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2013/14 Premier Cricket Season

For the latest news and reports from the MCC's Premier Cricket season, click here.

The preseason training calendar for September 2013 can be viewed here.

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Premier Cricket Wrap
Demons grab two flags...fourths just miss out
Monday April 2, 2012

Congratulations to the 2nd and 3rd XIs who both collected premiership flags on the weekend. In fact, none of the three Demon teams lowered their colours however the 4th XI, who had to win the game, battled gamely but were held to a draw.

On a weekend where it is all about teams achieving the ultimate, there were a number of outstanding individual performances. In the 2nd XI, Mat Begbie opened the batting and just under 5 hours later, departed a stunning 151 against his name scored off just 234 balls (18 fours, 3 sixes); not a bad occasion to bring up your first century for the club, collecting the man of the match award to boot! Jack Paynter (43 and 4/18) had a terrific double and Justin Graham took a five wicket bag to put pay to an early Geelong challenge.

In the Fourths, Xavier Frawley played an innings of his lifetime and, when he lifted the second last delivery of the day’s play over the boundary, he too brought up his maiden century for the Demons, putting his previous top score for Melbourne of 23 back in the distance.

The Third XI shared the wickets and runs more evenly around the group with Matt Lovell (3/51) leading the wicket taking and three players – Mitch Chadwick, Max Tomkinson and Chris Janik - all posting half centuries.

MCC Seconds premiers for season 2011/12.Playing at Geelong against Geelong, the Demon 2nd XI was welcomed by what was described as ‘ten out of ten’ playing conditions. Skipper Ash Middlin had no hesitation after winning the toss in batting first. Will Ryan (51) put on a century opening stand with Mat Begbie prior to lunch to set up the base for a big score. Several other batsmen had handy partnerships with Mat, the best of which was with Jack Paynter when they added 80 for the fourth wicket in just 39 minutes. Mat Begbie was eventually sixth out with the score on 322 in the 78th over. We then ‘battled’ to 8/383 at stumps.

With ten overs available to bat on day two, we lost an early wicket but the last pair managed to take us to 417 leaving the Cats a minimum of 88 overs chase the imposing target. In response Geelong showed why they in the final and didn’t finish far behind us on the ladder, reaching 1/154 with 46 overs remaining. Justin Graham removed the two Cats that were doing the damage and when Jack Paynter stepped in to take 3 for 6 from 18 balls, split by another wicket to Jussie, the game was as good as over. Geelong lost their last nine wickets for 57 and the flag was ours.

MCC Thirds premiers for season 2011/12.The 3rd XI, also playing in perfect conditions at the Albert Ground, bowled first had a ‘real hard day at the office’. The opposing Saints skipper (and eventual man-of-the-match) Stephen Zayler opened up and made a stubborn century. Although we managed to get an early wicket, 53 was on the board before another fell. This brought a third straight away but the Saints held us at bay for the most part and when they brought up their 200 only four down, we appeared headed for a sizeable chase. Skipper John Fitzgibbon then collected his second wicket; Sean Sturrock chipped in with two valuable wickets including the century maker; the second new ball was taken allowing Matt Lovell to take his second and third wicket and Dean Scheetz to finish things off in the 98th over. The final target of 248 was a much better result than what might have been forecast an hour or so earlier.

Starting afresh on day two with all day to bat, openers LJ Edwards and Darcy Daly started positively in putting on 44 before they both departed in the space of four runs. Mitch Chadwick (66 off 185 balls in 224 mins) dug in for the innings and was joined by Max Tomkinson (54 off 73 balls) for a steadying third wicket partnership of 84. At 4/154, the game swung back to a more even balance. Chris Janik (67 off 68 balls, 11 fours) batted beautifully and with Mitch proving immovable, victory was achieved without further loss.

With two flags in the bag, attention turned to the 4th XI who was working with great heart to try to take the 10 Northcote wickets they needed for victory. This was after they declared their first innings closed on the overnight score of 8/337. How we got to that score is worth reflecting upon. You may have heard the term ‘road’ to describe a ‘flat’ wicket before. If you are not sure what ‘road’ means or looks like in describing such a wicket and there is somewhere to look it up, you’ll likely find ‘Camberwell Sports Ground – 4th XI final 2011/12’ high up on the references. That said, we did little to justify the description by being 7/140 at one point.

If I can read into our batsmen’s minds, we knew a big score had to be posted and give us plenty of time to remove 10 Dragons needed to force a win. Perhaps we were a little too impatient as a healthy run rate was negated by a regular loss of wickets. Dion Minato (44 off 45 balls) was the early pace setter but we were a tenuous 5/112 at lunch having also lost shipper Ash Farr for 27. Handy 20’s to Sam Brewin and Alistair McCooke took us to that 7/140. Steven van Riet (61 off 127 balls) showed the determination we know he possesses and he was joined by Xavier Frawley. I’m sure the aim would have been to push the tally to 170-180 but no-one would have expected a 119 run partnership that took us to 7/259 when ‘Steam train’ Van Riet was out with his first MCC half-century against his name. Kane Griffiths (35no off 49) then teamed with ‘X Man’ and a late flurry saw the score fly past 300. Xavier’s 102 n.o. was scored off 187 balls and included 11 fours and that one six).

On the second morning, the new ball brought two early wickets from successful LBW shouts. I’m not sure that the umpires went ‘gun shy’ after that – they both had very good games – but it seemed the main chance of getting a wicket after that was by them ‘missing a straight one’. The Northcote batsmen, knowing they only had to draw, applied themselves terrifically, particularly their centurion Michael Westland who staved off the pressure when he came out at 2/4 and batted for nearly five hours.

Our boys toiled hard and manfully with only occasional moments of joy. Inside the last hour, the game came alive. A moment of misjudgement; a brilliant caught and bowled; a smart catch to send the century maker on his way; a direct hit run out; the umpteenth LBW appeal finally gaining approval. It came down to needing two wickets with the last nine balls but they were good enough to hold on.

Xavier Frawley collected three wickets during the day and with his century, was awarded the man-of-the-match.

Summary scorecards - Finals: 
2nd XI – Melbourne 417 (M Begbie 151, WN Ryan 51, J Paynter 43*, P Petricola 34, J Graham 28, A Middlin 26, JD Foss 3/69, CN Alford 2/47) defeated Geelong 211 (MM Harrison 76, ML Condy 71, LA Ibbs 34,  J Graham 5/59, J Paynter 4/18) at Geelong Cricket Ground. 
3rd XI - St Kilda 248 (S Zayler 105, D Molan 45, MK Lovell 3/51, J Fitzgibbon 2/25, S Sturrock 2/32, D Scheetz 2/59) defeated by Melbourne 4/250 (C Janik 67*, M Chadwick 66*, M Tomkinson 54) at the Albert Ground. 
4th XI – Melbourne 8/337(dec) (XJ Frawley 102*, S Van Riet 61, D Minato 44, KJ Griffiths 35*, A Farr 27, S Brewin 26, D Sansonetti 3/67, L Boughton 2/76) drew with Northcote 8/276 (M Westland 112, A Hashmi 41, G Maratos 38, N Brandon-Jones 30, XJ Frawley 3/33, S Van Riet 2/34) at Camberwell Sports Ground.

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Premier Cricket Wrap
All three through to final
Monday March 27, 2012

The second, third and fourth elevens all won their semi-finals and earned the right to play in the competition final next weekend. No-one expects finals to be easy games, and they certainly weren’t. Both the second and third elevens had to drag themselves back into their respective matches at various stages and victory was never in their keeping until the final wickets were taken. Apart from when their innings fell away dramatically either side of tea on Saturday, the fourth eleven had a relatively comprehensive victory.

The seconds, who had to be beaten given their top ranking, elected to bat first and lost an early wicket before Mat Begbie (31) and Jimmy Gillard steadied things with a second-wicket partnership of 66. Travis Jackson (46) also figured in a steadying 107-run fifth-wicket partnership with Jimmy. At 4/227, the Demons appeared well set to up the ante run rate wise. Gillard (117 off 232 balls, 11 fours) once again displayed his keen appetite for finals runs by recording an invaluable century. His departure triggered a staggering, if not near fatal, collapse of three for nothing, and five for eight, as we eventually saw it out to stumps with captain Ash Middlin and Aaron Boyle hanging on at 9/237.

Play resumed on Sunday with the Demons still having 10 overs available to bat and we could have hardly asked for a better return. Not only did we bat out the 10 overs, but also ended up adding what turned out to be 41 hugely important runs with Ash making 38 not out, lifting a couple over the fence for six in the process.

In perfect batting conditions, we took two early wickets but were made to wait 120 runs for another. At 3/140, the Saints were over half way there and still had plenty of overs left. Chris Thompson and Justin Graham (1/56 off 26 overs) were embarking on tight spells, conspiring to eke the run-rate required. Thommo added another two wickets to his tally but the Saints went past the 200 mark five down.

The run-rate required moved closer to six an over and, as a sense of urgency crept in, so did mistakes. The ball started to find its way into the outfield but one was gratefully accepted by Will Ryan at deep square leg. Justin Graham was finally rewarded for his efforts but the Saints had no intention of giving up. The scoreboard kept ticking over and so did Thommo. Two lusty hits to the deep mid on position were very well taken by Max Tomkinson in a pressure situation and Chris Thompson, having bowled the last 17 straight, walked off with 7 for 81 off 27.1 overs against his name as the second eleven secured a berth in the final.

The third eleven, batting first on a slow and challenging wicket, battled for the most part of Saturday against their Frankston Heat opponents. We were 4/28, 5/60, 6/98…The middle and lower order batsmen fought hard to add respectability to the score without ever getting on top. Chris Janik (35) top scored and next best was Sean Sturrock (28) who figured in a couple of handy, if not match winning in hindsight, lower order partnerships to edge the tally out to 170. When it was our turn to bowl, we kept things tight but wickets were hard to find. The first fell at 40 but at 1/76, a big change had to come over the game for the Demons to keep their 2011/12 finals campaign alive.

Sean Sturrock (4/50) took his first wicket by bowling the Heat top scorer. A real change came over the game when Tristan Larter (2/13) took two wickets in two balls and at 4/84, we were back in the game. Sean took three more in quick succession and all of a sudden the score was 7/97. Dean Scheetz (3/28) returned to bowling crease to break up a threatening eight wicket partnership and followed up with another before skipper John Fitzgibbon took the last and we were home by 30 runs.

The fourth eleven, battling the Cats, appeared to relish the faster scoring Merv Hughes Oval. Even though we lost three wickets in the first session, we went to lunch at 3/126, a session that ended up being dominated by Stephen Shuttleworth who went to the break unbeaten on 59. Ash Farr (41) figured in an 81-run fourth-wicket partnership with ‘Shuttsy’ who batted a little more reservedly in the second session. The Cats fought back strongly and Shuttsy unfortunately holed out on 98 when a century seemed only fitting.

The Demon final tally of 217 seemed disappointing given we were 4/184 at one point. There was nothing that could be done about that as the boys took the field with 27 overs to bowl before stumps. A pitch inspection at the break showed a wicket that was quite flat, very hard with an even spread of browned grass. What took place in the next 90 minutes could hardly be believed unless you were there to see it (which you’ll guess I was). In the second over, Steven ‘steam train’ Van Riet (5/46) straightened one up to have one of the openers out first ball he faced, Gihan snapped up a catch at backward square next over, ‘Steamer’ followed up with another LBW and the procession had well and truly started. Runs started to flow; ‘Steamer’ and Matt Hill intercepted a couple of well struck drives to each effect a caught and bowled; and their skipper snicked one to Shuttsy. A couple more raps on the pads led to LBW appeals that ended up being given, even though the umpires apologetically mentioned to the bowlers that they "didn’t want to give them out but had to when they could only see off and leg" (although I’m not sure that some of the Geelong support staff watching on from deep mid-wicket agreed). All of a sudden Geelong were 8/72 and in danger of being bowled out before stumps.

Survive they did and resumed at 8/76. Xavier Frawley joined in the action and took the last two wickets. The match continued as we batted a second time but with a 223-run lead and seven wickets in hand, hands were shaken at the lunch break.

