The MCC second and third elevens won their respective Premier Cricket finals on Sunday, while our Fourth XI was just two wickets away from making it a hat-trick.
The Second XI defeated Geelong by 207 runs at Geelong Cricket Ground, while the Third XI achieved a six-wicket victory over St Kilda at the Albert Ground.
The Fourth XI, meanwhile, had to be content with runners-up in their drawn much against the higher-ranked Northcote at Camberwell Sports Ground.
SUMMARY SCORECARDS – PREMIER CRICKET FINALS
MCC 417 (Begbie 151, Ryan 51, Paynter 43*, Petricola 34, Foss 3/69, Alford 2/47)
Geelong 211 (Harrison 76, Condy 71, Ibbs 34, Graham 5/59, Paynter 4/18).
St Kilda 248 (Zayler 105, Molan 45, Lovell 3/51)
MCC 4/250 (Janik 67*, Chadwick 66*, Tomkinson 54)
MCC 8/337 dec. (Frawley 102*, Van Riet 61, Minato 44, Griffiths 35*, Sansonetti 3/67)
Northcote 8/276 (Westland 112, Hashmi 41, Maratos 38, Brandon-Jones 30, Frawley 3/33)
On a weekend where it is all about teams achieving the ultimate, there were a number of outstanding individual performances.
In the Second XI, Matthew Begbie opened the batting and five hours later departed with a stunning 151 against his name, scored off just 234 balls (18 fours, three 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 thwart an early Geelong challenge.
In the Fourths, Xavier Frawley played an innings of a 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 MCC top score 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.
Playing at Geelong against Geelong, the MCC Second XI was welcomed by what was described as perfect 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 Begbie prior to lunch to set up the base for a big score. Several other batsmen had handy partnerships with Begbie, the best of which was with Jack Paynter when they added 80 for the fourth wicket in just 39 minutes.
Begbie was eventually sixth out with the score on 322 in the 78th over. We then moved to 8/383 at stumps. With 10 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 were 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 3/6 from 18 balls, split by another wicket to Graham, the game was as good as over. Geelong lost their last nine wickets for 57 and the flag was ours.
The Third XI, also playing in perfect conditions at the Albert Ground, bowled first. 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 Fourth XI and their attempt at taking the 10 Northcote wickets they needed for victory. This was after they declared their first innings closed on the overnight score of 8/337, having earlier been precariously placed at 7/140.
Dion Minato (44 off 45 balls) was the early pacesetter but we were a tenuous 5/112 at lunch having also lost skipper Ash Farr for 27. Handy twenties to Sam Brewin and Alistair McCooke took us to that 7/140.
Steven van Riet (61 off 127 balls) was joined by Xavier Frawley. 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 Van Riet was out with his first MCC half-century against his name.
Kane Griffiths (35 n.o. off 49) then teamed with Frawley and a late flurry saw the score fly past 300. Frawley'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. 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 and an LBW appeal gaining approval.
It came down to needing two wickets with the last nine balls, but Northcote was good enough to hold on.
Xavier Frawley collected three wickets during the day and with his century, was awarded the man-of-the-match.