Round Four: Honours shared in tough Saints tussle

MUCC Match Reports – Round 4

First XI: MUCC 142 all out (WA Agar 45 JL McNeil 41) defeated by St Kilda 7/253(cc) (WA Agar 2/55 S Reid 2/59)

Playing away for the first time this season, the First XI faced St Kilda at Harry Trott on Saturday, in Victorian Premier Cricket’s marquee game of the round for ‘Love the Game Not the Odds’ – an initiative of Responsible Gambling Victoria.

With Uni bowling first, St Kilda got off to a flying start. Making the most of the excellent batting conditions and the short boundary, the Saints got well ahead of the eight ball. Steven Reid managed to stem the flow with the first wicket, and some superb work in the infield by Tom Rogers saw a run out for the second wicket not long after. Ben Rolfs continued his fine form, bowling superbly, dismissing St Kilda captain, Rob Quiney, courtesy of a nice catch by James McNeil. Rolfs finished with the excellent figures of 1/29 from his 10 overs, a testament to his skill and hard work. Wes Agar also bowled economically through the middle, picking up two wickets as MUCC won the battle of the middle overs. The Saints managed to wrestle back the momentum in the latter overs, as some big hitting and good running between the wickets saw their innings close at 7/253 from their allotted 50 overs.

Unfortunately Uni never really got going in the run chase; Daniel Hutton played some glorious cover drives before being dismissed, and the rest of the top order struggled to impose themselves on the game. James McNeil was once again impressive with the bat, trying to drag the team towards the total, before he was dismissed for 41. Wes Agar entertained the modest crowd, hitting some enormous straight sixes on his way to a swashbuckling 45. Ben Rolfs made a handy contribution of 17 but in the end, but St Kilda proved too strong, bowling out MUCC for 142.

The team will be looking to make amends next week against Dandenong.

Full match scorecard here.

Second XIMUCC 161 all out (Y Iqbal 40 M Clements 33) defeated by St Kilda 4/163 (J McLaughlan 2/22)

Coming into round 4 undefeated, the 2nd XI were looking to translate their good form into a fourth straight win. Playing their first game of the season at the Uni Main Oval, Captain Mark Simpson elected to bat on a deck that looked conducive to a high scoring affair. Losing Emms early on, Clements (33) and Iqbal (40) combined for a 70 run stand to have the scorecard reading 1/75 despite a disciplined St Kilda attack bowling great areas. From here Uni lost regular wickets to eventually be dismissed for a total of 161.

Knowing that an outstanding bowling and fielding effort would be required, Uni made a positive start through Jack Wrigglesworth, who effected a 1st over runout to leave the scorecard reading 1/0. Tight bowling and regular wickets through Umair Butt (1/23) and John McLaughlin (2/22) had Uni firmly in the game having St Kilda 4/49 in the 20th Over. From here, the Saints managed to put together a partnership that would see them over the line with 8 overs to spare and hand the 2nd XI their first loss of the season. To add insult to injury, form quick Lachie Richards went down with a hamstring injury midway through his fourth over.

The 2nd XI now look forward to taking on Dandenong at Shepley Oval in what will be a must-win 8-point game.

Full match scorecard here.

Third XI: MUCC  7/188 (F McKenna 95 RA Phelan 27) defeated St Kilda 6/184(cc) (P Hatzoglou 2/43)

St Kilda won the toss and elected to bat first, posting 184 from their 45 overs for the loss of 6 wickets. New ball pressure was solid, but the first wicket fell to leg-spinner Peter Hatzoglou who brought energy to the bowling crease and the field throughout the entire innings, finishing with figures of 2/43 from 8 overs. Excellent middle over and death bowling kept the Saints under 200 on a small ground.

The Melbourne University batting innings got off to a positive start with openers Robbie Phelan and Fergus McKenna posting an opening stand of 38. Mckenna would carry the batting innings, batting well into the pointy-end and amassing a silky 95 runs from 126 balls. The game was won by MUCC in the last over, with stand-in skipper Antony Keely striking the winning runs. His experience, and 15 not out from 14 balls, was vital to closing the innings successfully. Melbourne University takes the points and continues their undefeated streak.

Full match scorecard here.

Fourth XI: MUCC 3/193 (S Skinner 90 C Barras 40 S Hesham 28no) defeated St Kilda 7/192(cc) (T Stockley 3/31 J Swan 2/48)

Having suffered three losses from three matches to start off their campaign, the MUCC Fourth XI were adamant to get over the top of a travelling St Kilda side which had not yet been beaten. St Kilda won the toss and elected to bat, proving of no worry to MUCC as this would have been the outcome anyway had the coin landed its other side.

The Princess Park #3 wicket which was covered in a slight amount of grass didn’t cause too many headaches for those at the crease, ultimately providing a good contest between bat and ball as the day progressed. Targeting the stumps early was something the team had talked about in weeks prior. With this proving effective as Jeremy Swan took the first wicket of the match, clean bowling the St Kilda captain for just 1 off a great delivery. Runs did begin to flow and some missed chances in the field popped up however the MUCC lads were able to regroup after the drinks break and counter St Kilda’s promising start. Some economical bowling through the likes of Frank Coxon and Lincoln Stanley as well as an exciting two wickets in as many balls from Tama Stockley truly aided St Kilda’s arguably sub-par score of 7/192 after their 45 overs.

Wicket-keeper/batsman Sam Skinner hit a beautiful drive through the off for a boundary, which came on just the first delivery of the MUCC innings,  setting the tone for both the team and himself. Skinner ultimately provided a fantastic foundation for a win, batting for the majority of the run chase and left him for a really well deserved 90. Albury youngster Caleb Barres (40) and Syed Hesham (28no) also contributed nicely with the willow allowing for the Uni boys to grab their first win of the season!

Full match scorecard here.

MUCC Women’s XI: MUCC 85 all out (M Mitchell 34) defeated by Geelong 3/88

The women were ready to put last week’s disappointment behind them and were keen to get off to the right start against a top-class team in Geelong.

After winning the toss, MUCC elected to bat first, with Maddie Mitchell and Sophia Luikinga putting on 34 for the opening partnership. Emma Collard built on her form from two weeks ago with a quick fire 15 including a 6 onto the Upfield train line. Maddie was stable as always, top scoring with 34. The rest fell steadily and MUCC were bowled out for 85.

Geelong are without a doubt the best batting side in the competition. In the past three weeks, they have made a total of 622 runs, including 308 from 40 overs in the opening round. Early breakthroughs are vital when defending 85, and so it was when Cath Grant and Emma combined for a sharp runout and then Cath picked up another quick wicket to leave Geelong reeling at 2/13. MUCC were well and truly in the game but, unfortunately, a partnership of 42 put the game out of reach. Maddie broke the partnership but the ship had sailed, with Geelong passing MUCC 3 down just before drinks.

One of a number of positives was we managed to get 9 on the field. Next week we have a break for Melbourne Cup weekend, followed by an away trip to Plenty Valley, so lots of time to get everything right for a tilt at the reigning premiers.

Full match scorecard here.

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