After standout individual performances in every grade, Uni have put themselves in a dominant position and with a good look at the first ‘broom’ of the season, after day one against Kingston Hawthorn.
SPORK TAKES 5 HAWKS
Off-spinner James Bett, also known as Spork, was the stand-out performer for the First XI on Saturday, as Uni battled away in the field on a particularly batsman friendly Walter Galt wicket.
Having lost the toss and finding themselves in the field, opening bowlers Steve Reid and Mark Stafford were diligent up front, and after Stafford took the first, Reid claimed two in two balls to have Kingston reeling at 3/39. From this point on, the Hawks settled in on a flat pitch, and Uni managed only one wicket in the second session. After tea, however, with two set batsmen, Kingston failed to take advantage of their platform, as spin duo James Bett and Ben Rolfs went to work. Bett (5/45) bolwed for the entire last session, and ensured Uni restricted their opposition. Credit to all the bowlers on what was a long day; at the close of play, Kingston were all out for 292, meaning the Students will need to bat well, but are a good chance to take the points next week.
With coach Keely taking the reins as skipper this week, the Second XI had the perfect day of red-ball cricket on Saturday.
Bowling first at the Uni Main, the Students took the first wicket when the Hawks had only 7 on the board, and never looked back. Abdul Haseeb (7/26) was sublime in his return to the Second XI. Such was his dominance, that Uni had 7 fielders behind the wicket at one stage. A fantastic achievement, Abdul’s performance went a long way to giving Uni the upper hand in this one, and secured him the mantle of TRP Player of the Week. ‘Bruce’ combined with Jacob Stevenson (1/24) and Peter Hatzoglou (2/11) to bowl out Kingston for just 105.
With plenty of time left in the day, Uni went about claiming first innings points. Isaiah Borgas and Ben Roughsedge made a promising start to the chase before Roughsedge was dismissed for 20. Iqbal (21) and Max Hatzoglou (33) chipped in with handy cameos, but the real show was at the other end, where Borgas dictated terms. Making Kingston’s bowlers look second rate, Borgy crunched 14 boundaries on his way to 101, as Uni declared at 7/202 from only 43 overs.
Still with 13 overs left in the day, Uni managed to claim 1 wicket in the evening, meaning the Hawks are still 70 runs in arears, as the Second XI will enter week 2 as hot favourites to claim 10 points.
In a jam-packed day of cricket, the Third XI managed to claw their way out of trouble, and finish week one in a strong position.
Batting first, Uni found themselves 4/22 early in the piece, after the top order struggled and a batting collapse loomed. Thankfully, the middle order held firm, as Nick Ritchie (33) and hard-hitting Jayden Kennedy (21) combined for an almost 50-run partnership. When they both fell, along with John McLaughlan, things were looking precarious at 7/72. Enter the world’s nicest man, Sam Skinner. The ambidextrous ultra-marathon runner turned innings saviour, as he clubbed 75, coming in at number 8. He combined with Savill (30), Jacob Kooran (32) and Kendrick Hatton (33) to help push Uni beyond 200. Having scored at almost a run a ball all day, the Third XI were ultimately bowled out for 238 from only 41 overs.
Still with 39 overs left in the day, Uni’s bowlers put in a solid shift in the afternoon session, managing three wickets. McLaughlan was the standout in his return to Premier cricket, taking 2/8 from 11 overs. The score finished with Kingston 3/69, and a tantalising contest awaits next week.
In a completely dominant display of cricket, the Fourth XI owned the first day of their clash with Kingston on Saturday, as a young pup and seasoned campaigner combined for a match defining partnership.
Batting first at Princes Park, MUCC Comms. Favourite, ‘Run Machine’ Raf Epstein cruised to 47, and Geelong Grammar product, Henry Alexander, managed 28 at better than a-run-a-ball. The loss of a couple of quick wickets, however, saw the Students 5/97, and the innings could have gone either way. From this point on, however, Uni grabbed and held onto the ascendancy. Jonny ‘Pebbles’ Stone and Anthony McQuire combined for a 172-run stand. Balancing experience and youthful exuberance, the pair batted the Hawks into submission. Jonny Stone (103) managed his first century at any level of cricket, while McQuire, who was on one leg for most of his innings, ultimately fell 9 runs short of a maiden MUCC hundred. Having amassed 283, captain, Laban Ditchburn declared the innings closed, giving the Students the chance to have a bowl in the evening.
Lachie Melican proved to be too quick for a couple of Hawks, managing 2 wickets, and Ollie De Stefanis, in his first match for the Club, claimed his first wicket, to have Kingston in trouble at 3/39 at the close of play. The Fourth XI will enter the second week as favourites to claim their first win of the year.