ROUND 7 PREVIEWS
According to Numerology Nation, the number 19 “signifies a shift from the old to the new, think fresh starts.” It could hardly be more apt, as 19 Students are in isolation for their Round 7 clash with the Heat; meaning a wealth of opportunity and some exciting debutants across the grades.
Before any cricket is played, however, it is crucial to recognise the power of work that has gone into ensuring the Students can get on the park at all. Head coach, Daniel Hutton, along with Keels, DB, the captains and the COVID committee have been endlessly flexible to deal with the constant COVID selection head scratcher (soon to be announced an official symptom of the SARS-CoV-2). Thanks for everything – you guys are all awesome.
Playing for the Barnes/ Barron-Toop Cup for the first time, neither Pencil nor double barrel will take the field. Absence notwithstanding, the Students are ready to go from Parkville to past Patterson Lakes…
A pair of debutants and a new skipper, the First XI will be at the Main – in the shadow of the new Melbourne University Beer Garden – as they take on the Heat.
Nick Ritchie and Om Patel are both in for their first matches in the First XI. Patel, dubbed ‘Wizard’ for his magical skillset, has enjoyed a meteoric rise through the grades over the last twelve months, as his game has gone from strength to strength. Moreover, on Saturday he will complete the storied debut/ “double-bump” combination, and we can’t wait to watch him swing the ball both ways at will. Yes, he can even swing a cool mint!
For Ritcho, his debut comes as just reward after an injury-ravaged start to his Premier cricket career. Though he has missed a great deal of cricket, his debut tomorrow is a testament to his continued positivity and resilience. Unquestionably one of the most talented young players at the club (and the man with MUCC’s highest Snapchat score), it’s great to see him get his opportunity and he will provide some real style to the middle order on the weekend.
Club coach Daniel Hutton will also take the reins as skipper tomorrow. One of the best cricket brains in the business and having navigated myriad challenges already this week, D-Bot-Tino will have a hard-earned thirst come close of play tomorrow. “You can get it picking the teams, you can get it leaving a ball that nipped off the seam… As a matter of fact, Diesel’s got it now!”
Alex Gregory and James Horn also return to the side this weekend. Horny, who turned 22 during the week, will be keen to celebrate with a strong performance on the weekend, and with some of the safest hands in the game, no edge will be safe.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Mitch ‘Buckets’ Domann
BUCKETS – A HAIKU
The man who’s got big buckets,
He has overcome Omicron and Noah Croes wrote him a haiku. The stars are aligned for Buckets, who will return to the top of the order tomorrow. Moreover, he trusts his teammates enough to take them to the Green Olive; now that’s a team player.
“I will if you will.”
Great friends and great MUCCers, Antony Keely and Jarrod Martignago return to the field this weekend, as they take the captain’s armband and the wicket-keeper’s gloves respectively in the Second XI. Arguably the greatest comeback since John Farnham, Jazz could hardly be more excited – a Saturday at the cricket? That’s Freedom.
Also back in MUCC colours for the first time since the famed Second XI Premiership of 2018/19 (It was 2/84…), Dr Daniel Van der Merwe answered the pager and will take the new ball on Saturday.
Additionally, a quartet of Students will make their Second XI debuts on the weekend. Jimmy Anderson has been consistent in the first half of the season and will be joined by Yuvraj “UV rays” Singh – whose all-round ability will surely trouble the heat. Moreover, Harry Sheahan – another Academy product – will offer an exciting option with his left-arm swingers, and Michael Forwood’s rapid ascent continues; and the smart money says that his good form will, too.
Tom Walker, Ali Khan and Dan McNab all also return to the Second XI, McNab’s recent COVID clearance sure to mean the blonde bombshell is champing at the bit to impart hitherto unseen amounts of revolutions on the ball.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Ali Khan
A star on the rise, Ali Khan is back in the team and could be straight back in business. A proud M9 Cricket ambassador, Ali has his name engraved on his bat, and he is every chance to be saluting the crowd with it tomorrow. We’ll just have to wait and see whether he completes the celebration with “the silencer.”
Youth is the name of the game at Princes Park tomorrow, as the Third XI look to continue their ascent up the ladder against first-placed Frankston.
Ram Nayak returns to the fray after an injury-riddled first portion of the year, and he will be joined by fellow fast bowler, Hamish “Bandanna Buddy” Connor – in for his Third XI debut. A proud Melbourne Grammar product, HC will continue straight to Trinity College at the commencement of semester, following in the footsteps of James Bett.
Samarth Goel, Hashim Ali, Paarth Verma and Yaseen Muntasir are all also in for their first matches at the level. Products of the Academy and the U17 side, the future is bright, and it is wonderful that the boys can have a crack at Third grade on Saturday.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Harrison Preiss
Graduated and with time to burn, HP couldn’t wait for cricket to return after a protracted Christmas break. The talented left-hander has made an impressive start to his Premier cricket career and could well go to the next level this half of the season. Saturday could be the start of it for the Trinity Grammar product.