Points shared with the Pies, the Students claimed victories in the Second and Third XI’s on the weekend.
The First XI were surrounded on Saturday by some of the finest dining institutions of the inner-east; with Jenny’s Hot Bread to the West and Juventino to the East. That said, lunch was not given a second thought – the attention focused somewhere in the middle, as Pencil made his debut and the Students took on the Magpies at Lightning McQueen Park.
Following a series of haikus from Noah Croes, the Students bowled first on a *recently-relaid * wicket. Though Camberwell managed a fast start, Simon Mackin was quick to “reel them back in,” with back-to-back wickets. Starting something of a rot, JP also got in on the action; his ability to perform after Orientation Week not to be sneezed at. As the ball softened and the run-rate slowed, there was only one man for the task; Jeremy Peacock utterly commanding in just his second First XI match. Bowling an indomitable spell of 4/23 from his ten overs, Jezza always kept the stumps in play, hitting them twice as he helped to dismantle Camberwell’s middle order. Joined by Mark Stafford (1/43) and Doug Warren (1/37), Uni managed to restrict Camberwell to all out 159. With the ball already playing a range of iniquitous tricks, however, it was a total that would take some chasing from Uni.
Quickly in trouble at 2/5, the Polish resistance answered the call. Andrej Yaksender was determined to play from the front foot regardless of length – keeping his stumps safe when the ball rolled – and willing to wear them on the body when it reared. A courageous effort, Yak was even out there long enough to start “spasming,” calling play to a halt as his forearm took on a mind of its own. Whether it was simply cramp remains to be seen, but Drejdle walked off unbeaten with 52, as he held the innings together. Unfortunately, the wicket claimed most others as Uni were bowled out for 106 from 39 overs.
* A fun pick your own adjective exercise can be completed here to replace the author’s diplomatic word choice!
There was a relaxed and positive atmosphere at the Uni Main on Saturday, as Bettso played 150 and the Students looked to lock away a Finals berth. His word-per-minute count higher than usual after an extended period of isolation, TOG was thrilled to be back out there and in the words of his musical inspiration, was prepared to keep going “till he (sic.) collapsed.”
Bowling first, Gus Molden stuck early thanks to a zippy bumper to have the Pies 1/4, but a steadying partnership saw them wrestle their way back into the contest, adding 71 for the second wicket. Jamin Barron-Toop (whose name works wonderfully well as a spoonerism) bowled a terrific spell either side of drinks and was duly rewarded with an edge behind. Soon followed by Gus once again, the game was in the balance with Camberwell 3/99. Keen to remove the set batter, it came thanks to an outstanding run-out by Josh Hahnel as Uni went about owning the middle overs – thanks in large part to Bettsy’s spell of 2/46. “UV is strong” also picked up a wicket as Gus Molden returned to clean up the tail – finishing with the impressive tally of 4/64. Though wickets had fallen relatively consistently, Camberwell had scored steadily on a wonderful wicket; posting an impressive 234 from their 50 overs.
Queried at the innings break as to the shade of blue on his pads and the Emperor penguins on his socks, perhaps Josh Hahnel decided the best thing for him to do was to avoid further questioning from his teammates by spending the whole innings out in the middle.
In any case, he and Harrison Emms looked totally in control from the first, as they put the Pies to the sword. With styles that contrast nicely, they scored at will and made batting look enviably straightforward against the new ball. Racing past 50, they were still together at the first drinks break, when Emmsy showed the first signs of cracking.
“Where’s the water?!” he demanded.
“Ah, it’s in your hand mate,” Michael Forwood responded sheepishly, pointing to the bottle of water in the opener’s right mitt.
Unperturbed and suitably hydrated, the pair continued on their merry way – milking four to five an over as the field spread and the wicket flattened. Both raising their bats for 50, they shared an outstanding 133-run opening stand before Emmsy was dismissed for a classy 66. Platform set, Hahnel was immovable at the other end. With fast hands and a bat face that’s more open than the jar of peanut butter on Ted Lasso’s counter, he kept finding space in the off-side and ran a great many twos as he edged closer to a maiden MUCC hundred. Target in sight and ACDC blasting from Trinity College, Josh dropped and ran his way through the 90’s, his hundredth run as well-judged as his first – and that’s saying something for a bloke who was involved in all 577 balls of the day’s play.
An outstanding effort, Hahnel was joined by Borgy for the last 15 runs of the chase – the skipper blasting 14 before ensuring the centurion could hit the winning run. A dominant display, Uni chased down the total with four overs to spare.
Fair to say the navy pads and penguins are here to stay.
