Coming off a broom last weekend, the Club is well placed, currently in second position on the Club Championship, one point clear of St Kilda, a position they could solidify with a strong showing in round 8.
As the First XI take the field this Saturday, beloved scorer, Nik Sakellaropoulos will raise the pen in the scorers’ box, having clocked up 300 matches of Premier Cricket scoring, 152 of these in the First XI. Nik’s profound contribution to the Club is greatly appreciated, and we all congratulate him on this fine achievement.
On the other side of the boundary rope, the First XI will be out to replicate their performance from last round, as they welcome back Fawad Ahmed from his fruitful stint in the Abu Dhabi T10 league.
Currently fifth on the ladder, the Students have the chance to jump the fourth placed Saints this weekend, as they make the final push to the Christmas break. Having won four from their last five matches, the First XI are in strong form as a whole, and will be keen for this to continue.
Keep an eye out for Mark Stafford this week. The best real-estate agent in the business turned auctioneer during the week, and sold his first property in Balaclava. The swing bowler has also been going about his work nicely on the field, claiming six wickets so far for the year, he is set for a big weekend back at the Uni Main, where he has always performed particularly well.
A Yaksender, HS Emms, F Ahmed, +JG Martignago, *F McKenna, S Reid, L Scammell, AP Young, M Stafford, AJ Gregory
With the inclusions of Ben Rolfs and Daniel Hutton, and back under the leadership of Mark Simpson, the Second XI will yet again be supremely confident that they can claim another win, and nail down top spot on the ladder.
Having won the last four matches they have played, the Second XI has found a nice groove, and with players in form with both bat and ball, it is hardly surprising. Isaiah Borgas is averaging 96.5 from his stint in the Second XI, while Abdul Haseeb and Peter Hatzoglou have been making light work of most batting line-ups, with 14 and 19 wickets respectively for the season.
It’s hard to go past Ben Rolfs as the player to watch in the Second XI this week. The young leg-spinner returns with a wealth of First XI experience, and brings an enviable skill set in all three facets of the game.
A Mawien, *MG Simpson, P Hatzoglou, J Stevenson, I Borgas, +N Croes, M Hatzoglou, JE Horn, A Haseeb, B Rolfs
Having fallen just one wicket short of claiming an outright victory last weekend, the Third XI have also been boosted by some valuable inclusions by way of new full-time employees, inter-state Med students, and more locally based Trinity school students. Pace ace, Tom Walker returns, while Daniel Van Der Merwe is also in for his first match for MUCC of the season, though he has not been without cricket in 2019/20, representing Sydney University while completing his Medicine degree.
This contest shapes as a hot one, with the two teams in third and fourth position on the ladder, separated only by percentage. A victory to Uni would see them comfortably in the top four moving into Christmas.
After his incredible 9 wickets in the match last weekend, John McLaughlan is no doubt going to prove a challenge for the Saints’ batting line-up, but it is Nick Ritchie who we think is poised for a big performance. The young all-rounder has been ticking along nicely this season, and is due for a stand-out match with both bat and ball.
H Bienvenu, B Roughsedge, D van der Merwe, TJ Walker, *+S Skinner, JG Zanoni, T Stockley, J McLaughlan, E Durrant, J Kennedy, K Hatton, NW Ritchie
After they claimed their first win of season 2019/20 last week, the Fourth XI will be out to repeat the dose this week against the Saints. Sitting only three points adrift from the top eight, a victory could help them towards a position in the top half in the lead up to Christmas.
With Ned Bennett returning to the XI after the conclusion of his school cricket duties, the leg spinner will be joined by hard hitting all-rounder Jacob Kooran, Nikhil Kumar and resident club whippet, James Browning in the team.
Johnny ‘Pebbles’ Stone is in fine touch after his maiden hundred last week, but it is Nikhil Kumar who is set to tear this one apart. The recent VCE graduate has only played one Premier match so far this season, as he completed his studies, but is poised to get back into the swing of cricket with a big match against St Kilda.
*L Ditchburn, J Kooran, N Kumar, J Browning, H Alexander, R Epstein, N Rao, AP Gall, O Patel, J Stone+, J Heanly, N Bennett