Finals are played next weekend (Saturday 10.30am start, Sunday 9.30am start due to the end of daylight savings) as follows:

- 2nd XI v Geelong at Geelong Cricket Ground.
- 3rd XI v St Kilda at the Albert Ground.
- 4th XI v Northcote at Camberwell Sports Ground.

Summary scorecards - semi finals:
2nd XI – Melbourne 9/278(cc) (J Gillard 117, T Jackson 46, A Middlin 38*, M Begbie 31) defeated St Kilda 251 (C Thompson 7/81, PJ Smith 2/58) at the Albert Ground. 
3rd XI - Melbourne 170 (C Janik 35, S Sturrock 28) defeated by Frankston Peninsula 140 (S Sturrock 4/50, D Scheetz 3/28, T Larter 2/13) at AH Butler Oval. 
4th XI – by Melbourne 217 (SL Shuttleworth 98, A Farr 41) and 3/92 (B Davison 33) defeated Geelong 86 (S Van Riet 5/46, XJ Frawley 2/3, M Hill 2/15) at Mervyn G Hughes Oval.

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Premier Cricket Wrap
Three out of four ain't...quite what we wanted
Monday March 19, 2012

Whilst it is pleasing to have three teams progress to the semi-finals of an eighteen team competition, I think even those involved in the winning XI’s had the excitement of their quarter final victories tempered when the 1st XI bowed out of the premiership race at the first hurdle for the second year running. That is not something I wish to dwell on here – that will be done, and undoubtedly already been done by some, in other forums.

The 2nd XI, despite finishing on top and having the advantages that go with that, had to dig really deep to get on top in their battle with Prahran. The 3rd XI, needing to force a win, completely dominated their match, also against Prahran. The 4th XI, also coming from a lower ranked position, always looked in the box seat but faced having to chase down a 200+ target set by Uni to advance to the semi. The 1xt XI had their opportunities, first of all with the ball, to keep the Tigers to a modest target; then to chase a not insurmountable score but, in the end, fell a long way short.

Our Firsts, needing to win, sent Richmond in on a helpful but slow wicket. The Tigers moved to 1/80 at lunch before we bounced back with a productive second session, taking five wickets and having Richmond 6/151 at tea. Richmond steadied before Andrew McDonald turned to his off-breaks to get another break through. There were some nagging partnerships at the end that boosted the Tiger tally to 236 and left us an awkward 10 overs to bat before stumps. The Richmond opening attack was lively and removed both our openers and night watchman to have us a tenuous 3/19 at stumps.  Alex Keath and Michael Hill started the second day well, getting through the first hour, but both fell in the space of six balls. We could not get a decent partnership going and eventually bowled out for 115. Miracles won’t happen if you don’t try for them so when we asked Richmond to bat again, however they got in first and asked us to follow on. With 57 overs remaining in the day’s play, caution was thrown to the wind and we knocked up 167 in 30 overs. A lead of 49 was never enough and there was no repeat of the ‘all out 47 at Capetown’.

Our 2nd XI was asked to bat first and after a 36-run opening stand, fell to 4/61 soon after lunch. Will Ryan (80), who opened the innings, was still there and had a handy 73 run 5th wicket partnership with Jack Paynter (31) before two more wickets fell and left us at 6/136. Will was eventually out after just over four stoic hours at the crease. This left the tail that had a decent wag in it, highlighted by a 46-run last wicket stand between Sean Sturrock (43) and Aaron Boyle (10 n.o.) that took our innings into the second day. Prahran got away to a more than handy start bringing up 50 in the first 13 overs without loss. From there, Chris Thompson (2/66 off 27.1 overs) put the brakes on in a 22 over spell. Aaron Boyle was at his miserly best taking 3/17 off 19 overs that included 10 maidens. Pat Smith put pay to the middle order by also taking three wickets and we chalked up a 92 run win.

The Thirds, playing Prahran at Casey Fields, also batted first. Despite losing one early, there were several partnerships built around an outstanding century scored by Jimmy Gillard (105 off 159 balls, 15 fours). LJ Edwards (32), Jon Huddart (62) and Sam Harper (37 n.o.) all making valuable contributions and the lively run rate allowed a declaration at 7/322 after 87 overs. Shane Giese then set Prahran right back on their heels by getting two wickets in two balls having them 2 for 0. Shane struck again early on the second morning before Matt Lovell stepped in to claim four of his own. A 49-run last wicket partnership stretched Prahran’s score to 166 before being dismissed.

The 4ths had a 45 minute delay to the start of the game whilst damp areas on the centre square were covered, They bowled first and were extremely accurate early, creating a number of chances but taking only two of them in the 20 overs before lunch that yielded just 21 runs. Melbourne Uni was making a reasonable recovery but Ben Davison (3/50 off 27) was rewarded for his hard work and helped peg them back to 8/137. Unfortunately Uni got back into the game again before Matt Hill took the last two of his three wickets and we faced a chase of 202 for victory. We survived until stumps and continued with steady partnerships on the second day. Ash Farr (50) joined Dian Minato (103 n.o.) to break the game open in a 90-run fourth wicket partnership. Dion then took total control scoring 51 of the last 56 runs in style and rapid time to secure the win.

Next weekend’s semi final matches will be:
• 2nd XI v St Kilda at the Albert Ground.
• 3rd XI v Frankston Peninsula at Frankston.
• 4th XI v Geelong at Merv Hughes Oval, Footscray.

Summary scorecards - Quarter finals:
1st XI - Richmond 236
(A McDonald 3/34, D Worrall 2/36, S Gilmour 2/58) and 1/53 defeated outright Melbourne 118 (S Dart 29, AR Keath 26) and 167 (R Cooper 54, AR Keath 27, A McDonald 25) at Central Reserve. 
2nd XI – Melbourne 253 (WN Ryan 80, S Sturrock 34, J Paynter 31, PJ Smith 28) defeated Prahran 161 (AJ Boyle 3/17, PJ Smith 3/41, C Thompson 2/66) at Schramm's Reserve. 
3rd XI – Melbourne 7/322 (dec) (J Gillard 105, J Huddart 62, SB Harper 37*, LJ Edwards 32) defeated Prahran 166 (MK Lovell 4/46, S Giese 3/28) at Casey Fields. 
4th XI - Melbourne Uni 201 (M Hill 3/31, B Davison 3/50, S Van Riet 2/21) defeated by Melbourne 4/215 (D Minato 103*, A Farr 50) at University Main Oval.

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Premier Cricket Wrap
Demons bomb club championship
Tuesday March 13, 2012

With less than an hour’s play left in the whole of the "home and away" season, the Demons appeared to be in a good position to defend the slender five point lead held in the Club Championship. News had earlier filtered through that Geelong 1st XI had an easy win and, with the bonus point, chalked up 25 club championship points. Then we learnt of the Cats 2nd XI also winning with a bonus point (15 ‘CC’ points). Our 4th XI won with a bonus point (5 points) and the 2nds also delivered a bonus point win (15 points) to help balance things up. The Club Championship race then came down to not only both our 1st and 3rd XI’s winning their matches, but needing one or both to do so with a bonus point (needing to successfully chasing targets within 40 and 36 overs respectively).

At the Albert Ground, it became apparent a bonus point win was off the agenda when we 3/40 in the chase. The focus was on simply winning the game after a solid bowling performance dismissed the Bombers for 202 in the 49th over. Skipper Andrew Kent (93 off 141 balls) was the mainstay of the innings. A steadying 4th wicket partnership of 79 with Simon Dart (32) took us to 4/119 but the regular loss of wickets saw our run rate required steadily increase. Six an over became seven. With two overs to go, it was 17 needed with three wickets in hand. Then it was 13 from the last over. A four brought it down to six off three; four off two, then three to tie, two to tie. Unfortunately an attempt by Justin Graham to slice one over the vacant deep cover area failed to make contact and we fell two runs short.

The disappointment of missing out on valuable club championship points was eased when Geelong ended up winning all four grades, with bonus points in the first three, meaning the club championship race was lost when the battle for bonus points was past.

Across the road at Fawkner Park, the 3rd XI looked like skittling the Bombers when we bowled first. Matt Lovell took four wickets and bowled out his nine overs at the start. Spinners Sam Brewin and Chris Janik each picked up two wickets and On a better wicket than what has been produced in recent weeks, the 133-run target appeared well within our grasp. We got to 2/74 before a major stumble and at 9/106, a late rally was not enough.

The greatest disappointment out of the 1st and 3rd XI losses was the fact the ‘other results went way’ in terms of gaining a top four, higher ranking berth. Cest la vie and they can now only focus on winning their next match.

The 2nd XI stamped their authority on the competition by winning their last match and finishing top of the ladder. Batting first, the Demons put a competitive 228 on the board with handy contributions by Jim Gillard (61), Darcy Daly (58) and Mat Begbie (43). Chris Thompson (4/18) put paid to any sort of run chase and Sean Sturrock (4/22) cleaned things up.

After a reasonable but hardly spectacular start by the 4th XI, bowlers Steve ‘steam train’ Van Riet (4/24) and ‘Sugar’ Kane Griffiths (4/25) slipped into gear and rolled the Bombers for 91. The were no ghosts of years gone by when meager chases at the Cross Keys Reserve have been more than challenging but Ben Davison (56 n.o.) and Giran Wijeratne (36 n.o.) sailed to the target in the 20th over.

The overriding achievement is to have all teams continuing into the finals. The quarter final draw for the Demons, to be played Saturday and Sunday next weekend, is:

- 1st XI (6th) v Richmond (3rd) at Central reserve, East Richmond (aka Waverley).
- 2nd XI (1st) v Prahran (8th) at Schramms Reserve, Doncaster.
- 3rd XI ((6th) v Prahran (3rd) at Casey Fields.
- 4th XI  (5th) v Melbourne University (4th) at Melbourne University.

Summary scorecards - Round 16 v Essendon:
1st XI – Essendon 202
(S Gilmour 3/43, J Graham 2/27, N Quinn 2/46) defeated Melbourne 8/200 (cc) (A Kent 93, S Dart 32) at Albert Ground. 
2nd XI – Essendon 101 (C Thompson 4/18, S Sturrock 4/22, AJ Boyle 2/7) defeated by Melbourne 7/228 (cc) (J Gillard 61, DP Daly 58, M Begbie 43) at Windy Hill. 
3rd XI – Essendon 8/133 (cc) (MK Lovell 4/13, S Brewin 2/13, C Janik 2/27) defeated Melbourne 122 (M Chadwick 39) at Fawkner Park. 
4th XI – Essendon 89 (S Van Riet 4/24, KJ Griffiths 4/25, M McCudden 2/21) defeated by Melbourne 0/94 (B Davison 56*, GN Wijeratne 33*) at Cross Keys Reserve.

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Premier Cricket Wrap
Monday March 5, 2012
Day one wash out

It will come as no surprise to you who live in Melbourne that the first day’s play of the round 16 clash against the Bombers last Saturday was called off by the pennant committee early in the morning.

Next Saturday, the round will be played as one-day matches as per the one-day matches played throughout the season i.e. coloured clothing and white balls, dark sightscreens, field-restriction circles, one-day crease markings, Duckworth-Lewis Method applicable for 1st XI matches, deciding score sheets required for 2nds, 3rds & 4ths.

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MCC Women's Cricket Coach
Tuesday February 28, 2012

We are pleased to announce that Robert Templeton has been appointed head coach of MCC women’s cricket. I’m sure everyone on this distribution list will know Robert’s cricket history with this club (302 1st XI matches, games, Premier Cricket wicket-keeping dismissal records, MCC Team of the Century, five 1st XI premierships, former coach and long time assistant – read more here if you wish http://premier.cricketvictoria.com.au/page/templeton_robert_ian.html
 
We are delighted that Robert has a strong desire to be part of the MCC’s foray into women’s cricket. More information will follow on what team (or teams) we will field, what grade(s) they will play in in season 2012/13.

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Premier Cricket Update
Four teams in finals
Tuesday February 28, 2012

If you ask about club goals at the start of the season, a common (and you’d hope unanimous) response would be to have your four teams play finals. Another other aim that would be popular would be to win the club championship. The latter is still in the balance however it would please all involved - players, coaching staff, officials and supporters - to know all teams are guaranteed to take part in the finals with one home and away round still to be played. That final round will be vital in terms of where teams finish that, at times, brings with it certain advantages during the finals series for the higher ranked teams. As far as the Club Championship is concerned, we have control of our own destiny.

