The first round of the New Year means many Premier cricketers are debuting a new pair of Christmas spikes, perhaps some new soft gear or even a new bat if Santa was feeling particularly generous. This year however, the Students will be celebrating a different kind of debut, as 18-year old Mitch Domann has been selected in the First XI, earning cap #971.
Coming into 2021 in sixth place on the ladder and with a couple of bonus points under their belt already, the First XI will be keen to kick into gear and make a statement this weekend.
Welcoming the enviably stylish and talented Mitch Domann, ‘Buckets’ will bat at three – the position he has handled with aplomb in the Second XI so far this season. The first match of what will surely be a long and successful First XI career, everyone at the Club has been keenly anticipating Mitch’s debut since he first came to Uni. A Haileybury College product, a MUCC academy graduate and with underage Victorian experience to boot, Domann oozes class and will fit right in at the top level. Go well, Buckets!
The First XI will also be boosted by the return of the very tall and very friendly (and happily very good at cricket) Simon Mackin. Mack-Daddy, who navigated his way across the WA border to be home for Christmas and New Year, decided home was nice, but green wickets and Kookaburra Turf balls with their proud seam are nicer, so he’s back and ready to take lots of wickets. All-rounder Yousaf Iqbal is also back into the First XI for the first time in season 20/21, so spectators are advised to evacuate their vehicles when ‘Siqbal’ is at the crease…
PLAYER TO WATCH: Noah Croes
MUCC’s young wicket-keeper batsman will take on a new role this week, opening the batting in the absence of VC, Fergus McKenna. Croes is a magician with the bat and will combine deft touch with bruising power. What’s more, he’ll be aesthetically pleasing while he does it. Should Donkey’s form be half as good as it was on Boxing Day, Heaven help the Roos.
It is set to be a special day at the Uni Main on Saturday, as five of the Second XI are playing their first match at the level for the year – including three debutants.
Hugo has been Bienvenu-ed to the Second XI after a strong start to the year, where he leads the Club’s run scoring. Joining him will be hard-hitting opener, Jayden Kennedy who will be keen to make the most of batting on the Uni Main for the first time. In an exciting development, groundsman Jeremy Peacock will get to bat and bowl on his own wicket, as he plays his first Second XI match as a Student. Alongside this youthful trio will be the more experienced and invaluable Tom Savill and Sam Skinner. An incredibly exciting raft of inclusions, the Second XI will be hard to stop on the weekend.
More broadly, the match shapes as a vital contest for the Second XI, having claimed their first win of the season in the last round before Christmas, they will be keen to find some momentum heading into the main part of the season.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Daniel Hutton
The skipper, Dan Hutton loves batting on the Uni Main. The most experienced of the Students’ top six, Uni will be looking to Diesel to get in and go big on the weekend. What’s more, based on his recent form at Goodlife Camberwell, no ground will be big enough should Hutty-Pants find the middle of his Kookaburra Kahuna.
Greenvale Reserve #4 will also play host to a MUCC debut-a-thon; this time in the Third XI. With seven inclusions and six debutants at the level, it will be a completely new look outfit for the Students, including a first-time skipper. Dan McNab will lead the Third XI on Saturday; young but mature beyond his years (save for the gorgeous blonde mullet), McNab’s selection as skipper is an indication of the esteem in which he is held at the Club, and we wish him all the best.
As for the debutants, brace yourselves… After dominating the Fourth XI for almost two years, Om Patel has finally been rewarded with a Third XI cap, joined by Jimmy Anderson, who if he bowls like his namesake, might trouble a couple of Kangaroos. Speaking of Kangaroos – or at least things that hop, former Hoppoers Crossing star, turned Student, Khush Talati will send down thunderbolts for the first time in the Thirds. Dan Clark also returns from illness to play his first game as a Student, and will be joined by the more experienced campaigners, Ed Savill and Anthony McQuire!
PLAYER TO WATCH: Tom Walker
With some Second XI experience under his belt, and captain of Meritt house duties on the horizon when school returns, TJ will be keen to make the most of Premier cricket while he can. Set to bowl ten very fast overs, Walks will be hard to stop.
After a stunning first outing in the Dowling Shield a couple of weeks ago, Nic Brian and his merry band of selectors decided the time was ripe to get some young MUCCers their first taste of Premier cricket.
Ali Khan and Torren Arthur, who both helped the U16 side to victory in their first match against Essendon – scoring 105 and 43 respectively, will play in the Fourth XI on Saturday, alongside Kartik Sharma and Rithin Rakes who will provide some valuable overs.
Joining the young stars, Nick Ritchie returns for his first match of the season. On return from serious injury that has seen the young all-rounder essentially have to learn to walk again, we are thrilled to welcome him back into the fold this weekend. Ritcho will provide some valuable experience to a young side, and we know he can’t wait to have a bat back in his hand as a Student.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Ned Bennett
After completing year 12, Ned Bennett has channelled his inner John Daly; rocking a peroxide blonde mullet. I’m not confident that JD has ever picked up a cricket bat, but I’m sure Ned has got him covered in the leg-spin stakes. To that end, given the chance with the bat, you can be certain he’ll “tee it high and let it fly.”