With just two rounds to go until Christmas, the Students have received an early present. Twenty-one-year-old Janak Prakash has arrived from Singapore, and with 15 games of international experience under his belt, the all-rounder will provide a further boost to a thriving First XI.
Set to wear First XI cap #974, Janak Prakash will make his First XI debut against Fitzroy-Doncaster on the weekend. JP, who does have a profile on ESPN Cricinfo (fan-boy moment, Rolfsy?), has played 15 T20’s for Singapore as a dominant all-rounder. He has serious pace with the ball and unrivalled power down the order – meaning Shoppingtown will not be safe should Prakash get in a groove on Saturday.
Audit season complete (Is it? I did Arts), Alex Gregory also returns to the side this week. Back in for the first time since Round 1, Gregs was on fire last time he strode to the middle and will be looking to replicate that effort on the weekend. Reliable sources also confirm that a few of the boys have been practicing their support for Alex; “GregooOOoOoo!”
Currently three from three with a bonus point, a victory on the weekend would top off a fine first month for the Students.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Nick ‘Beefy’ Burke
The first XI going strong at the moment, their continued good form relies on even contributions across the board; including from the Chief Hydration Officer. A home game for Beefy on the weekend, look for him to thrive in familiar conditions and lead the boys to victory – both in the warm up game and on the field.
Back at the Main where Ryan has been rolling out wickets he proudly describes as “pistachio green,” the Second XI will be boosted by some strong inclusions.
Josh Hahnel – who is currently choreographing the primary school Christmas production – is full of festive cheer as he returns to the side alongside James Bett and Angus Molden. Three serious players, they will be joined, for the first time, by Harrison Barnes. Pencil, whose form in the Third XI has been irresistible, makes his Second XI debut as a Student at the Main on Saturday.
It has been a big week for captain Isaiah Borgas, too. After his century against Greenvale, Borg enjoyed watching great mate Travis Head blast a fine Ashes century yesterday, before racing – in leaps and bounds – to see Paul Kelly perform at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl.
“I’m high on the hill, looking over the bridge to the Uuuunnniii Main”
PLAYER TO WATCH: Doug Warren
Haircut complete for the first time since he left Trinity, Doug has received mixed feedback during the week. Whatever your thoughts may be, one thing is inarguable; Doug feels dangerous. This is also the most important thing, because when he feels dangerous, he tends to bowl rather well. Look for Doug’s quick left-arm spinners to wreak havoc for the Lions on Saturday.
Home to the smallest change room – not only in Premier Cricket but possibly in Australia – Schramms Reserve #2 will play host to the Third XI on the weekend.
It will be a strong side that clambers into that room, too, as the Third XI welcome Elliott Durrant, Tom Walker, James Browning and Om Patel to the line-up.
Incredibly exciting to have JB back bowling, our fearsome left-armer has spent the week (and then some) writing a thesis on fast bowling – and will now get to put it into practice. Queue James Bett: “University club!”
The learning curve will be steep and full of terrors for the Lions’ top order, as Tom Walker also returns for the Students. Recently graduated and with Schoolies under his belt, TJ can finally let loose with the new ball and what an exciting prospect that is.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Michael Forwood
Bricks has made an impressive start to the season, with some commanding innings in the middle order. With an unorthodox style, there is reason to believe he’s got some Yak about him (the praise comes no higher), and his slightly upturned bucket hat and strong Lowery foundation suggests he is set to go from strength to strength.
On the board last week with a commanding victory, the Fourth XI welcome back skipper Ed Savill as they look to make it two in a row against the Lions.
Savill, an Englishman who has put 100 pounds on his nation to lose the Ashes 5-0, will surely have greater faith in his Melbourne Uni side on the weekend; a youthful and exciting XI.
Raf Epstein, Will Keeble, Harrison Preiss and the Stock Pot are all in, meaning the batting and new ball bowling are all well under control. To that end, Yas Muntasir was talking lofted straight drives with Hugo during the week, so there is reason to believe the steady opening batter could take his game to new heights on Saturday!
PLAYER TO WATCH: Shenan Dias
Always the first to arrive at training in his pimped-up Mitsubishi, Shenan is one of the most dedicated trainers at the club. One of few MUCCers who can pick the swing of Om Patel, look for the top order bat to cash in on the weekend if he gets set on a flat Princes Park wicket.