The 1st XI played ninth placed Casey-South Melbourne (CSM) at Casey Fields in a match they had to win to have any chance of making the finals and one we had to win to guarantee a finals berth and give us a chance climb into the top four. In the hot and windy conditions, a lost toss meant we were asked to bowl first. Pleasingly, the whole bowling group really stood up and shared the workload. All four pace men took a wicket before lunch and add a run out and the Swans were 5/100 at lunch. Dan Worrall (2/52) added a second wicket to his tally my removing their top scorer then Nick Quinn (3/22) and Steven Gilmour (3/35) kept their feet on the Swans collective necks and took the last four wickets between them to have CSM out for 174. Robert Cooper (46) and Andrew Kent (70) took a positive approach out to bat and wiped off 95 off the target before we lost our first wicket and ended up 2/109 at stumps. Alex Keath (65) dominated the scoring on Sunday morning and, with an eye on an outright, we declared 15 runs past CSM’s score.

The Swans, needing a ‘reverse outright’ to have any chance of making finals, started enterprisingly but began to lose wickets. We weren’t able to blast through them but were able to bowl them out with Justin Graham picking up a very handy 5 for 36 off 14.4 overs. We had 23 overs to chase 163 for an outright win. Being 0/17 off two overs raised our hopes but after the loss of three quick wickets the chase was abandoned.

The 2nd XI took full advantage of good batting conditions and rattled up 4/413 off 84 overs before declaring. Mat Begbie (69) laid the early foundation then Matthew Brown dominated the middle part of the day, scoring 119 off just 131 balls (20 fours). Max Tomkinson was Brownies partner for the second half of his innings and when he was dismissed, Max took over and rocketed to 111 not out off 107 balls. Stand-in captain Peter Petricola (58 off 48 balls) also got a slice of the action. In the 13 overs bowled on Saturday evening, there were many chances and near chances created and two were converted. Having CSM five down at lunch on Sunday, it seemed that a win would be a formality. We didn’t count on eighth wicket stand of 136. To the Swan’s credit, they battled hard and came within 64 runs of our imposing target with plenty of overs in hand before Pat Smith (5/68 off 23.3 overs) finished off the innings and an excellent days’ work at the bowling crease.

In the 3rd XI Tristan Larter produced some leg-spin magic taking 5 for 49 from 15 overs and helped dismiss the Swans for 201. We were reasonably well placed at 1/48 at stumps on Saturday night but by early afternoon Sunday, were a not so comfortable 7/102.  What better way to follow up a ‘five for’ that make a match winning unbeaten 50? Well, Tristan did that, batting with Shane Giese who made an equally important 47 not out and their unbeaten eighth wicket partnership of 104 took us to victory.

The 4th XI, having lost the previous week and putting a finals spot at risk, boldly asked the lowly placed Swans to bat first. Having a team heavily weighted with bowlers due to unavailability issues, they could not afford to let CSM on top. On the slow scoring Fawkner Park, the Swans reached 1/48. Little did they know that ‘Cuddles’ was about to send his first ball in anger for the 2011/12 season. It seemed like he had been practicing it for months because down it went, perfect yorker first up that crashed into the stumps. From there, steady wickets fell and we bowled them out for 104. In the 15 overs to bat, David Reid (34) took out the long handle (given he couldn’t play on the second day) and we had knocked off 78 of the target before stumps, albeit for the loss of three wickets.
First innings points were picked up on day two and we wasted no time in getting 53 run lead. The bowlers were back at it and this time we dismissed the Swans for 71, where Scott Walker joined in the game and took 5/15 with his creative off-spin that included three caught and bowled! This left a 15-run target for an outright win that was duly recorded.

Round 16, against Essendon, will be an intriguing one. Only the 2nd XI, who is on top, is guaranteed of a top four finish. All other XI’s will be striving for a win and hope results go their way to achieve as high a ranking as possible going into the finals. Of course, four wins would almost certainly clinch the Club Championship where second placed Geelong play third placed Frankston-Peninsula and Prahran (fourth) play Carlton (fifth).

Summary scorecards - Round 15 v Casey-South Melbourne:
1st XI - Casey-South Melbourne 174
(N Quinn 3/22, S Gilmour 3/35, D Worrall 2/52) and 177 (J Graham 5/36, N Quinn 2/46) defeated by Melbourne 4/189 (dec) (A Kent 70, AR Keath 65, R Cooper 46) and 3/64 at Casey Fields No.4.
2nd XI – Melbourne 4/414 (dec) (MJ Brown 119, M Tomkinson 111*, M Begbie 69, P Petricola 58*) defeated Casey-South Melbourne 350 (PJ Smith 5/68, C Thompson 3/90, S Sturrock 2/81) at Albert Ground.
3rd XI - Casey-South Melbourne 201 (T Larter 5/49, D Scheetz 2/55) defeated by Melbourne 7/206 (T Larter 52*, S Giese 47*, SL Shuttleworth 25) at Casey Fields No.5.
4th XI – Casey-South Melbourne 104 (M McCudden 3/8, S Van Riet 3/20, MC Tucker 2/15) and 71 (SJ Walker 5/15, MC Tucker 2/18) defeated outright by Melbourne 157 (DJ Reid 34, A Farr 30) and 1/19 at Fawkner Park.

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Premier Cricket Update
Will's ton get the seconds up
Monday February 20, 2012

Whilst there were three century makers on Saturday, it makes it a bit more meaningful (and better to celebrate) when it is in a winning team and even more special when it is your first for the club, as was Will Ryan’s unbeaten century in the 2nd XI victory on Saturday. Michael Hill also cracked a ton in the 1st XI’s second innings to add life back into the game and at least set a target in pursuit of outright points. Ash Farr’s second century of the season appeared to be propelling the 4th XI to a win but the charge faded quickly after he was dismissed.

After the Seconds finally dismissed Camberwell Magpies 336 early on day two, Will Ryan opened up the innings and was still there 317 minutes later, standing unbeaten on 140 and having faced 246 balls and hitting 17 fours. This easily surpassed Will’s previous top score for the Demons, 79 in the opening round of this season. Of course, chasing 336 is not done alone. Peter Petricola (71) combined with Will in the most significant partnership of the chase - 136 for the 5th wicket. Travis Jackson (32 n.o.) helped finish things off with an unbroken 68-run partnership to secure 6 points and keep the Demons in second spot.

The Third XI was the other team to have a terrific win. The Fawkner Park wicket and bare surrounds were exposed to the Thursday afternoon downpour that meant the wicket had limited preparation on Saturday morning and quite a damp, slow outfield for the batsmen to contend with. They were understandably making heavy work of the chase. Chris Thompson (40 off 38 balls, three 4’s, three 6’s) lifted the run rate but were still battling when he was 6th man out with the score of 99 with 66 to get. Tristan Larter (37) put a high value on his wicket and Shane Giese (42) batted with good patience and responsibility and saw the team home eight down.

The First XI, facing a 115 run deficit after day one, played enterprising cricket in an effort to gain a ‘reverse’ outright. Andrew Kent (95) and Michael Hill (118) put on 190 for the second wicket and Seb Gotch added 49 to allow a declaration after 57 overs at the crease with a lead of 171 and 40 overs to bowl. The Magpies reached 2/106 before we were able to string a few wickets together. At 6/138 we had a ‘sniff’ but it wasn’t to be.

First XI debut player, Jack Paynter (left) and for Demon player, captain and coach Peter King.It should be noted that following Alex Keath’s call up to the Victorian one-day team, Jack Paynter was elevated for his debut 1st XI cap. A recent initiative is to have a former player present the debutant with his ‘hoops’ and on this occasion we were pleased to have former Demon 1st XI premiership player, club captain, club coach Peter King to do the honours (pictured). Many would be aware that Peter’s work took him to Sydney for quite a period but he is now back working in Melbourne and we hope to see more of him around the Albert and the MCC.

The Fourths looked like they were heading for a successful chase as Ash Farr (122) brought up his second century in three rounds however with the next top score of 21 he failed to get the support he needed.

With two rounds to play against Casey-South Melbourne (Saturday/Sunday February 25/26 – 1st & 3rd XI’s at Casey Fields) and Essendon, the First are sixth on the ladder and are playing CSM who are ninth. A win will put a full stop on CSM’s final eight chances, cement our own and allow us to re-focus on a top four finish. The Seconds are second but can’t afford to drop games to retain the home team advantage during the finals. The Thirds and Fourths are also both placed sixth and have their season’s destiny in their own hands.

MCC Cricketer's Ball
The MCC Cricketer’s Ball will be held on the Saturday night of March 10, 2012 in the Jim Stynes Room at the MCG. Please mark it in your diary. The special entertainment package and cost is in the midst of being finalised and will be advised in the next 48 hours.

Summary scorecards - Round 14 v Camberwell Magpies:
1st XI – Melbourne 95
(S Gotch 41) and 5/286 (dec) (MW Hill 118, A Kent 95, S Gotch 49) defeated outright by Camberwell Magpies 5/210 (dec) (N Quinn 2/34) and 6/172 (N Quinn 3/62) at Albert Ground.
2nd XI – Camberwell Magpies 336 (J Paynter 6/26, AJ Boyle 2/72) defeated by Melbourne 4/337 (WN Ryan 140*, P Petricola 71, M Tomkinson 34, T Jackson 32*) at Camberwell Sports Ground.
3rd XI – Camberwell Magpies 163 (D Scheetz 4/31, S Giese 2/26) defeated by Melbourne 8/165 (S Giese 42*, C Thompson 40, T Larter 37) at Fawkner Park.
4th XI - Camberwell Magpies 258 (S Van Riet 4/46, MC Tucker 2/23) defeated Melbourne 210 (A Farr 122) at Watson Park.

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MCC Women's Cricket Coach

The club is committed to entering at least one team in the VWCA’s Premier Division in the 2012/13 season. Marcella Torre has been appointed as the women’s cricket co-ordinator. Expressions of interest are now being sought for the position of MCC women’s cricket coach. If you are interested, or would like further information, please contact Steven McCooke by email stevenm@mcc.org.au.

Premier Cricket Wrap
Tuesday February 14, 2012
Round 14 v Camberwell Magpies - Day 1

The 1st XI endured a day that was mirrored day one of the previous round – unfortunately it WAS in full reverse! Yes, we were bowled out cheaply and face a significant deficit going into day two. The 2nd XI faces a significant run chase next week. The 3rd and 4th XI’s have a bit more control of their own destiny as they both at least dismissed their opposition and start run chases well within their capabilities from the outset next week.

Playing at the Albert Ground, an early hat-trick to Pies paceman Andrew Fekete played a major role in the Firsts us being bowled out cheaply. In no time we were a disastrous 5 for 15 before Seb Gotch (41) and Justin Graham (22) saved some face. By stumps, Camberwell had managed to compile a significant lead of 115 with five wickets still in hand should they wish to build their lead further.

The 2nd XI, after being asked to field first, grabbed the first five wickets for just over 100 runs; Jack Paynter having taken three of them. After the tea break, Jack took his fourth wicket to have the Magpies 6/174. Unfortunately, as can happen when the ball gets a bit older and on a fast scoring outfield, the Magpies piled on 160 runs in the session. Jack Paynter did return to the crease for a final spell before stumps, grabbing two more wickets to end of with the remarkable figures of 6/26 off 18 overs in a day’s score of 9/323.
 
At 3 for 136, the 3rd XI looked to be in Camberwell’s hands in terms of a run chase next week however they fought their way back into a good position by taking the last seven wickets for 27 runs. Dean Scheetz ended the day with four and Shane Giese took two.

The 4th XI was also battling when the Magpies reached 4/199. Steven van Riet took four wickets and with Max Tucker taking two, Camberwell was dismissed for 258 just before stumps.

