Again, rain was forecast for the weekend, but not a single drop did fall. Buckets has been on the warpath for years and he’s now got a bit of a following; does any other job come with a greater profile and less responsibility?
Back to Casey Fields on the weekend, stocks in Transurban would have been a smart investment for the Students. Instead, a few unnamed members of the squad choose to have an auto-purchase of Bitcoin every Saturday…
Once again McKenna sought to disprove that a toss of a coin is 50/50, losing the flip and fielding first. Not to worry, Thumper Hatzoglou took the new ball and got it working for him straight away, a wicket up the top to get the Students away. At the other end, Simon Mackin – spurred on by the recent finding of his family’s prized ram – made the ball talk to claim two top order wickets.
A steadying presence at one end for the Swans kept the scoreboard ticking, but regular enough wickets from Hatzoglou (3), Mackin (3) and Warren and Prakash (1 apiece) kept Uni in touch. Fuzzy (0/29) was miserly from his ten, but not as miserly as he was with World Cup Final ticket requests; knocking them back with ruthless ferocity. Restricting the Swans to 9/207 in favourable batting conditions, the Students had the upper-hand at the change.
If good things normally come in threes, it was opposite day (how’s that for a throwback) at the Duck Pond on the weekend, as Uni lost three early wickets to find themselves in strife at 3/27. A stabilising partnership between Yaksender (34) and Max Hatz (20) provided some momentum, but every Student who got in, found a way to get out. A rapid flurry of wickets left the lower-order too much to do, Uni ultimately bowled out for just 124. A disappointing result, the Students will be out to get things back on track against the Lions next week.
For the first time in 22/23, Emms asked Ryan – tongue firmly in cheek – if the roller had run out of juice during the week. His tongue might as well have poked through his cheek, because the groundsman had produced a belter for the Main’s second match of the season.
That said, Squid and TJ got every ounce of life from the surface in the first hour, tearing apart the Swans’ top order. Stafford – who was on an R&D mission – bowled a heap of in-swing to cut the batters in half (2/16), while Slater and Gordon Walker (2/6) nipped the ball beautifully from a length to find both the edge and the pad.
An aside: Few things evoke a feeling of safety quite like Mark Stafford making a wide turn at the top of his mark to begin his run up. Even more so when it’s from the City end at the Main right as the Ormond bells ring 11 O’Clock…
Thereafter, captain Peacock ruled with an iron fist to have (rightly) three slips and a gully in the 26th over, as he, JB and Wagon all picked up a wicket. UV Rays Singh nabbed two to close out the innings, the Students utterly comprehensive as they rolled the Swans for just 116.
“Bake, my precious, bake.” – Emms and Lucien Bienvenu to the wicket at the lunch break as the sun poked through.
And didn’t it just. A flat batting paradise was the scene for a mostly simple chase. Even contributions from Bienvenu (26), Barnes (21) and Young (23) were enough to get most of the way before Peacock (naturally) struck the winning runs to secure victory with a bonus point.
The Second XI are back. A Bowie, a song and a party mix.
Last year, one certain MUCC supporter (again, usually clad in a rugby jumper and found under a tree) asked me why Hugo was running the S&C program. I simply replied that Huggsy’s own physical condition was reason enough to run any fitness program in the country; his pipes made for the purpose of hitting sixes, but more on that later…
Batting first, Ale Durrant was impressive up the top, making 24 while the wicket offered enough for the bowlers. A couple of quick wickets gave the Swans some hope, but coming in at number 4, Hugo was quick to hit that hope – and anything else foolishly put on a length – most of the way back to Melbourne. In a ruthless display of hitting, Bienvenu said au-revoir to the Swans’ best offerings, blasting an astonishing 7 sixes and 7 boundaries on his way to a maiden MUCC hundred. Ultimately finishing on 113, Huggsy Bear brought it up with a stunning lofted drive; his destructive performance enough to warrant a burger, an HSP and a whiskey after play.
For large parts, Hugs was joined by Nick Ritchie in the middle. With hands faster than Kermit at a typewriter, Ricko whipped, worked and whallopped the ball to all parts of the South-East, on his way to 75 from just 72 balls. A serious knock, it hauled Uni to 5/261 from their 45 overs.
In the second innings, the Swans were – to put it mildly – uninspiring. Never really getting after it in the chase, Uni’s bowlers were disciplined and patient, the victory assured from the early stages. Though the Wizard got one wicket early, the majority of the damage was done by Kevin. Having crafted his off-breaks with a new pink ball for most of the English summer, KD got it to drift, drop and spin as he claimed 4/30. So remarkable was his performance, Kev even managed a tenth over, one more than restrictions permit for a mere mortal. Nice one, Ale.
Dominant from the first, the Third XI won by 98 runs. Two bonus point victories to kick of the year, the Third XI are doing Third XI things…
Einstein might have called compound interest the 8th wonder of the world. Clearly Albert didn’t see PP3 get up after being left uncovered on Thursday night. In any case, it allowed the Fourth XI run-fest to continue on Saturday, as the skipper and his merry men put the Swans to the sword.
Although some early wickets saw Casey with the early momentum, Shenan absorbed the pressure, and was quick to counter; the young skipper showing maturity and skill beyond his years to anchor the innings. Cracking seven boundaries in a knock spanning almost three hours, Shen made an invaluable 90 to lead Uni beyond 200. Ably supported By Harrison Preiss (46) and the fast-scoring Lowerite Hayden Lim (38 off 24), the Students posted an imposing 6/235.
A steady bowling display was matched by a mostly resolute effort from Casey. Harms (0/10) was steady at the top but steady partnerships kept Casey in touch. Regular enough wickets, shared one apiece by Talati, Sheahan, Uhr-Henry and Talati, combined with two run-outs, would be enough for the Students. At the close, the Swans managed just 6/189, only narrowly preventing a bonus point for Uni.
The train rolls on. A double-header Sunday was the perfect chance for the Students to put their stamp on the competition; a strong start quickly turning into a dominant season for the MUCC Women’s XI.
In their first match of the day, Uni restricted Skye to just 4/65 from their 20 overs. Disciplined bowling and two run-outs did the business, Lopez the stand-out; going at just 2 runs per over and also claiming a wicket.
Once again, Uni’s top-order was impenetrable, losing just one wicket in the chase as Lopez (20) and Herman (38*) got the job done in just ten overs.
The second match of the day was something of a carbon copy for the Students, as Uni owned the South-East of Melbourne. Bowling first, Uni restricted Narre to just 5/65 from their allotted 20. This time it was Grant (2/9) and Aquilina (2/17) were the best of the bunch, leading the charge and keeping the total in check.
Again, only two wickets fell in the chase, as Aquillina (17*) completed a fine all-round performance to go with Herman (34) to secure victory.
A complete display, Uni remain in second place in a hotly-contested top-end of the ladder.