The time for spring cleaning might have come and gone, but after nabbing their first broom of the year in late February, the Students will be bringing autumn cleaning into Vogue. Close games across the XI’s, Uni managed to keep their season alive in some nerve jangling encounters over the weekend.
Playing at the Camberwell Sports Ground – just a hop skip and a jump from Jenny’s Hot Bread (an institution of the inner-east), Uni vice-captain and recidivist lunch forgetter, Fergus McKenna had something of a get out of jail free card just down Riversdale Road. That said, the cricket was hotter than anything Jenny could bake, so lunch might just have to wait…
Batting first on a wicket that promised to break up and make scoring difficult late in the day, it was instead Camberwell who made the fast start. The early wicket of Martignago gave Emms and McKenna the chance to bat together; a pair equally at ease at the wicket as strolling Collins St donning a 3-piece Burberry number. They added close to 50 for the second wicket before falling for 24 and 18 respectively. This started something of a flurry of wickets, as Uni struggled to build partnerships throughout the middle of the innings; crumbling to 6/95. Enter Simon Mackin. Fuelled by wasabi pea chips and boasting long levers, Simon had been eyeing off the short boundary since arriving at the ground, keen to park a kookaburra into one of the surrounding palm trees. Thankfully, this is exactly what he did. Blasting five sixes and a boundary, Mack raced to an invaluable 65 from just 73 balls. Combining with Liam Scammell (33) – whose ability to read and respond to the game situation down the order is second to none, the pair pushed Uni well beyond 150. Eventually reaching 9/198, Uni might have been a touch under par, but would enter the second innings with momentum thanks to the late innings revival.
Keen for early wickets, Mark Stafford stood the seam up and found the edge of Simon Hill’s bat almost immediately. Gratefully gobbled up by Scam in the cordon, Uni had the Pies 1/5. An impressive partnership from Camberwell saw them work their way into the chase, adding 85 for the second wicket. While Uni were not taking wickets, the runs weren’t coming particularly easily either, courtesy of steady bowling from the whole attack. It was that big Squid, however, who did break the game open, claiming another two wickets to finish with the excellent figures of 3/28. At 4/133, the game was right in the balance but some big hitting from the Camberwell lower order gave them the ascendancy, to the point where they needed six from the last over of the day. Liam “Da coldest” Scammell, went full ice man in the last over, executing to perfection and not giving Camberwell anything to get away. Forcing them to take undue risks between the wickets, Steven Reid completed a run out on the second last ball, before James McNeil did the same on the last ball, seeing Uni home by a single run.
Queue collective exhale, Uni keep their season alive by the barest of margins in a classic at McQueen Park. Kachow!
Mitch Domann was uncharacteristically perturbed on Saturday morning. The Second XI’s chief weather correspondent, he was dismayed to have been let down by the Bureau who assured him there would be no rain on Saturday morning. “Someone is packing up the desk this morning” he declared as rain threatened to interrupt the early part of Uni’s bowling effort.
Drizzle notwithstanding, Lucien Bienvenu got the ball to swing through the air and hold off the wicket; claiming the first two wickets with catches in front of the wicket. While Uni held the early ascendancy, some sloppy work leading into the first drinks break let Camberwell off the hook slightly. Jeremy Peacock was superb throughout the middle; the all-rounder is having quite the debut season as a MUCCer – claiming three wickets with his disciplined stump to stump style. He combined with Doug Warren, who, when he wasn’t wearing his cap backwards, wasn’t wearing it at all as he bowled an exceptional 10 over spell for just 21 runs. Not letting Camberwell launch, Uni even managed to bowl 3 maidens in the last ten overs of the innings, as Lucien came back to bowl a wonderful second spell; executing to perfection, he picked up a further three wickets to complete a maiden MUCC 5-wicket haul. Player of the Week, it was a superb effort, as Luc broke the game apart and gave Uni the edge, great work!
Chasing 172, Borgas was keen to get things moving quickly. Playing characteristic cover drives and cuts, he raced to 14, before Uni lost both openers to be in some trouble at 2/19. Yousaf Iqbal and Andrew Young combined to try and build some momentum. Not finding fluency, the pair fought hard on a wicket that still offered enough to the bowlers. Adding 53 for the third wicket, Uni again lost three wickets quickly to be in trouble at 5/92. Hutton (16) fought hard, but the Students needed a significant lower order partnership to see them home. Peacock once again combined with James Horn (Hapēto ambassador and
towel shirt circuit enthusiast) to give the Students a chance. Batting with requisite intent, the pair found gaps and ran hard, pressuring the Camberwell bowlers and fielders. Horn managed to find the boundary thrice, while Jezza simply chose to clear it, as they added 54, getting Uni to within 10 of victory. A slight stumble, but Lucien Bienvenu blasted the winning runs in the 49th over, to complete an outstanding personal day, and securing a valuable 5 points for the Second XI.
Deceptively green, the wicket at Watson Park was a true and fast-paced surface on which the Students happily batted first after losing the toss. As ever, Jayden Kennedy (19) got Uni off to a fast start, but it was Player to Watch; Raf Epstein who really took full toll. Anchoring the innings batting at three, Epstein played a typically effective innings, working the ball to incongruous places on his way to 69. Combining with Rolfs (complete with beaucoup de strapping on his finger) and Sam Skinner (37) Raf was able to help push Uni above 200, the innings closing at 8/207.
Now there’s a reason that Om Patel won nearly all the awards at presentation night last year; it has something to do with the fact that he is very good at his craft. Refusing to swing it one way, Om prefers to make batsmen look silly, slipping it past the inside and outside edge of the bat at will. Claiming the first two wickets of the innings – including the dangerous Thewlis for just 9, Patel broke the game apart. On a day where all the Uni bowlers were steady, they never really gave the Pies a chance. Wickets to Anderson, Savill, Durrant and McNab helped complete a dominant bowling performance as the Students rock and rolled Camberwell for just 168 in 38 overs. A win with a bonus point, it has come at just the right time for the Third XI, who needed a change in fortune to make a run at finals.
Jonny ‘Stones and I’ Stone took on the role as skipper for the Fourth XI on the weekend, hoping for something like the smash hit, “Jonny Run Away (with the 5 points).” He might have lost the toss, but Uni were happy to bat first at PP3.
Shenan ‘sharp angle’ Dias was steady at the top of the order, crafting his way to 32, while none of the other top four were able to reach double figures. Papa Keely, batting at five helped stabilise the innings, making a steady 38 to anchor things for the Students. Batting certainly wasn’t easy, and Akon Mawien (15) was the only other MUCCer to reach double figures, as the Students were eventually bnundled out for 152.
Needing a strong start with the ball, there was only one man to turn to; Pebbles threw the ball to the coach (a wise move, as Keely sits on selection) and Antony responded in kind, with 9 overs of tight off-breaks. It was through the middle of the innings, however, where Uni got right on top. Talati and Panjwani both snared two wickets, but it was SOP (son of president) Ned Bennett, who truly bowled the Students to victory. A mature and skilful spell of leg-spin, Ned had the enviable figures of 2/11 from 9 overs. This continues SOP’s good run of form, and there’s no better way to do it than in front of the coach…
An important win for the Fourth XI, hopefully it will give them some confidence moving into the latter half of the season.