Summary Scorecards - Round 14 v Camberwell Magpies (after Day 1):
1st XI - Melbourne 95
(S Gotch 41) v Camberwell Magpies 5/210 (N Quinn 2/34) at Albert Ground. 
2nd XI - Camberwell Magpies 9/323 (J Paynter 6/26) v Melbourne at Camberwell Sports Ground. 
3rd XI – Camberwell Magpies 163 (D Scheetz 4/31, S Giese 2/26) v Melbourne at Fawkner Park. 
4th XI - Camberwell Magpies 258 (S Van Riet 4/46, MC Tucker 2/23) v Melbourne at Watson Park. 

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Premier Cricket Wrap
Monday February 6, 2012
Second XI add one-day title to demon day

The Second XI took out the one-day competition final yesterday after Melbourne’s day of odd weather intervened at the start of our run chase and eventuated in the match being abandoned. Given our top of the ladder standing, the Demons were awarded the Premiership flag.

On Saturday, the club turned around an overall disappointing lot of round 12 results to claim wins in all four grades. The 3rd and 4th XI’s had to dig deep to pull off their victories. The 2nd XI took the ten wickets that they needed and, whilst they pressed hard, the 1st XI were unable to add more points to the first innings ones they had secured on day one.

The thirds and fourths proved that whilst playing 600 minutes of cricket over two Saturday’s can test one’s commitment, sometimes you need nearly every one of those minutes to achieve the desired result. Whilst the 1st XI were battling hard to take the last four Carlton wickets to press for an outright victory, nearby the 3rd XI were similarly finding wickets difficult to come by and their formidable 313 run target under considerable threat as the Blues reached 4 for 271 with about 10 overs to go.
 
The writer just happen to be passing by after hoping to see the 1st XI pull something out of the hat, where Stephen Gilmour dug deep and took four wickets whilst bowling most of the second session, but only saw a low one-handed blinder by Rob Cooper before the game petered out.

After a cursory glance at the board (now 5/277 with seven overs to go) I almost got back in the car but thought I should check out an over or so with Chris Janik sending down his ‘offies’. Well - wicket, dropped catch, single, dot, dot, wicket suddenly changed the complexion of the game. Next over, another wicket and all of the sudden the Blues shut up shop and were happy to settle for an ‘honourable’ (yes, there are other words for it) draw. They survived a few overs and the clock was ticking close to six o’clock. Chris craftily switched to around the wicket to the right hander and fired down a quicker one that thudded into the pads (from ‘right arm around’ remember) and up went the umpires finger! In came the no.11. Time ticking on and this could now be the last over, four balls remaining. Well, why not try the same thing? Yes, right arm around again, quicker in flight and bang, hits him on the pads (very similar although the inside edge may have helped it straighten to make sure it him the stumps. Same result from the umpire though and the Demons celebrate the six points.

I wasn’t at Fawkner Park, but the 4th XI was having an equally tough day removing the opposition. Chasing 221, Carlton moved to 1/90 at tea. Perhaps too many jam tarts for the opposition as they lost three wickets not long after the break. Kane Griffiths (3/37 off 20 overs) took two of his three wickets to show signs of his recovery from a long term foot injury. Still, at 4/161 on a lifeless wicket, the Blues appeared in control. Xavier Frawley took two wickets then Ben Davison (3/17), seemingly being kept fresh but not out of the game with two catches and a run out, took his last two wickets with just a couple of overs remaining and gain a valuable win.

The 2nd XI has posted good scores in recent weeks but struggled to take the 10 wickets for the win. Aaron Boyle (2/35) got the early breakthroughs; Chris Thompson (2/44) got two important wickets after lunch; Jack Paynter (3/66) topped the figures and Will Ryan (2/24) chipped in with a couple to complete a solid bowling effort and complete the win.

The 2nds backed up on Sunday for their one-day competition final and, fielding first, battled the hot northerly gusty winds. The Dogs started well with the bat were in control for most of the innings and set us a not insignificant 275. We were 0/6 in the second over when summer suddenly turned into winter. Autumn and spring didn’t show up in time for us to resume our innings and the Demon’s were the one-day title recipients.

In terms of ladder positions and the final eight, in the 1st XI, whilst we gained ground on ladder leaders Carlton, outright results meant we went from 4th to 5th. We play ninth place Camberwell Magpies and a win will seal a finals berth and enable us to focus on a top four, or better, finish. The seconds stay second. The 3rds moved up a spot to seventh and also up a place to 5th.

Over the next two Saturdays the First XI host the Magpies at the Albert Ground.

Summary scorecards - Round 13 v Carlton:
1st XI- Carlton 116 (D Worrall 6/16, S Gilmour 2/35) and 7/196 (S Gilmour 4/37, J Graham 2/60) defeated by Melbourne 5/223 (dec) (R Cooper 80, AR Keath 79) at Princes Park # 1 Oval. 
2nd XI – Melbourne 9/370 (dec) (T Jackson 154*, P Petricola 62, WN Ryan 35, PJ Smith 31, J Gillard 31) A Sweet 4/46, MJ Freeman 2/99, defeated Carlton 281 (J Paynter 3/66, WN Ryan 2/24, AJ Boyle 2/35, C Thompson 2/44) at Albert Ground. 
3rd XI – Melbourne 6/313 (dec) (C Janik 91, DP Daly 68, J Huddart 63, SB Harper 30*, LJ Edwards 29) defeated Carlton 284 (C Janik 6/43) at Princes Park #2 Oval. 
4th XI – Melbourne 9/221 (dec) (D Minato 55, KJ Griffiths 41*, T Larter 28) defeated Carlton
188
(B Davison 3/17, KJ Griffiths 3/37, XJ Frawley 2/35) at Fawkner Park.

Summary scorecard - 2nd XI one-day final v Footscray Edgewater: 
2nd XI – Footscray Edgewater 6/275(cc) (J Graham 2/39) drew with Melbourne 0/6 at Albert Ground.

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Premier Cricket Wrap
Rockin' the Blues
Monday January 30, 2011

The Demons bounced back with a strong set of performances across all grades on day one of the two-day match against Carlton, who leads the 1st XI ladder. This follows a disappointing weekend last week where, in the round 12 two-day matches against Geelong that concluded on the Saturday, only the 4th XI could muster a win. Of the three teams to compete in the one-day semi-finals on the Sunday, only the 2nd XI advanced to the final to be played this coming Sunday.

For those that didn’t catch up on the details of last weekend’s matches (the writer was also on a week’s leave), it would be an unfair not to acknowledge two outstanding performances in that 4th XI victory against Geelong. Coming to together at a tenuous 3 for 39 in pursuit of 147 for victory, Gihan Wijeratne (102 no off 168 balls, 18 fours and one six) combined with Ashley Farr (108, 138 balls, 20 fours and one six) for a fourth wicket partnership of 184 to put the win beyond doubt. It was Gihan’s first century since joining the Demons this season and Ashley’s first since season 2006/07 and his third overall for the club he joined in 1994/95.

Dan WorrellNow back to Saturday’s play. Some may not be aware of Dan ‘Rocker’ Worrall’s liking for belting out the odd rock and roll number however he was calling the tune of a different type as the 1st XI took the field against the Carlton Blues. In 12.3 overs, Dan (pictured) took six wickets for just 16 runs in a fantastic display of fast outswing bowling. Steven Gilmour had removed the first two batsmen and the ladder leaders found themselves a remarkable 9/60. It may have appeared slightly disappointing to see a 10th wicket partnership of 56 push the chase out to 116 however our response of 5/223 by stumps would have made that a distant thought. Rob Cooper (80) continued with his consistent run (three scores of 80 or more in his last four hits) and Alex Keath (79) brought up his third half-century of the season for the Demons.

In the 2nd XI, it was Travis Jackson continuing his rich vein of form. In his last three two-day match innings, he has clocked up three unbeaten centuries. Batting at number six, Travis came to the crease at 4/91. Peter Petricola (62) helped steady things with a 133-run fifth wicket partnership. It was after tea where Travis’ innings really blossomed, making 105 in the final session on his own, to finish unbeaten on 154, facing 203 balls that included 12 fours and three sixes, taking the team total to 9/370 at stumps.

The 3rd XI also had a good day with the bat. Darcy Daly (68) set the scene early. It was the 5th wicket partnership of 152 between top scorer Chris Janik, who ran himself out for 91, and Jon Huddart (63) that set up the 300-run plus tally. A nice little cameo by Sam Harper (30 n.o.) helped us to a final score of 6 for 313.

The 4th XI, batting first on a ‘challenging’ pitch, had six players contribute at least 20 to post a competitive score before a late afternoon declaration. Dion Minato (55) did best and Kane Griffiths (41 n.o.) showed he is no slouch with the bat.

As always, the challenge remains to convert a good start to the game by following it up next week and gain the maximum number of points that we can.

Next Sunday, the 2nd XI plays Footscray-Edgewater in the one-day competition final at the Albert Ground (11.00am start).

Summary Scorecards - Round 13 v Carlton (after Day 1):
1st XI – Carlton 116
(D Worrall 6/16, S Gilmour 2/35) v Melbourne 5/223 (R Cooper 80, AR Keath 79) at Princes Park # 1 Oval. 
2nd XI – Melbourne 9/370 (T Jackson 154*, P Petricola 62, WN Ryan 35, J Gillard 35, PJ Smith 31) v Carlton at Albert Ground. 
3rd XI – Melbourne 6/313 (C Janik 91, DP Daly 68, J Huddart 63, S Harper 30*, LJ Edwards 29) v Carlton at Princes Park #2 Oval. 
4th XI – Melbourne 9/221(dec) (D Minato 55, KJ Griffiths 41*, T Larter 28) v Carlton 0/3 at Fawkner Park. 

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Premier Crickety Wrap
Six for "Sulie" and ton for "Jacko"
Monday January 16, 2011

The quest for vital club championship points for two of the leading contenders was evenly poised after the first day’s play against the Cats. Star performers of the round were Ben ‘Sulie’ Davison’s six wickets in the 4th XI and Travis Jackson’s 2nd XI unbeaten century.

Playing at Kardinia Park (West), the 4th XI were tearing through the Geelong line up to have them 6 for 52. ‘Sulieman’ Ben Davison took four of his six for the day in his opening spell and Max Tucker also picked up two to have the Cats in real trouble. The Geelong skipper, batting at no.8, then exploded with 83 off 59 balls before Scott Walker removed him with the score on 145. ‘Sulie’ took over once again, effecting a run out and grabbed two more wickets to end up with the impressive figures of 6/20 off 14 overs; Geelong losing four for two and all out 147. Our run chase was looking shaky at 3/39 but we look forward to skipper Ash Farr (15 n.o.) and Gihan Wijeratne (18 n.o.) bringing the points home.

The 2nd XI also travelled down Geelong Rd and batted through the day. Jim Gillard (41) was solid at the top of the order however it was the middle order that did the damage. Batting at no.6, Travis Jackson joined Peter Petricola (65) with the score on 4 for 89 and combined with him for a steadying 67-run partnership. Ash Middlin (44) and Travis also put on 67 for the 6th wicket. The value of good partnerships was shown with a score of 7/324 at day’s end, Travis finishing unbeaten with a terrific 103 (184 balls, 12 fours).

The 1st XI had an interesting battle in the field. For the most part, they struggled to take ‘consecutive wickets’ and at 4 for 252, the running of the game appeared out of our hands. Justin Graham finally obtained the breakthrough and was justly rewarded for an excellent couple of sessions of off-spin bowling finishing with 4/53 off 23 overs. Nick Quinn also bowled with good energy all day, sending down nearly 29 overs and picked up two late wickets to dismiss the Cats for 309 in the last over. Not having to worry about a declaration or bowling again next week was a highly positive note to finish the day on.

The 3rd XI found themselves batting on a wicket still holding moisture from the week of ordinary weather. We were unable to battle through the early part and found ourselves 7 for 38. Shane Giese was welcomed back into the playing ranks after over a year off rehabilitating his back. He would have been a touch edgy but I’m guessing he didn’t see himself rescuing his team with the bat, making a face saving 51 n.o. to give his team something to bowl at. They have kept the Cats to 40 off 29 overs but unlucky to only take the two Chris Thompson wickets so far.

