In a week of mixed results for the Students, both teams that travelled to Ringwood returned with the points, while those at home both fell in tight contests against the Rams.
MUCC 7/244 DEF. RINGWOOD 9/167
Thrilled to welcome back Club captain, James McNeil, playing his first match since sustaining a knee injury in round 2, the First XI were keen to entrench their position on the top of the ladder. Club favourite and First XI wicket-keeper, Jarrod Martignago also played his 200th Premier match in round 10; congratulations, Jaz!
Losing the toss in overcast conditions, Uni were asked to bat first on a wicket that offered little in the way of pace and bounce. Openers McKenna (34) and Martignago (22) got the innings off to a good start in difficult scoring conditions. Alex Gregory continued his strong first half of the season with the bat, anchoring the innings as he crafted a well-made 43. Yaksender (37) and Young (38) provided some valuable runs through the middle of the innings, but when they fell, the Students needed something special to push the score up above 220. Enter Liam Scammell. With freshly waxed arms and legs (weighing in at least 2kg lighter with no body hair) the powerful all-rounder showed his class as he blasted 43* from 26 balls; including a masterful reverse ramp for a one bounce four. He was ably partnered by the skipper, whose run-a-ball 20 included a monster six to the longest boundary in Premier cricket. At the close of the innings, Uni had posted an impressive 7/244 that would be difficult to chase on a low and slow wicket.
With a potent top order, the Students’ start with the ball and in the field shaped as crucial. Thankfully it didn’t take long for the wickets to start falling. Reid (2/22) set up Rogers in trademark fashion, playing on his ego to draw a big drive and finding the edge that was beautifully snaffled by McKenna in the gully. When Stafford (2/35) got Holland playing away from his body, McKenna had his second sharp catch and the Students were away. The man with no torso then removed Hartill with a short ball hit straight to McNeil at short mid-wicket, and Uni had the Rams reeling at 3/13. A stabilising partnership from Ringwood halted the flow of wickets, but they never showed the requisite intent to chase down Uni’s imposing score. Hatzoglou (0/35) bowled beautifully in just his second First XI match, joined by spinning partner James Bett, whose 2/27 helped break the game open. In the field, McNeil got a trademark run out, and the Spork almost became the trident, but his run out from mid-off was denied by the umpire. Bad luck, sporky.
A comprehensive performance, the Students won with a bonus point, and entered the new year in the best possible fashion.
MUCC 10/159 DEF. BY RINGWOOD 7/185
With Daniel Hutton taking the reins as captain for the Second XI’s first match of 2020, the team, boasting a wealth of First XI experience, were out to solidify their spot on the top of the ladder.
Getting off to the perfect start, both opening bowlers Haseeb (2/37) and Mawien (1/42) struck with their first balls, to have Ringwood 2/0 at the Uni Main. Some resistance from the middle order was eventually broken by off-spinning master, John McLaughlan who, whenever he has been able to get on the park in season 2019/20 has been invaluable for whichever team he has played in. A steady stream of wickets, aided by Ben Rolfs’ 2/39 prevented the Rams from ever getting away from the Students, and at the conclusion of the 50 overs, they had posted 7/185.
With a strong batting line-up, the Students were confident entering the run chase. Despite the early loss of Borgas, Emms (17) made a promising start, but wickets continued to fall. Iqbal, Hatzoglou and Croes all managed only single figures, and when Hutton was dismissed for 11, Uni were in deep trouble at 6/55. Ben Rolfs, who spent the Christmas break designing the classic GM Purist stickers for his refurbished bat, put it to good use. Combining deft touch with hard hitting and his trademark speed between the wickets, Rolfs gave Uni hope. Combining with MUCC’s friendly Canadian, Abdul Haseeb (30), the pair added 88 for the seventh wicket. When Rolfs was ultimately dismissed for 66, Uni still had a chance, but the final three wickets fell in relatively quick succession, as the Students were bowled out for 159.
A disappointing result, Uni will be sure to bounce back against Footscray next week.
MUCC 6/216 DEF. RINGWOOD 7/215
Full of confidence after a dominant first half of the season, the Third XI were out to continue their winning form, taking on second placed Ringwood at ‘The Rock.’
Boosted by the inclusions of Callum ‘Disco’ Dooley, Angus Molden and Mitch Domann, Uni sent the Rams in on a wicket that offered just enough in the overcast conditions. This being the case, the first wicket came courtesy of a run out, and as the potent quick bowling attack settled into their rhythm, runs were at a premium for the home side. Angus Molden bowled a hostile spell of fast bowling to claim two wickets, while Disco Dooley also managed 2 in his return to the park after a break prolonged by injury and festival attendance. Despite having Ringwood 5/70, the home side fought back, and managed some quick runs at the back end of the innings, eventually posting a respectable 7/215 from their 45 overs.
Despite the early loss of Roughsedge in his 100th Premier match, the Students were able to steady, thanks to contributions from Durrant (16) Domann (23) And Horn (17). That being said, the game was alive at 4/84, and called for a Uni batsman to put their stamp on the game. Thankfully, it was Jayden Zanoni, whose transition from F45 to Bodyfit Collingwood is starting to pay dividends. The classy left hander came in under pressure and was too good for the Rams, compiling a patient and disciplined 53* from 82 balls, anchoring the run chase. He was ably supported by Lachie Melican, who blasted a run-a-ball 38, to see the Students over the line, eventually passing Ringwood in the 40th over.
MUCC 6/195 DEF. BY RINGWOOD 5/199
Desperate for a win to kick off the new year, the Fourth XI returned to Princess Park to face Ringwood in their first match of 2020.
Bowling first in a match reduced to 40 overs, Uni struck early courtesy of left-arm sensation, Om Patel. Relatively consistent wickets through the innings kept the Students interested, as Laban Ditchburn, Dan McNab and Neshant Rao all joined Patel in the wicket-takers column. A swathe of missed chances in the field, however, allowed Ringwood to post an imposing 5/199 from their 40 overs, a daunting task for the young Students’ batting line-up.
Pleasingly, Uni were up for the fight. Patel continued his good work with the ball, opening the batting and blasting his first half-century for MUCC. He was supported with valuable contributions from MUCC’s favourite radio host, Raf Epstein (38) and Jon ‘Sox’n Stones will break my bones’ Stone (15). Needing a big finish to get the Students over the line from 6/166, Christian Van Der Merwe (21) did his upmost to secure a win, but ultimately the task proved just too big, as Uni fell 4 runs short at the close of the innings.
An impressive showing and still with lots of room for improvement, the Fourth XI can take a great deal of confidence from their start to the new year.