Lucien Bienvenu could hardly believe the stunning real-estate that surrounded Watson Park on Saturday morning; he is now determined to find his forever home in the inner-east.
That said, auctions would have to wait, as Uni batted first and found themselves in a spot of bother first thing. Reeling at 3/7, Hugo Bienvenu and Ali Khan came together to steady the ship – and pepper the neighbouring playground – as the hard-hitting pair added 52 for the fourth wicket. Khan (26) was dismissed by the spinner, while Bienvenu’s hand (42), helped push Uni towards 100. As the innings drew to a close, Wizard Patel in his Kolkata Knight Rider gloves added an invaluable 22, partnering with Tom Savill (15) to get the Students to 144 before the final wicket fell.
It was that man Savill who continued on his merry way with the ball, slinging down thunderbolts and nabbing the first two wickets to have Camberwell 2/9. From there, it was largely a spinners’ procession, as John McLaughlan (fuelled by an Alimentari B.E.S.T) was nigh on impossible to play as he claimed 3/12 from 9 overs. Joined by McNab (2/14) and Durrant (1/13), Uni continued a steady stream of wickets to take total control of the match; eventually bowling Camberwell out for just 107. Incredibly claiming a bonus point, it was an invaluable result for the Students.
A tough day for the young Students, it was not without individual highlights as they went down the Pies at Princes Park.
Batting first, Uni lost a steady flow of wickets from the first. Pleasingly, Raf Epstein was resolute at one end for 22. The only player in the top six to reach double figures, Uni left themselves a great deal of work to do, but Rithin Rakes was up to the task, recording an invaluable 37 down the order. Joined by Ed Savill (12), Uni managed to reach three figures before they were bowled out for an even hundred.
Not without hope with the ball, the Students took two quick wickets thanks to Pedley and Talati. That man Pedley broke through for his second shortly after, but a pair of steadying partnerships from Camberwell were enough to see them home despite late wickets to Uhr-Henry and Perera.
FIFTH XI – BY HAMISH CONNOR
MUCC 5th XI Match report 27/02/2022
On an overcast day at PP3, the 5s were determined to record their first win of the season and what better a way to do it than up against the second placed Old Melbourne High. Despite our opponents winning the toss and deciding to bat first, the bowling group was more than happy to take the new rock in swinging conditions. As he has done so often this season for the 5s, Om Patel had the batsmen scratching their heads early owning the unplayable channel outside the off stump. Backing up from the other end, Hamish Connor was able to make the first breakthrough aided by a good catch by Gov Kesar. It wasn’t long before the Wizard had his first wicket though delivering a beauty in the “hallway of hesitation” to find the edge straight into the safe hands of Nouman Mirza. Lloyd Skinner was the next bowler to get in on the action picking up right where the Wiz left off. Channelling a bit of frustration after a dropped catch off his bowling, Lloydy produced an amazing spell of line and length bowling twice finding the edge for two wickets. Rithik Rakesh and Henro Dias also contributed strongly to the bowling innings both snagging wickets after being rewarded for similarly disciplined bowling. Adam Pustola brought himself on and was very close to a wicket himself but created so much pressure from his end that it made for easy pickings for Ritik and Henro at the other. Hamish Connor returned for another wicket late in the innings with Mujaba Shazad making an incredibly difficult outfield catch look like a training drill.
With Old Melbourne High setting Uni 201 to win, the students held no fears about the run chase, confident they could mount a successful pursuit. Henro Dias and Toby Rawlings started sturdily seeing off the opening bowlers all while keeping the scoring ticking along at the required rate. When Henro was removed, the Wizard came out and played a great supporting role, making sure to keep the in-form Toby Rawlings on strike as much as possible all while compiling a well-made 40 himself. In what was a superbly constructed century by the Englishman, Tobes played the reverse sweep better than anyone with Melbourne High having to put extra fielders backward of point to try and limit his scoring zone. With Tobes run out for 108 trying to push the run rate up, Shenan Dias and Nouman found themselves out at the middle in the dying stages. The two hit gaps and ran like the wind, well and truly keeping the students in it. The equation would end up lying at 10 needed off the last 6, as had been the case with Shen and Nouman, a couple of twos and singles left Uni needing two to win off the last ball or at least one to tie. Unfortunately, the pair couldn’t quite race through for the single narrowly run out. Although a loss by one run was heart wrenching, we all held our heads high, proud in the fight we had showed and our ability to stay in the contest right to the very end. A performance we will certainly take into the off season as we prepare to go again next summer.
I’d like to thank Adam Pustola for a great season, there truly isn’t a better captain to be leading us out onto the ground every week and someone we all feel privileged to call our captain, our teammate, and our friend.