Summary Scorecards - Round 12 v Geelong (after day one):
1st XI – Geelong 309
(J Graham 4/53, N Quinn 2/96) v Melbourne at Albert Ground. 
2nd XI – Melbourne 7/324 (T Jackson 103*, P Petricola 65, A Middlin 44, J Gillard 41) v Geelong at Geelong Cricket Ground.
3rd XI – Melbourne 118 (S Giese 51*, v Geelong 2/40 (C Thompson 2/12) at Fawkner Park. 
4th XI – Geelong 147 (B Davison 6/20, MC Tucker 2/36) v Melbourne 3/65 at Kardinia Park West.

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Premier Cricket Wrap
New Year's Demon Day
Wednesday January 11, 2012

The first playing day of the New Year saw the Demons bring up their first Demon Day of the 2011/12 season. The four win’s in the final one-day round of fixtures ensured the 2nd, 3rd and 4th XI’s all kept their spot in the top four of the one-day ladder and earn spots in the semi-finals of the competition. Unfortunately the convincing 1st XI win, even with a bonus point, failed on net run rate to let the 1sts sneak into fourth spot. The consolation is that they retain second spot on the main two-day competition ladder.

The 2nd XI, who finished on top of the one-day ladder, also sit on top of the two-day ladder; the thirds are fifth and the 4th XI have stepped into the top eight and lay in 6th position.

Michael HillThe 1st XI played at Richmond’s new venue at Central Reserve, Waverley (earlier home of Waverley then Hawthorn-‘whoever’ – just depends what year it was!) and their victory was built on a strong bowling performance that reduced the Tigers to 6 for 79 at one point. First change Dan Worrall took three wickets in his 10-over spell and Nick Quinn, who continues to collect wickets, also added three to his season tally (now 20). The bowling effort is not to devalue the excellent knock’s of Michael Hill (74 off 60 balls) and Alex Keath (68 n.o.) that secured a dominant win in the 37th over. It was great to see Michael (pictured) back in action for the Demons albeit still hampered as he recovers from a frustrating ankle injury.

The 2nd XI set up their win with the bat, the best performances coming from Max Tomkinson (86 off 85 balls) and Jack Paynter (96 off 80 balls) who combined for a 4th wicket partnership of 158. After the quicks grabbed a couple of early wickets, Sean Sturrock’s left-arm wrist spin claimed a bag of five to put a seal on a strong team performance.

The Thirds got away to a flier courtesy of Darcy Daly (67) who belted the early bowling. We ended up with a modest 187, the defence of which was in doubt until Blake Pearson’s eight over spell of 4 for 27 put an end to it.

The 4th XI battled with the bat on a very dry wicket but the 167-run target was more than enough when the Tigers were skittled for 91 with wickets shared around.

The four wins mean we move to within one point of Club Championship leaders Carlton. We play third placed Geelong in a two-day matches over the next two Saturdays and take on Carlton the round after that so the next four weeks will have a big bearing on the Club Championship outcome.

The one-day semi-finals are played on Sunday January 22 as follows:
2nds -MELBOURNE V DANDENONG at Albert Ground.
3rds - CAMBERWELL MAGPIES V MELBOURNE at Camberwell Sports Ground.
4ths - FRANKSTON PENINSULA V MELBOURNE at Adrian Butler Oval, Frankston.

Summary Scorecards - Round 11 v Richmond:
1st XI – Richmond 186 (N Quinn 3/24, D Worrall 3/28) defeated by Melbourne 3/187 (MW Hill 74, AR Keath 68*) at Central Reserve #1 Oval. 
2nd XI – Melbourne 5/283(cc) (J Paynter 96, M Tomkinson 86, P Petricola 40, Pj Smith 26*) defeated Richmond 173 (S Sturrock 5/40, Pj Smith 2/40, MK Lovell 2/43) at Albert Ground. 
3rd XI – Melbourne 8/187(cc) (DP Daly 67, T Jackson 26) defeated Richmond 160 (BR Pearson 4/27, LJ Edwards 2/27) defeated by at Central Reserve #2 Oval. 
4th XI – Melbourne 167 (T Larter 40, B Davison 35, A Farr 30) defeated Richmond 91 (B Davison 2/8, KJ Griffiths 2/11, L Gray 2/12, T Larter 2/18) at Fawkner Park.

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Premier Cricket Wrap
Three wins up but firsts go down
Monday December 19, 2011

The Second, Third and Fourth XI’s all brought up wins against the Footscray Edgewater Bulldogs however the First XI were forced to go into the Christmas break with the sour taste of a loss. They can, however, take consolation from heading into the New Year in second place on the ladder and well placed to take a serious tilt at the finals, even though Saturday’s loss looks to have tipped us out of one-day finals action. The Seconds’ win has taken them the top of both the main competition and one-day ladders although the competition in both formats is very tight. The Third XI slipped back into the eight and, if they win the final one-day round straight after the break, should secure a one-day finals berth. The Fourths are sitting ninth on the two-day ladder and also need to win their round 11 match to ensure their place in the one-day semi-final round. In the Club Championship we sit second, 30 points adrift of Carlton.

The Third XI put in the most dominant display on Saturday, at one stage having Footscray Edgewater 8 for 52 before allowing them to eke out to 83. Dean Scheetz (4/20) put in his best performance of the season after a knee injury interrupted his start and Max Tucker (3/18). Blake Pearson (2/6 off 6) also made the most of his opportunity at the creases.  It seems Darcy Daly (64 n.o.) wouldn’t have minded a more challenging target which was knocked off in 14.2 overs.
The Fourth XI was strengthened by several players returning throughout the grades; some due to the break in school cricket and others from injury recovery. It was great to see Kane Griffiths back at the bowling crease after a two-year injury break involving ankle surgery, putting in seven tidy overs.  Batting first, we put a competitive 7/197 on the board with Tristan Larter (49) and Ben Davison (40) the main scorers. Those two had fine all-round games, Tristan following up with 4/36 and Ben 2 for 1. Logan Gray grabbed a miserly 2/8 off six overs as we dismissed the Bulldogs 32 runs shy.

The Seconds bowled out Footscray Edgewater for 177. Just as it looked like the Bulldogs were getting on top, Sean Sturrock (2/35) grabbed two handy wickets then Justin Graham stepped in and finished with tremendous one-day figures of seven overs, four for 16. We made heavy going of the chase with four batsmen being dismissed in the 20’s and 30’s. A sixth wicket partnership of 56 between top-scorer “LJ” Edwards (37) and Justin Graham appeared to be steering us home however in took the ninth wicket to put on 12 to claim victory.

The First XI seemed like they simply didn’t get enough runs. Simon Dart (54) held the innings together after the top three were dismissed with 95 on the board. Matthew Brown made 48 off 53 balls and Peter Petricola 27 off 28. It might seem harsh to say 222 wasn’t enough however, with a flat wicket and fast outfield conditions providing excellent batting conditions, you sensed if a batsman got set they were going to be difficult to contain. At 2/169, this scenario appeared to be playing out. Credit to a bit of Demon fighting spirit, we pegged the visitors back to 6/201 but couldn’t hold them out and were passed in the last over.

Premier Cricket resumes after the break with the final one-day round on January 7 (another early 10am/11am start) against Richmond, the 2nd & 4th XI’s at home, 1st & 3rd XI’s at the new Tigers home at Central Reserve, Waverley.

The Demons are involved in two ‘other’ matches over the Christmas break, one in the fight for the Bob Lloyd Shield against Kensington (SA) Cricket Club played at the Albert Ground on Tuesday December 27; the other against reciprocal club, the Cricket Club of India at the MCG on Saturday December 31. If you haven’t been directly invited to be involved, you are most welcome to attend these games and any off-field support you can give, particularly for the Kensington match, will be very much appreciated.

Summary Scorecards – Round 10 v Footscray Edgewater:
1st XI – Melbourne 8/222(cc)
(S Dart 54, MJ Brown 48, A Kent 38, P Petricola 27) defeated by Footscray Edgewater 7/223 (N Quinn 3/38, S Dart 2/32) at the Albert Ground.
2nd XI - Footscray Edgewater 177 (J Graham 4/16, S Sturrock 2/35) defeated by Melbourne 8/178 (LJ Edwards 37, WN Ryan 33, J Graham 29) at Mervyn G Hughes Oval. 
3rd XI – Footscray Edgewater 83 (D Scheetz 4/20, MC Tucker 3/18, BR Pearson 2/6) defeated by Melbourne 2/87 (DP Daly 64*) at Fawkner Park. 
4th XI - Melbourne 7/197 (T Larter 49 B Davison 40 M Hill 33) defeated Footscray Edgewater 165 (T Larter 4/36, B Davison 2/1, L Gray 2/8) at Tony Dodemaide Oval. 

MCC Club XI Cricket Competition:
Melbourne 9/181(cc) defeated by Old Wesley 4/191
at Wesley College St Kilda Road.

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Premier Cricket Wrap
Mighty effort to overcome slow start put 1st XI into second place
Monday December 12, 2011

It was a Demon weekend that yielded four centuries, two ‘five for’s’, plus a number of other good performances that, in some ways disappointingly, yielded only one win and three draws. The 1st XI was the only victors and, in doing so, retained the Michael Sholly Cup. The 2nd and 3rd XI’s both batted their way into strong positions. The Saturday evening thunderstorms impacted on their time to bowl the opposition out and both fell two wickets short in their efforts to do so. The 4th XI match was delicately poised overnight, if that is not being too kind, but the formation of the Fawkner Park swamp prevented any play from being possible on Sunday.

Nick QuinnIn warm conditions and on an unresponsive wicket, it seemed like the 1st XI were in for a long weekend when University moved along to 2/197 (one of those two wickets being a run out) just after tea on Saturday. From then on, it was a great lesson on how things can turn around. Nick Quinn put in a mighty spell and not only gained the breakthrough, but followed up with two more to put the Demons back into the match. When stumps were drawn eight overs early due to the late afternoon thunderstorms, University were 8/240. Nick Quinn and Steven Gilmour each took a wicket on the Sunday morning to wrap up the innings; Quinny completing with a five wicket haul and finishing with 5 for 44 off 24 overs (and he effected the run out too!).

Rob Cooper (92) continued his love affair with the University main oval but was unable to repeat his century making achievement of the 2009/10 final; although was a little unlucky to be given out LBW. Coops combined with Andrew Kent (118 n.o.) in a 180-run opening stand to put the 256 run chase beyond doubt. It is obviously compelling, and hopefully not distracting for him, to follow his Andrew’s milestones as he continues his rise up both Melbourne and Premier Cricket’s all-time batting career ranks. It was Andrew’s 16th Premier Cricket century and he now has a career 7,997 runs - still a bit of a way to catch his fellow teammate, Simon Dart, whose career tally of 8,709 has him sitting 13th on the all-time list.

The 2nd XI appeared to have thrown away a handy start to proceedings, largely gained through a half-century by opener Jim Gillard. At 6/170, Jack Paynter (100 n.o. off 161 balls, 10 fours) was joined by acting captain Justin Graham (103 n.o. off 118 balls, 10 fours and two 6’s) for an unbroken 6th wicket stand of184. Both players were stranded in their 90’s when rain forced them from the field eight overs early on Saturday evening. On resuming their innings’ on Sunday, Justin brought up his eighth century for the club. His partner Jack would have surely been a little more nervous, sitting on the cusp of his maiden Demon century, but he did this without any trouble.

Wickets were difficult to come by as Uni made a good fist at chasing the 354-run target. Three wickets fell with the score on 288 but we were unable to get the final two in the three overs remaining.

Travis Jackson (104 n.o.) was the other Demon centurion. Opening the batting for the 3rd XI, he put on 75 with fellow opener Darcy Daly who churned out a quick 61. Later, Dion Minato contributed 64 of a 115-run 4th wicket partnership and Trav was unconquered when the innings was declared closed at 4/280. A wicket the last ball before stumps was the ideal way to finish the day. A wet turf wicket area delayed the start of play on the second day, and with the Students intent on wicket occupation, the match was drawn with Uni eight down.

