As the positive cases and close contacts kept coming, XI’s across the grades were not finalised until the first ball was bowled on Saturday morning.
Frogbox was live at the Main for the first time on Saturday as the Students batted first against the Heat. So, as the top order dug their heels in on a challenging wicket, James Bett – like a bull from a gate – made for the FrogBox microphone to commentate the action. Taking heed from Richie, TOG saw himself as a guest in his viewers’ living rooms, as he took the audience through a challenging first part of the Students’ innings.
At the helm for most of that first hour was Harrison Emms, who traded his traditional Nigerian dress shirt (worn for large parts of the Christmas break) for a resolute forward defence and soft hands against a seaming ball. Both suit him down to the ground. His 26 runs were valuable, setting a steady platform for Gregs and Diesel. The coach – who might permanently have his phone on silent after last week – continued his rich vein of form as he worked his way to 29. Meanwhile Gregory, who took every precaution by warming up in a face mask, showed his class once again. Batting for more than two hours, the dominant all-rounder posted an invaluable 55 to help haul the Students beyond 150. Could Gregs be living proof of the Michael Cleaments theory that the less you train the better you play? (Never mind the fact the majority of the club are about to attend an optional Wednesday training session).
Nick Ritchie (13) found the boundary twice on debut, but unfortunately Uni lost 5/17 at the back end of the innings to be all out for 158. It would take their best to snatch the points.
“It’s left arm ohhhver, not left arm ovah.” Yes, the Wizard gags were flowing on Saturday as Om Patel took the new ball on debut. He managed to lift more than a feather, too, raising the spirits of the Students with two early wickets to crack the contest right open. Steady bowling throughout saw Uni stay right in the contest, indeed they would have been ahead of the game but for some missed chances. Gregory (2/26) completed an utterly commanding all-round performance, as Mitch “wet wipes” Domann, bowled a superb spell of 2/16 late in the day to haul the Students back in it.
Unfortunately, Uni were caught short at the end of the day, as Frankston secured victory off the last ball.
First time skipper of the Second XI after the late withdrawal of Antony Keely, Hugo Bienvenu showed a capacity for mental gymnastics as he announced a late inclusion to the umpires – Elias Karageorgiou in.
So, as Kara and great mate Jarrod assumed their places behind the wicket, Daniel Van Der Merwe went to work from the other end. Though he has been busily studying to be a doctor – not specifically a cardiologist – Vanders’ effort on the weekend suggests he hasn’t missed a beat. A stunning effort of 5/16 from 8 overs more than enough to break the game open under overcast skies. Just lettuce know if you’re keen for a game again DVDM!
With a plethora of spinners at his disposal, Huggsy was more than happy to throw the ball around as Dan McNab (1/26), Yuvi Singh (2/23) and Rithin Rakes (1/40) all impressed at different stages throughout the innings.
A complete bowling and fielding performance – not without some customary lip from Kara – saw the Students bowl out Frankston for 140.
Though only chasing a low total, a relatively steady stream of wickets on a challenging pitch meant Frankston were never out of the hunt. Jazz (15), Huggsy (17) and Michael Forwood (12) all got starts, it was down to MUCC’s own pair of internationals – incidentally both on Second XI debut.
Yuvraj Singh (39) and Jimmy Anderson (18*) were cool and composed under pressure as they took the Students to victory. Singh, whose outstanding all-round effort included the highest score for the match. After his dismissal, Anderson remained rock solid as wickets tumbled at the other end; Uni losing 3/9 late in the chase. Unperturbed, Anderson and Van Der Merwe (who has a good track record in nail-biting chases) saw Uni home, for a memorable win.
Over/ under 5.5 players of the XI stopped for a drive thru on the way home.