putting the momentum squarely in Uni’s hands, before a 130-run partnership between Carlton’s captain, Matthew Vine (62) and Darren Colaco (112) broke the back of the run chase. Despite some late wickets from Om Patel (2/34) and Christian Van der Merwe (2/16), Carlton managed to pass the score 5 wickets down in the 35th over.
Though a disappointing result, the Fourth XI can take plenty of positives from the match, as they look to get their first win next weekend.
To see the scorecards from the weekend please visit the following link – http://mycricket.cricket.com.au/common/pages/public/rv/clubresults.aspx?entityid=211&id=CLR