The 4th XI did well to dismiss Uni for 103, with Matt Hill finishing with the highly impressive figures of 16 overs, eight maidens, taking 5/21. Ben Davison and Logan Gray chipped in with two each. The meager run chase of 103 started horrifically, being 5/19 before ‘steadying’ to be 5/31 at stumps. Unfortunately we have a situation at Fawkner Park where there is a diseased area of the ground that has become compacted and water simply won’t soak or run away after significant rain. The swamp like area of the south-western part of the ground, as well as an area on the turf table itself, had no chance of drying and play was abandoned mid-afternoon.

What is coming up?
- Training this week- players have been advised that there is no training on Tuesday night after Saturday/Sunday cricket last weekend and T20 on this Wednesday evening.
- Twenty20 – Melbourne Demons v Prahran True Blues – Wednesday December 14 starting at 5.15pm. All players are expected to attended and all officials and supporters welcome. Enjoy freshly cooked BBQ delights and cool refreshments at very friendly prices whilst watching all the action.
- Round 10 v Footscray-Edgewater (1st XI at home) – Saturday December 17 – One-day match starting at 10.00am*.
- Christmas Party at the Patricks’ – Sunday December 18 – Back after a couple of year’s spell, the MCC Cricketer’s Christmas Party is back at Selwyn St Canterbury.

Note: Starting Times for Round’s 10 and 11
In anticipation of your support for the Big Bash League and your desire to attend matches, the starting times for the next two rounds of Premier Cricket have been brought forward by an hour so they can be completed by 5.00pm i.e. 10am start for 1st & 2nd XI matches, 11.00am for 3rd/4th XI.

Summary Scorecards – Round 9 v Melbourne University:
1st XI - Melbourne Uni 256
(N Quinn 5/44, S Gilmour 2/67) defeated by Melbourne 3/259 (A Kent 118*, R Cooper 92) at University Main Oval. 
2nd XI – Melbourne 6/354 (dec) (J Graham 103*, J Paynter 100*, J Gillard 53, WN Ryan 25, M Begbie 25) drew with Melbourne Uni 8/289 (P Smith 3/90, S Sturrock 2/71) at the Albert Ground. 
3rd XI - Melbourne 4/280 (dec) (T Jackson 104*, D Minato 64, DP Daly 61, T Larter 27*) drew with Melbourne Uni 8/187 (T Larter 3/61, DP Daly 2/21) at Crawford Oval. 
4th XI - Melbourne Uni 103 (M Hill 5/21, B Davison 2/13, L Gray 2/25) drew with Melbourne 5/31 at Fawkner Park. 

MCC Club XI Competition
A gala Twenty20 day at Wesley College Syndal planned for Sunday involving all eleven clubs unfortunately had to be cancelled to the Saturday evening rain.

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Premier Cricket Wrap
Happy Demons as Kent Sails on Towards Big Ship
Tuesday December 6, 2011

Standout performances by Steven ‘Happy’ Gilmour (5/61) and Andrew Kent (102 n.o.) played significant roles in the 1st XI win over Northcote Dragons last weekend. A number of contributions enabled the 2nd XI to have a win. The 3rd XI dominated the first day’s play, and pressed for outright points on day two, but eventually had to settle for a first innings victory. The undermanned 4th XI toiled hard for the whole weekend out at Binnak Park, only to go down by one wicket with three overs of play remaining and foiling a Demon Day opportunity. And the MCC Club XI chalked up a win.

At the Albert Ground, the 1st XI was in the field first and stuck to the task of taking the 10 wickets even though Northcote strung together a number of handy partnerships. Playing his 100th Premier match, ‘Happy’ Gilmour (5/61 off 25 overs inc eight maidens) led the attack and took his first five wicket haul for the Demons. Nick Quinn (3/49 off 25) also made a handy contribution and was one of two bowlers that managed to deflect straight drives onto the stumps to run out two Dragons in quick succession (about the same time one was effected over at the 3rds!).

Facing an attack that seemed intent on defence and run protection, skipper Andrew Kent knuckled down to the task of chasing 235 for victory and, after he and Rob Cooper (42) laid the platform, he took his team all the way to the six points with 102 n.o. off 225 balls in a 320 minute stay.

This season, Andrew has moved into third place in the all-time MCC run-getters list, passing Percy Beames, with 7,879 runs and is now within sight of Warwick ‘The Big Ship” Armstrong’s second place tally of 8,197.

In the Seconds, there were several contributors, the best of those being half centuries to Max Tomkinson (74) and Mitch Chadwick (54). The total of 274 may have been more given the number of ‘starts’ but looked a lot better when we had two scalps before stumps. Wickets were harder to come by on Sunday however Aaron Boyle’s 28 overs of hard work yielded four wickets and with the other four bowlers used chipping in for one or two, we dismissed the Dragons 57 short.

The Thirds, playing at Fawkner Park, took awhile to gain a breakthrough before Sam Brewin threw down the stumps. Max Butler took two wickets straight after but the Dragons dug in and was 5/96 at tea. The visitors seemed to enjoy the afternoon tea spread but that didn’t help their performance as they crashed to 106 all out. Justin Graham helped himself to a handy 4 for 3 off 7.1 overs.

In conditions not easy for scoring, we managed to be 4/83 at stumps. Jon Huddart (76) polished off the remaining runs on the second day as quickly as Northcote knocked over the sandwiches, and we declared with a 44-run lead. To the Dragon’s credit, they came out positively and knocked up 5/205 before declaring and giving us 162 to get off 26. A good start led to a succession of wickets and at 5/59, we were forced to shut up shop and bat out the remaining 12 overs to keep the six first innings points intact; an interesting day where the 365 runs scored made a lie of the less than perfect batting conditions.

The 4th XI was faced by one of those weekends where we had players on Vic.U.17 duty, APS T20 cricket, injuries, etc., and were forced to call on some semi (even fully) retired players. They acquitted themselves terrifically, with David Reid (36) showing good touch and Scott Walker (45 n.o.) top scoring, and managed to bat through the day making 203 on a slow outfield.We battled hard with the ball, keeping them out there for 77.2 overs but were passed an agonisingly nine down after the last wicket put on 13.

In the Club XI, you’ll notice a familiar name in Laurie Heath in the scorecard and he opened with former MCC star Kane Bowden where they polished off the target in the 30th over. To quote a small segment of their match report,

‘A great opening stand from another first gamer Laurie Heath, partnered by Kane Bowden, set us up.  Pick of the shots was Lozza's back foot push through cover for 4 runs.  Others seemed to like the tap on the lid he received from their opening bowler.’

Summary Scorecards - Round 8 v Northcote:
1st XI – Northcote 235
(S Gilmour 5/61, N Quinn 3/49) defeated by Melbourne 6/242 (A Kent 102*, R Cooper 42) at Albert Ground. 
2nd XI – Northcote 217 (AJ Boyle 4/62, J Paynter 2/24, C Janik 2/29) defeated by Melbourne 274 (M Tomkinson 74, M Chadwick 54, LJ Edwards 35, PJ Smith 28, J Gillard 27) at Bill Lawry Oval. 
3rd XI – Northcote 106 (J Graham 4/3, MC Tucker 3/23) and 5/205 (dec) (A McCooke 2/38) defeated by Melbourne 6/150(dec) (J Huddart 76, T Larter 32, S Brewin 28) and 5/93 (T Jackson 31*, J Graham 31*) at Fawkner Park. 
4th XI – Melbourne 203 (SJ Walker 45*, DJ Reid 36, M Hill 33, TP Hennessy 27) defeated by Northcote 9/207 (SJ Walker 3/41, B Davison 3/55, M Hill 2/28) at Binnak Park. 

MCC Club XI Cricket Competition
Old Haileybury 7/155
(40 overs) (Talalla 4/15) defeated by MCC 6/157 (29.5 overs) (Heath 37, Newkirk 36no).

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Premier Cricket Wrap
Weather forecasters the only winners
Monday November 28, 2011

No surprises to report that after the first day’s play (on Saturday November 19) was essentially washed out and all matches were to revert to the one-day format last Saturday, these too were a total washout.

Add to that a washout of the second round of Twenty20 matches yesterday due to the water logged grounds and a potentially busy weekend of cricket ended up good for couch potatoes.

The next two weekends are Saturday/Sunday two-day matches. The first of these is against the Northcote Dragons (1st XI at home).

In between times, the final two rounds of T20 matches are played – 1st XI only – on Wednesday December 7 (away at Fitzroy Doncaster) and Wednesday December 14 (home to Prahran).

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Premier Cricket Wrap
Twin tons topple two blues
Monday November 14, 2011

Simon Dart (left) with Robert Cooper.Brilliant centuries by Robert Cooper and Simon Dart (pictured) propelled the Demon 1st XI to a victory that looked most unlikely early in the day. The 2nd XI looked like they were in a comfortable chase for the most part of the day but ended up in a scrap and managed to get the points eight wickets down. The 3rd and 4th XI’s didn’t fare so well. The Thirds were unable to string partnerships together and fell 38 runs short of the 200 run target. The Fourths battled hard but dropped catches and, with plenty of time on their hands, allowed Prahran to bat their way to a five wicket victory.

At the Albert Ground, Prahran continued on their overnight score of 8/321 and added another 27 runs before declaring, setting the 1st XI 349 off a minimum of 91 overs. At 2/13, this target must appeared, if not unlikely, certainly a long way off. At this point, Simon Dart (106 off 123 balls inc 18 fours) joined Robert Cooper and brought up a sparkling half century before lunch and with the score at 2/86, restored the balance somewhat. The pair continued and to dominate the Prahran attack and added 211 before Simon was dismissed having made his third ton for the Demons and the 17th in his career. ‘Super Dooper’ Robert Cooper (as he was affectionately known by a recent MCC premiership coach!) continued on his way to his 1st XI high score, a fantastic 150 even, batting for 286 mins, facing 223 deliveries, 16 of which were 4’s plus three 6’s). Max Tomkinson and Matt Brown shared 40 and 46-rus partnerships with Coops and Seb Gotch (14 n.o.) and Steven Gilmour (26 n.o.) played sensibly to get the Demons home with four overs up our sleeve. The win takes us into fourth place.

The 2nd XI maintained third place after chasing down their 198-run target. At 1/120 we appeared to be crusing thanks largely to top scorer Jim Gillard. The appeared to change after lunch as the sun created a few ‘plates’ on it and so did the game. Scoring became difficult he lower half of the order only Jack Paynter (29) got going and we fell across the line with two wickets in hand.

The Thirds struggled most of the day. LJ Edwards got 25 at the top of the order but through the middle only Chris Janik (58) threatened. He was well supported by Tristan Larter (29) and at 6/150 were within striking distance. Unfortunately the loss of Chris followed by two more before we were dismissed 38 short.

Defending 186 and with Prahran 4th XI resuming at 0/23, we needed to bowl and field well. The bowling was tight but, to put in mildly, the fielding was sloppy dropping five catches. Prahran’s run rate was well under two an over for most of the day but with wickets in hand and time on their dside, we were passed five down in the 91st over.
The 4ths hang on to fourth place whilst the thirds are just outside the eight.

The MCC Club XI had an exciting match against Old Caulfield Grammar White but suffered a slightly bitter loss, seeming in a winning position but being passed nine down with one ball remaining in their 40-over match.

In Twenty20 action on Sunday, there were mixed results again; the 2nds and 3rds being victorious and the 1sts and 4ths going down. The 1st XI were looking to be in a good position to grab victory required 25 from the last three overs with seven wickets in hand. The T20 game can change complexion quickly and it boiled down to us needing three from the last ball but we were unable to snatch victory. The 3rd XI win was built upon the club’s top scorer and only half-centurion of the day, Mitch Chadwick (76).

The scribe was fortunate to witness one of the more remarkable turnarounds at the 2nd XI match. Ringwood appeared to be in control of the match from the time they got the match underway by batting first. They had a good start and maintaineda healthy run-rate of around 8-an-over going for most of their innings. Darcy Daly and Matt Lovell’s second spell pulled things back a little and the 148 target in good conditions was a reasonable outcome.

