A dominant display from the Students in Round 5 saw Uni take the points in three of the top four grades, as Andrej Yaksender once again showed the way with willow in hand.
A heavy heat and uncharacteristically still conditions greeted the Students at Greenvale Reserve on Saturday. Resident meteorologist Jarrod Martignago could only put this down to the number of grounded flights at nearby Melbourne Airport – but this is yet to be confirmed. Batting first, Jaz ensured there was no such problem out in the middle, as he cleared for take-off and sent the second ball of the innings for six, and getting Uni off to a flyer. Combining with Noah Croes at the top of the order for the first time, the pair of wicket-keepers made the most of the power play to give the Students the early ascendency. After the dismissal of Jaz and Mitch Domann, it was up to Croes and Yaksender to ensure Uni capitalised on their good start…
Combining for a mega third-wicket partnership of 150, it’s fair to say it was “mischief managed” out in the middle, when Croes (72) was finally dismissed. Yaksender, who had scratched around for his first fifteen, drew the Kangaroos into the ‘Yak Vortex’ (for those who don’t know, it’s where opposition teams feel like they are going to get Andrej out every ball, only for him to somehow be 40 off 40 balls, the rest is generally academic…). So, ceritis paribus, Yak took to blasting balls through and over cover, manipulating and frustrating the Roos in equal measure. His ability to move the game forward is second to none, and he eventually brought up his tenth (!) MUCC hundred in the 42nd over. A dynamic innings that gave the Students an incredible platform, we simply love watching Yak as he keeps churning out bulk runs.
With the platform set, opposition teams have their work cut out for them when two of the fastest scorers in Premier Cricket – James McNeil and Liam Scammell walk out to make the most of the last ten overs. Both striking at well over 100, Albury’s most famous duo combined for 7 boundaries and a six in their scores of 27 and 38* respectively. When the innings closed at 7/292, Uni could be confident they had made the most of the chance to bat first.
Papa Dos, whose house at the back of the 7th green at Mandaly is only a well-struck 6 iron away, thought he’d better hit some stumps early in the piece, so that’s what he did and Greenvale were 1/11. As the wicket continued to flatten out, the Kangaroos established some frustrating partnerships, but disciplined bowling and plans saw them short of the rate from the outset. In his return match, Simon Mackin didn’t take long to get into the action, claiming two wickets in quick succession to suck the momentum out of the chase. Mitch Domann claimed a wicket in his First XI debut and James Bett also claimed a wicket in his economical spell.
Always feeling in front of the game, Greenvale ended up 30 runs short at the close of the innings, and the Students will happily take four points back to the Main for the first time in 2021.
Boasting a range of debutants, the Second XI were bowling first at the Uni Main as they looked to grab a second win on the bounce.
After Greenvale made a steady start with the bat, Akon decided enough was enough as he clattered through for two wickets in quick succession to have Greenvale 2/37. New ball partner, James Browning was also particularly impressive, despite not gaining the rewards in the wickets column this week. As is often the case in 50-over cricket, the game was evenly poised after the first 20 overs; thankfully Uni’s Second XI spinners are simply the best going around, so with 20 overs to come from John Mclaughlan and Doug Warren, it was always going to be a challenge for the Kangaroos’ middle order. The master and the apprentice went to work, as Doug (3/22) just got the chocolates over John (1/25) this week. A superb effort from the pair of finger spinners, they are have become Diesel’s trump card in the early part of the season. Eventually bowling Greenvale out for 164, Uni’s effort with the ball meant that they were certainly ahead of the game at the break.
In his first game at the level, Jayden Kennedy did what he always does; blasted the ball to and over the rope to give the Students a flying start. His run-a-ball 33 included two fours, a six and a broken bat. A whirlwind first outing on the Main, JK gave Uni the ascendancy and they never looked like giving it back. Also his first time batting on the Main, Hugo Bienvenu made the most of it. Instantly looking at ease, the stylish Frenchman crafted his way to and beyond 50, even batting in a baggy cap as he had a day to remember. Batting with the skipper, Dan Hutton, who also cruised beyond 50 in his baggy cap, the pair of left-handers added 120 to see Uni home just 2 wickets down. A bonus point topped off an already superb day for the Second XI, as they start to find their feet.
Dan McNab was rightly celebrated for making his captaincy debut on Saturday, but unfortunately couldn’t win his first toss; I guess it is 50/50.
Bowling first, it didn’t take long for the Students to kick into gear, as Angus Molden found the edge – one that was gleefully received by Anthony McQuire behind the stumps. A steady stream of wickets followed, as all the bowlers showed skill and discipline as they restricted Greenvale’s momentum. To the surprise of no one, Om Patel shone in his first game at the level, claiming 2/18 from his nine overs. Joined by the skipper, Dan McNab was on fire with the ball, taking 2/20 and preventing Greenvale from being able to launch in the last ten overs. When the innings closed at 7/161, it was probably honours to Uni.
After a wicket in the first over, Ed Savill (27) and everyone’s favourite run machine Raf Epstein (17) gathered some momentum, but unfortunately were not able to go on with a start. Regrettably, this was largely the story for the Students, as the middle order all found a way to get in and get out – the regular flow of wickets leaving Uni hamstrung in their chase. Some late hitting from Christian Van Der Merwe (gee it’s a long way from Hampton to Greenvale) helped get Uni close, but the Students eventually fell just two runs short in a tense finish.
At Princes Park with a young side boasting three MUCC debutants, the Fourth XI were dominant from start to finish as they secured their third win of the season.
Batting first, Nick Ritchie – unable to run but very capable of hitting the ball to the rope, blasted 16 from just 9 balls to help get the Students going. In his first match at Premier level, Ali Khan never looked troubled in his classy knock of 23, but the hero of the day was Jonny Stone. Pebbles, in his return match was in control from the outset, holding together the innings through the middle. His powerful innings of 58 included ten boundaries, as he helped push Uni beyond 150. Some late hitting from a pair of big fast bowlers gave Uni the upper hand; Laban Ditchburn (33*) and Tama Stockley (20) combined for a 42-run stand. To close the innings at 7/200.
Carrying the momentum through the change of innings, Tama Stockley got straight to work with the ball, claiming two of the first four wickets. Ollie De Stefanis was also in good form with the ball, claiming the other two wickets up the top of the order, giving Greenvale plenty of work to do to get back in the game. It simply proved too much as the Students bowled well – to the point where MyCricket suggests wicket-keeper Hayden Lim claimed a wicket – Your guess is as good as mine…