Mark Stafford bagged a congregation of Saints and puts Uni on top; his inspired performance of 8/53 the best First XI figures ever recorded at the Uni Main.
Winning the toss and electing to bowl in overcast conditions, captain Fergus McKenna was looking to his bowling line-up to vindicate his decision, and Mark Stafford was all too happy to oblige. Getting the ball to seam and swing in the first session, Squid struck in his third over, and didn’t look back. Alternating between hitting pads, edges and stumps, the big quick ran through the top order, and when he trapped Meddings (0) in front for a first baller, he raised the ball for his eighth 5-wicket-haul, and fourth in the First XI.
Going to lunch with the Saints 5/59, Uni were well on top, and despite the improved batting conditions after the break, the Students never let up. An hour of disciplined and patient bowling from Fawad Ahmed and Steve Reid was ultimately rewarded just before the drinks break, as Ahmed bowled De Iacovo for 24. Gregory also bowled well claiming a wicket late in the piece, but it was Stafford who could not be tamed. Even in the batting-friendly conditions of the early afternoon, the Saints were found wanting against the opening bowler. When he clean bowled Adam Crosthwaite (80) just after the tea break, St. Kilda were all out for 157, and he led the team off the field, complete with his best ever bowling figures. Well played, Mark.
Still with 26 overs left in the day, Uni had the chance to knock off a good portion of the chase and really assert their dominance on the day. After the early loss of McKenna (2), Uni steadied, as Harrison Emms and Andrew Young combined for an important partnership. Emms drove the ball beautifully of both the front and back foot, before he was caught behind late in the day for 27. Young (46*) and Yaksender (6*) navigated to the end of play, and Uni finished 2/83, and will be confident they can take the points next Saturday.
Borgas feasts on Trott Brûlée; the opening batsman caught fire on a wicket that had been alight only hours earlier on his way to another Second XI hundred.
After covers had been dislodged on Friday night, exposing the Harry Trott wicket to 12mm of rain, the surface was unplayable, and play was set to be abandoned, until the curator set it on fire. After it had burned for an hour, Mark Simpson won the toss and naturally chose to bat first.
Isaiah Borgas and Max Hatzoglou were quick to get things going for the Students, racing to 57, before Hatzoglou (21) was caught. Croes (7) and Rolfs (12) also fell at one end, but Borgas was going nowhere. The experienced batsman put the Saints to the sword as he crunched the ball to all parts, as he brought up his second consecutive hundred, going at almost a run-a-ball. Joined by Daniel Hutton at the other end, the pair put on an unbeaten 163 for the fourth wicket, as Hutton brought up his 50, and reaching 4000 runs for MUCC in the process. Closing out the day at 3/263 (Borgas 156*, Hutton 54*), Uni put in a dominant display of cricket, and with 112 over to be bowled next weekend, will be confident there is enough time left in the match for them to claim a victory.
On a relatively balanced day of cricket, Uni have their noses just in front in this one, after half centuries to Ben Roughsedge and Nick Ritchie.
Winning the toss and batting on a greenish wicket at Princes Park, things looked a touch shaky after Elliott Durrant (0) went early. Ben Roughsedge, having played the season in the Second XI to this point of the season was impressive at one end, anchoring the innings for most of the first session. Calmly and patiently making his way to 66 before being strangled down the leg-side. Valuable contributions from Bienvenu (33), Zanoni (35) and Kennedy (24) helped keep the scoreboard ticking, but some hard-hitting from Nick Ritchie after the tea break helped edge Uni ahead in the contest. The 17-year-old took to the St. Kilda bowling attack, as he blasted 53- his second half century for the year.
Ultimately bowled out for an impressive 250 from 79 overs, the Students will need to bowl well next week, but with a strong attack, can also be confident of taking the points.
On a tough day for the Fourth XI, the Saints have already claimed first innings points.
Batting first, Uni found themselves in trouble early at 3/19, before the middle order showed some resistance. Jonny Stone (22) top scored again, but the batting line-up as a whole were unable to form partnerships of real substance, allowing wickets to fall at regular intervals. Gall (16) Patel and Bennet (19 respectively) tried to haul the total up to something defendable, but the Students were ultimately bowled out for 115 inside 45 overs.
With the ball, the Students struggled to contain the Saints’ scoring rate, and despite claiming 4 wickets, St. Kilda managed to pass the total, and finished the day’s play at 4/187. Ned Bennett was the standout with the ball, managing 2/52, while Neshant Rao and Laban Ditchburn claimed one wicket apiece.
T20 SUPER SLAM:
The Students will take on Geelong tomorrow (Tuesday 3/12) afternoon at the Uni Main in Round 5 of the Vic Super Slam. The match shapes as a must win contest for the Students, who only have 1 win from 3 matches at the moment.
Peter Hatzoglou looms as the player to watch in the Slam this week. The quick leg-spinner with an even quicker mouth has been particularly impressive in the short form this year, and will be sure to entertain both on and off the field.
Be sure to get down to the Uni Main tomorrow afternoon from 5:15 to catch all the action!
TEAM:Gregory (c), Young, Scammell, Iqbal, Croes+, McKenna, Yaksender, Haseeb, Ahmed, Hatzoglou, P, Rolfs