The top of our order never got going and with only 37 runs scored off the first 10 overs the result appeared academic. Opportunities were given to a couple of our brighter young prospects. LJ Edwards didn’t need a second invitation to put the talent we’ve seen glimpses of on show. From the first ball he faced, he timed it where others struggled, hitting some lovely square drives on the up that found their way to the boundary and crisp drives down the ground. With the asking rate over 12 an over, winning wasn’t contemplated by most onlookers. A 20-run over by 17 yo LJ (four 4’s and two 2’s) brought that down to 53 off five, still a tall ask. It was disappointing to see Edwards denied his half-century but his 38-ball 49 runs breathed life back into the game. Mat Begbie (19 off 13) played smartly and one quick single that led to two sets of overthrows resulting in six runs kept the momentum going. Chris Janik (18 off 11) combined with Pat Smith (18 off 8) to the stage where we need 12 off the last over. Patty wound up and cracked the leggie into the new $25,000 electronic scoreboard for six that ‘went off’ like getting a free game at pinball (remember those days!!). Still needing one to tie and two to win, the last ball was cracked to wide mid-on for a comfortable two and a win that I defy anyone would have tipped half an hour earlier – probably sums up my Spring Carnival!

Summary scorecards – Round 6 v Prahran:
1st XI – Prahran 8/348(dec)
(S Sturrock 4/109) defeated by Melbourne 6/351 (R Cooper 150, S Dart 106, S Gilmour 26*, MJ Brown 25) at Albert Ground. 
2nd XI – Prahran 197 (WN Ryan 5/54, J Paynter 2/20) defeated by Melbourne 8/199 (J Gillard 55, P Petricola 37, J Paynter 29) at Toorak Park.
3rd XI – Prahran 9/199(dec) (J Graham 4/23, MC Tucker 3/24, C Janik 2/22) defeated Melbourne 161 (C Janik 58, T Larter 29, LJ Edwards 25) at Fawkner Park. 
4th XI – Melbourne 183 (M Hill 61, R Adams 35, D Minato 29) defeated by Prahran 5/184 at Como Park.

MCC Club XI cricket competition - Melbourne 7/165(cc) lost to Old Caulfield Grammar Blue 9/166 at Glen Huntly Park. 

Summary scorecards – Twenty20 Round 1 v Ringwood:
1st XI - Ringwood 7/119(cc)
(N Quinn 3/15, S Gilmour 2/23) defeated Melbourne 6/117(cc) (R Cooper 41, AR Keath 30) at Russell Lucas Oval. 
2nd XI – Ringwood 6/147(cc) (MK Lovell 2/29) defeated by Melbourne 6/148 (LJ Edwards 49) at Albert Ground. 
3rd Xl – Melbourne 3/154(cc) (M Chadwick 76, J Huddart 30, B Huf 28*) defeated Ringwood 9/127(cc) (Z Merrett 2/21, XJ Frawley 2/21, J Graham 2/24) at Russell Lucas Oval. 
4th Xl – Ringwood 4/155(cc) (SJ Walker 2/26) defeated Melbourne 6/144(cc) (A Farr 38, D Minato 33) at Albert Ground. 

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Premier Cricket Wrap
Demons with some work to do
Monday November 7, 2011

After the first day of the opening two-day round of the season, the Demons will have to play well next week if they are to gain the points in all grades. The 2nd XI appear best placed where we congratulate Will Ryan on taking his first ‘five for’ for the Demons. Will’s left arm-orthodox spinners helped dismiss the Prahran Two Blues for 197. Will was also not out at the crease at the close of play with his team 0/23 in reply.

The 1st XI met a stubborn Prahran and fought back after having 1/155 on the board against them. Four wickets to Sean Sturrock (pictured) helped peg back the Two Blues to 8/276 but we were unable to claim the last two wickets and must do so early next week with a minimum target of 321 already set.

The Thirds toiled hard for 80 overs to have the Two Blues 9/199 at stumps. Max Tucker (3/24 off 13 overs) and Justin Graham (4/23 off 15 overs) were the stand out bowlers and Chris Janik (2/22) also had tidy figures.

The 4th XI got off to a shaky start but recovered to make 183, Matt Hill top scoring with 61 and Ross Adams contributing a handy 35. They will be looking to make early inroads next week with Prahran having already knocked off 26 without loss.

On Sunday, the previously cancelled Twenty20 Round one matches against Ringwood will be played – 1st & 3rd XI’s at Jubilee Park, Ringwood and 2nd & 4th XI’s at the Albert. All matches are played on the main grounds, the 3rds & 4ths starting at 11.00am and the 1st & 2nd XI’s at 2.30pm.

Summary scorecards – Round 6 v Prahran:
1st XI - Prahran 8/321
(S Sturrock 4/109) v Melbourne at Albert Ground. 
2nd XI – Prahran 197 (WN Ryan 5/54, J Paynter 2/20) v Melbourne 0/23 at Toorak Park. 
3rd XI – Prahran 9/199 (J Graham 4/23, MC Tucker 3/24, C Janik 2/22) v Melbourne at Fawkner Park. 
4th XI – Melbourne 183 (M Hill 61, R Adams 35, D Minato 29) v Prahran 0/26 at Como Park.

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Premier Cricket Wrap
Dan's heroics get demons home
Wednesday November 1, 2011

Dan ‘Frankie’ Worrall could hardly have picked a better time to hit his first six his cricketing life (bar the backyard I expect). Playing in the country round against St Kilda at Moama, the 1st XI seemingly had the run chase well under control for most of the innings. However, when it came down to six to win with two balls remaining and Frankie on strike having just come to the crease, the few of us that were fortunate to be there were wondering where the winning runs might come from. A slice over cover, or a fortunate inside edge past the keeper and short fine leg???? Well you would have thought Frankie had played this shot a thousand times. Firstly a move onto the front foot (towards mid-on), a slight rocking back of his body weight, then a full swing of the bat that’s middle connected with the ball and sent it sailing a good distance over the stretched arms of the deep mid-wicket fieldsman for six! Game over!

The 2nd XI were involved in a similar match but successfully defended the Saints late charge for victory. The Friday night weather was a bit much for Fawkner Park and the Ross Gregory oval to withstand and the 3rd and 4th XI’s were washed out.

Back to Moama. St Kilda batted first in reasonable conditions given how early in the season it is. Steven ‘Happy’ Gilmour would have been disappointed by an early chance that went down but followed up by bowling him the next over. Good bowling by Happy and Nick Quinn had the Saints 3/26 and on the defensive for most of the innings. Dan Worrall’s 10 overs for 15 runs were outstanding and ensured the brakes were kept on. To St Kilda’s credit they hung in there and posted a competitive 5/182 from the allotted 50 overs.

The Demons made a cautious start but keeping wickets intact was the priority until Cooper was first to fall with the score on 43. Andrew Kent (46) batted determinedly but it was difficult to be overly aggressive without taking risk. Alex Keath (56) also put a high price on his wicket and was still there at 6/173 when it looked like the hard work had been done. His departure led to another and, from needing 12 off 16 balls, the situation deteriorated to where we needed 9 off the last over.

A couple of singles off the first two balls before first-gamer Matt Crouch lost his wicket trying to be creative. Sean Sturrock got off the mark to leave Frankie on strike. The rest is history!

Simon Dart, Dan Worrall and Matthew Crouch.There were a couple of significant milestones in this game, first of all, the debut by 16 year-old Matthew Crouch (pictured with Simon dart (left) and Dan Worrall (middle) )who had a credible game behind the stumps. Congratulations Matthew and we wish you all the best for a long and successful career at Melbourne).

At the other end of the scale, Simon Dart played his 250th Premier match. As we know, Simon started his career at the Demons before spending 10 seasons at Hawthorn-Monash University. He returned to Melbourne in 2009/10 being a key player in the 1st XI premiership season. Simon is 13th on the Premier Cricket all-time run scoring list with 8,570 at 44.17.

The 2nd XI, batting first, was forced to work hard for their runs in excellent conditions at the Albert Ground. Matt Brown (56) top scored and an enterprising 33 off 36 balls by Sam Brewin late in the innings helped the score past 200. Our bowlers made reasonable inroads into the top order 3/53 but the Saints steadied and they were able to keep wickets in hand as they neared our target. Playing his first 2nd XI game for the Demons, Matt Lovell sent down his 10 overs for 25. Chris Thompson and Aaron Boyle tightened things up in their second spells and edged St Kilda’s required run rate out. With five wickets in hand, the Saints needed 23 off three overs, then 18 off two and 12 off the last. It got down to six off three balls but we held on with two runs up our sleeve.

After the opening block of five one-day games, the 1st XI have climbed back to 7th after losing the first two and the 2nds are 3rd. having been washed out twice, the 3rds slipped to seventh and the 4ths are 3rd.

Two-day matches commence this weekend and we play Prahran over the next two Saturdays (1st XI at home).

Summary scorecards - Round 5 v St Kilda:
1st XI - St Kilda 5/182(cc) (S Gilmour 3/26) defeated by Melbourne 8/183 (A Keath 56, A Kent 46) at Moama. 
2nd XI – Melbourne 8/205 (M Brown 56, M Begbie 35, S Brewin 33*, P Petricola 25) defeated St Kilda 6/203(cc) at Albert Ground. 

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Premier Cricket Wrap
Fourth keep perfect record in tact and Firsts back on track
Monday October 24, 2011

Bruce Chirch handing over the Bruce Church Perpetual Trophy to MCC captain Andrew Kent.There were a couple of positive results out of a Saturday that was potentially going to be ruined by poor weather. The 1st XI had a convincing victory that put them back in the top half of the ladder (eighth); the 4th XI continued their unbeaten run. However, the 2nd XI incurred its first loss of the season and the 3rd XI were washed out without a ball being bowled.

Despite Friday’s rain and the Saturday morning drizzle, the 1st XI game at the Albert Ground started on time (Albert Ground curator Scott West is to be congratulated) and, in winning the toss, we asked the Hawks to bat first. Play was suspended during the 3rd over when the rain got ‘serious’ for an hour or so and the match was reduced to 30 overs a side when it did resume. The Demons bowled well and the Hawthorn innings never gained any momentum. The Demons had the services of state players Andrew McDonald (3/23) and Brad Hodge (47) who were the major contributors with ball and bat. The Hawks’ 9/102 off 30 overs was never going to be enough and, although we got them inside 17 overs, we might have been a tad disappointed to lose five wickets in retaining the Bruce Church Perpetual Trophy. It was great to see Bruce in attendance (pictured handing over the trophy to skipper Andrew Kent).

The Seconds also played a reduced match (35 overs) and Jim Gillard (44) made a solid contribution at the top of the order. We reached 2/90 but then collapsed to 8/107 before finishing with 127. Buoyed by clearing the ropes towards the end of the innings, Aaron Boyle grabbed three early wickets to have HMU 3/16 but there was little joy for the rest of the day as we were beaten by 6 wickets.

The 4th XI prevailed in an exciting finish of their 26-over a side match. Scoring wasn’t easy (so I’m told). Alistair McCooke (46) almost batted through the innings and the 55-run second wicket partnership he shared with Dion Minato (27) helped the team set a 110 run target. Logan Gray (3/17) and Julian Beard (3/28) made significant contributions with the ball but with seven runs to win with two overs to go and the opposition skipper set at the crease the game swung in the home team’s balance. ‘X’ Frawley bowled a terrific second last over and when the ball was thrown to Ben Davison, Hawthorn, who was nine down, needed four runs for victory. Two comfortable singles off the first two balls meant we were looking for a minor miracle. Pressure is a funny thing though. The Hawks no.11 played and missed at the next delivery and decided to do an ‘Alan Donald’ and took off, presumably to ‘pinch’ a bye. Only problem was that Demon keeper Matt Mitchell had taken the ball cleanly and ran up to the stumps and took the bails off with the batsman failing to regain his ground after being sent back.!

Yesterday, the MCC Club XI lost a hard fought battle against Old Xaverians by 14 runs.

Next week, our 1st XI travel to Moama to play St Kilda in the final of this season opening block of five one-day matches. The 2nd XI play at the Albert and the 3rd XI (Ross Gregory) and 4th XI (Fawkner Park) play at their usual venues.

Assuming next week’s matches are not washed out, the reserve day, Sunday November 13, will see the T20 Round 1 matches against Ringwood, washed out on October 2, played.

