1st XI: MUCC 7/214 (JL McNeil 55, L Scammell 41no) defeated Melbourne 7/211(cc) (J McLaughlan 3/41, AJ Gregory 2/28, S Reid 2/48)
A rolling 1st XI came in hot for their home matchup against old rivals Melbourne CC, as they played off for the annual Michael Sholly Cup. Coming off a thrilling win against Carlton the previous day, MUCC had the unique opportunity to win some silverware and progress to one of their best starts to a season in recent memory. Much to the excitement of the players, coaches and supporters alike, the game did not disappoint.
It was a typically picturesque Sunday at Melbourne University and in Steve Reid’s 150th 1st XI game of Premier Cricket, Melbourne University bowled first. Being given the new ball, fast bowling spearheads Reid and Agar started well bowling aggressively and with pace to set the tone for the game. Whilst Melbourne countered with similar aggression at the top of the order, Reid managed to make the initial breakthrough with the prized scalp of Harper. Wrestling back the ascendancy throughout the innings, MUCC managed to take wickets at regular intervals and subsequently stifled Melbourne’s want to progress the game quickly and on their terms. Key contributors were once again the likes of McLaughlan (3/41) and Gregory (2/28) in tandem with Reid (2/48), together restricting Melbourne to what seemed a very gettable target of 7/211 off their allotted 50 overs.
After the innings break, MUCC were looking to quickly put Melbourne on the back foot with a taste of their own medicine. However, after the top order all got starts, none were able to make significant contributions on a wicket that looked to be getting slower and harder to chase on. Rather ironically past MUCCer Aaron Boyle managed to be the pick of the bowlers for Melbourne, managing 3/36 and bowling with genuine craft and nous. As the run rate started to creep up, captain James McNeil started to do James McNeil things and took the game by the scruff of the neck, making a typically ‘MUCC first’ half-century and giving his team every chance of getting three wins in a row. However, as McNeil (55) and rising star McKenna (27) were dismissed, there was still some work to do…
Enter Liam Scammell.
The brute all-rounder came to the crease and batted with control and power, striking a match-defining six in the second last over to put MUCC in striking distance. When Agar stroked a glorious cover drive, the scores were all but square heading into the last over. Needing 2 from 6, Scammell didn’t wait, advancing Hannah and pumping the second ball of the last over through the infield to finish the game off in style, making 41 not out in the process.
After 15 year existence, it was great to have the Michael Sholly cup back at MUCC.
2nd XI: MUCC 7/260(cc) (M Clements 58, E Karageorgiou 47) defeated Melbourne 156 all out (D Van Der Merwe 3/24)
Full scorecard here
Coming off two strong wins in the first two rounds of the season, the 2nd XI were out to make it three from three at the Albert Ground on Sunday. After navigating the road closures in and around Albert Park due to the Melbourne Marathon (shout out to coach, Antony Keely who knocked off 21kms on Sunday morning), Simpson won his third straight toss, and yet again, the Students would bat first.
After starring the day before, Hutton was unfortunately dismissed first ball of the day, as he shoveled a low full toss to mid-off and Uni were 1/0. After weathering the initial storm from the Demons, Clements (58) and Young (53) were able to enjoy the flat Albert Ground wicket, as the ball came on to the bat nicely and the field spread. Combining for a 113 run partnership, Uni was right back in the box seat. Unfortunately, both fell in quick succession, leaving some work to be done, with the score precariously placed at 3/119.
Rolfs batted with authority and power, racking up a very handy 39 off 51 balls, but as he, Morrison and Croes all fell, Uni were left at 6/194 with just over ten overs remaining. This brought Karageorgiou (47) and Bett (32) to the crease, who combined both power and precision to hit the ball over and past Melbourne fielders. Their crucial partnership of 48 at better than a run a ball allowed Uni to post an imposing score of 7/260 at the compulsory closure.
Though a big score, the conditions certainly favoured the batsmen, so, as with the day before, Simpson implored his team not to rest on their laurels, and ensure they did everything to make scoring as hard as possible.
Stafford (2/26) got the Students going in his second over, setting up the left-hander beautifully, before nicking him off, to have the Demons 1/12. He followed this up with another gorgeous piece of outswing bowling, drawing the edge that was nicely taken by Hutton at second slip. Though Petricola (22) got off the leash early, he was soon undone by a nice piece of bowling by Van Der Merwe (3/24). Bowling first change, Bett (2/35) also broke through early, to leave Melbourne 4/49 after the first power play.
Through the middle overs the Demons started to steady but were never scoring at a rate that put them in any real contention. In any case, wickets continued to fall at regular enough intervals to prevent them from gaining any particular momentum in the chase.
Ultimately, Melbourne were bowled out for 156 in the 40th over, as Uni put in a comprehensive all-round performance to round out a successful weekend with another bonus point.
The 2nd XI could not be better placed heading into the first of the two-day matches against Dandenong, sitting on top of the table.