Summary scorecards - Round 4 v Hawthorn-Monash Uni:
1st XI - Hawthorn-Mon Uni 9/102(cc) (A McDonald 3/23) defeated by Melbourne 5/103 (B Hodge 47) at Albert Ground.
2nd XI - Melbourne 8 /127(cc) (J Gillard 44) defeated by Hawthorn-Mon Uni 4/128 (AJ Boyle 3/10) at Monash University #1 Oval.
3rd XI – Melbourne drew Hawthorn-Mon Uni at Fawkner Park.
4th XI - Melbourne 4/110 (cc) (A McCooke 46, D Minato 27) defeated Hawthorn-Mon Uni 108 (L Gray 3/17, J Beard 3/28) at Monash Uni #2 Oval.

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Premier Cricket Wrap
Ones off the mark
Monday October 17, 2011

There were several outstanding individual performances over the course of the weekend’s two rounds of one-day matches. Seb Gotch, in just his fourth 1st XI appearance, demonstrated the talent we all see in him by scoring his maiden Demon century and provided the backbone for a winning score. In the 4th XI, Liam ‘Sparkles’ McCarthy (yes, son of Flash) had a ‘day out’ and took a career best 6/42 to set up the 4th XI win and protect their unbeaten start to the season. On Saturday at the Albert, the 2nd XI appeared to be a little light on when scoring only 211 in near perfect batting conditions but all fears were set aside as Chris Thompson ploughed through the Lions line-up taking 6/24.

On Saturday the Demons took on Fitzroy Doncaster had three wins in the seconds, thirds and fourths and whilst the firsts fought it out until the last over, they were unable to make it a Demon day for the second week in a row. Batting first, we simply didn’t have enough contributors with the bat apart from Simon Dart’s 73 n.o. (100 balls) and a hand latter order contribution from Steven Gilmour (21 off 28 balls). The Lion’s got to 2/109 before we kept ourselves in the game by taking a few wickets; two by Nick Quinn and three by Dan Worrall. Rain set in for a period and reduced the match to 43 overs and a ‘moving’ Duckworth Lewis target that was eventually run down by Fitzroy Doncaster with three balls to spare.

The 2nd XI, batting first, lost wickets more regularly than you’d like before Mat Begbie (57) and Matthew Crouch (35) settled in with 74-run 5th wicket partnership. Justin Graham (18 n.o.) and Jack Paynter (21 n.o.) added 46 at a run a ball at the end to give the scorecard some respectability. Little did we know that Thommo was about to let loose and with Jack Paynter grapping three, the innings was wrapped up inside 21 overs.

The 3rds looked like they were in for an early afternoon once again after bowling the Lions out for 88. Steve Van Riet had the very tidy figures of 3 for off 7 and who knows how many wickets Blake Pearson (2 for 1 off 1.3 overs) might have taken over the last two weeks if he could get to bowl more than an over or two. The modest chase was less impressive, losing six wickets after LJ Edwards and Jon Huddart's 55-run second wicket partnership.

The Fourths were very mean in terms of what they let the Lions score off the bat boosted their challenge by contributing 32 sundries (29 wides). Pat Walker (4/26) was the pick of the bowlers. At 3/49, the game was by no means over however Matt Hill (51 inc four 4’s, two 6’s and 2/8) completed an excellent all round day and captain Ash Farr (35 n.o.) also saw his team over the line.

On Sunday, the 1st XI welcomed stars Brad Hodge and Andrew McDonald back into the line up. However it was 18 y.o. Seb Gotch who grabbed his opportunity at the top of the order. Remarkably (if you’ve seen the shots he can play) he hit only three 4’s and a six from the 148 balls he faced to score 120. After a couple of low scores, I’m sure Seb was feeling the weight of expectation (his as much as anyone else’s) so it was a fantastic effort to convert this ‘start’ into a big score. Hodgey (35) helped set things up with up a handy 85-run opening partnership. Andrew Kent (48) just fell sort of a half century and Andrew McDonald displayed great power and timing with 44 off 21 balls that included two 4’s and three 6’s. The final tally of 7/281 was well beyond North’s reach with spinners Will Ryan and Sean Sturrock each taking two wickets.

The 2nd XI looked very shaky at 3/8 however Max Tomkinson (86 off 110 balls, 12 4’s), back in the 2’s after making way for Hodge and McDonald, teamed up with Mat Begbie (95 off 117 balls, six 4’s), in a 166-run fourth wicket partnership. Justin Graham (4/43) and Chris Janik (3/31) held the kangaroo run chase at bay.
The 3rd XI, so dominant in their first two matches, had a reality check. A 177 run chase would have seemed well within their reach however, after getting to 2/80, the loss of top scorer LJ Edwards (run out for 40), triggered a regular loss of wickets and we fell 25 runs short.

The 4th XI held there good form and bowled out North in final (45th) over for 147 thanks to a terrific display of medium pace bowling from Liam McCarthy (6.42 off 8.1). The batsmen honoured his efforts by getting the target four down with opener Alistair McCooke (26), Dion Minato (49), Matt Hill (32) and Eddie Extras (27) providing the bulk of the score.

The MCC Club XI had its first match on the weekend going down to Old Geelong CC (scores below). You will now be able to find the scores from all MCC Club XI competition matches on My Cricket from Monday mornings.

One-day action continues in round four played next Saturday against Hawthorn-Monash University where the 1st XI will be defending the Bruce Church Perpetual trophy at the Albert Ground.

Country Round

This year’s country round will be played on Saturday October 29. A change from the traditional new year date is due to the Melbourne Stars v Renegades Big Bash League derby being played on Saturday January 7. A couple of date options were considered but choices were limited by where the one-day rounds sat in the fixture.

St Kilda Cricket Club will be hosting the MCC at Moama Recreation Reserve.

Summary scorecards – Round 2 v Fitzroy Doncaster:
1st XI - Melbourne 7/170(cc)
(S Dart 73*) defeated by Fitzroy Doncaster 8/157 under Duckworth Lewis - reduced to 43 overs (D Worrall 3/41, N Quinn 2/31) at Schramms Reserve #1.
2nd XI – Melbourne 6/211 (M Begbie 57, M Crouch 35) defeated Fitzroy Doncaster 56 (C Thompson 6/24, J Paynter 3/15) at Albert Ground.
3rd XI - Fitzroy Doncaster 88 (S Van Riet 3/9, BR Pearson 2/1) defeated by Melbourne 6/89 (J Huddart 26, LJ Edwards 25) at Schramms Reserve #2 Oval.
4th XI – Fitzroy Doncaster 9/129 (PJ Walker 4/26, M Hill 2/8) defeated by Melbourne 3/132 (M Hill 51*, A Farr 35*) at Fawkner Park. 

Summary scorecards – Round 3 v North Melbourne:
1st XI – Melbourne 7/281(cc)
(S Gotch 120, A Kent 48, A McDonald 44, B Hodge 35) defeated North Melbourne 8/187(cc) (WN Ryan 2/24, S Sturrock 2/33) at Albert Ground.
2nd XI - Melbourne 9/233(cc) (M Begbie 95, M Tomkinson 86) defeated North Melbourne 9/201(cc) (J Graham 4/43, C Janik 3/31) at Harry Trott Oval.
3rd XI – North Melbourne 6/177(cc) defeated Melbourne 152 (LJ Edwards 40, T Jackson 26, B Huf 25) at Fawkner Park.
4th XI - North Melbourne 147 (LB McCarthy 6/42 XJ Frawley 2/20) defeated by Melbourne 4/148 (D Minato 49, M Hill 32*, A McCooke 26) at JJ Holland Park. 

MCC Club XI Cricket Competition: 
Old Geelong Cricket Club 191 (P Rathod 4/31, P Varney 2/41, K Bowden 1/11) defeated Melbourne 121 (K Bowden 39, C Patten 30, M Newkirk 22) at Geelong Grammar School - Chapel Oval.

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Premier Cricket Wrap
Fourths find X factor
Monday October 10, 2011

It was one of those moments that usually only happens in your dreams. To set the scene – last ball of the day, four to tie, five (or six) to win. You are facing. A ‘length’ ball drifts slightly onto your pads. You swing the bat at it and thump, right out of the middle, it sails over the fence for six and you are mobbed by your teammates. That is what happened to Xavier Frawley at our 4th XI match at Dandenong on the weekend to bring home the points.

The 2nd and 3rd XI had more comfortable victories whilst the 1st XI fell agonisingly short in the club’s quest to register a ‘Demon Day’ in the opening round of the Premier Cricket season.

Taking on the 1st XI reigning Premiers, Dandenong batted first in conditions that can only be described as outstanding given the lead in weather of the past couple of weeks. Nick Quinn gained the first breakthrough in the second over with his first delivery of the season. Debutant Dan Worrall (3/36) claimed his maiden scalp by dismissing the Dandenong captain with the score on 50. Unfortunately there were two more good partnerships and Dandenong opener Brett Forsyth brought up a century, all of which led us to the Panthers post a challenging score of 246.

Seb Gotch started the season in a manner he’d rather forget (sorry Seb, first ball) and the innings progressed steadily but with too regular loss of wickets. The run rate climbed to six an over – not unachievable with Andrew Kent (90) at the crease. Rob Cooper (22) and Max Tomkinson (28) upped the tempo but when Andrew was dismissed with the score on 200, we were running short on wickets and balls remaining. Matthew Brown (28 off 18 balls, three fours and a six) brought us tantalising close to an unlikely win but with his dismissal off the first ball of the last over and still needing eight runs, we were unable to bridge the gap.

Out at Shepley Oval, the 2nd XI, under the guidance of new skipper Ash Middlin, competed really hard and came out on top. All six bowlers did their job. Opening bowler Chris Thompson (2/24 off 10 overs) was the tidiest and Chris Janik (3/21) ‘got the figures’. In the chase, Will Ryan (79 off 123 balls, five 4’s and two 6’s) stepped up to open the batting and was the star of the innings, Keeper/bastman Matthew Crouch (23 n.o.) finished things off for us.

The 3rd XI, playing back at Fawkner Park this year, had the Panthers ‘in all sorts’. Hong Kong CC visitor Max Tucker (4/16) caused havoc and with Steven Van Riet (4/17) also getting two wickets in his first spell, Dandenong were 3 for 8, then 6 for 24. Remarkably, there was a 60-run 7th wicket partnership before Blake Pearson (2/13) broke through then helped clean up the tail. We had one unlucky casualty before Darcy Daly (53 n.o.) and Mitch Chadwick (26 n.o.) chalked up the win in the 18th over.

The 4th XI bowled first and Xavier Frawley started his day in the field well enough capturing 3/20. New Demon Ben Davison grabbed two wickets as did Liam McCarthy but 42 extras boosted the Dandenong target to 175. Alistair McCooke (27) opened up with Scott Walker (22) and set a solid opening foundation of 48. Dion Minato (39) moved things along as did skipper Ash Farr (22). The run rate hovered at that 8 or 9 an over, all helping to set the scene for that last ball off the where ‘Frawls’ helped it into the trees for an unlikely win.

Next weekend there are two one-day games. On Saturday we play Fitzroy-Doncaster (2nds and 4ths at home) and on Sunday we meet North Melbourne (1st XI at home).

Summary scorecards - Round 1 v Dandenong:
1st XI –Dandenong 6/246
(D Worrall 3/36) defeated Melbourne 9/244 (A Kent 90, MJ Brown 28, M Tomkinson 28) at Albert Ground. 
2nd XI – Dandenong 9/155 (C Janik 3/21 C Thompson 2/24) defeated by Melbourne 5/159 (WN Ryan 79) at Shepley Oval 
3rd XI – Melbourne 1/90 (DP Daly 53*, M Chadwick 26*) defeated Dandenong 89 (MC Tucker 4/16, S Van Riet 4/17, BR Pearson 2/13) at Fawkner Park. 
4th XI – Dandenong 175 (XJ Frawley 3/20, LB McCarthy 2/23, B Davison 2/24) defeated by Melbourne 8/177 (D Minato 39, A McCooke 27) at Wilson Oval.

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Premier Cricket Update
Friday September 30, 2011

Please be aware that the Premier Cricket Twenty20 Round 1 matches scheduled for Sunday October 2 have been cancelled due the impact the recent run of bad weather has had on the grounds.