MEN’S PREMIER (QUARTER FINALS)
1st XI v DANDENONG
GOOD BOWLING AND DISAPPOINTING DISMISSALS SEES DEMONS ROLLED FOR 87 AND EARLY EXIT FROM FINALS
Melbourne won the toss and Cameron White elected to bat first on a good Albert Ground wicket. However, from the outset Dandenong’s pace bowlers were on top and at 5/34 Melbourne was reeling. At this point Meyrick Buchanan was working hard to restore the innings, however, when his was the sixth wicket to fall for a determined 36, the score was on 71 and from that point the innings folded - the Demons all out for 87. Only two other players reached double figures – Blake Thomson 12 and Jackson Koop not out, also on an even dozen. The bowling figures of the Panthers’ opening bowler James Nanopoulos 3/7 (10) emphasised Dandenong’s dominance with the ball. His 37 wickets @12.00 for the season led the competition.
Melbourne took the field with spirited endeavour and had both Dandenong openers back in the pavilion early – the score 2/2. At 4/31 the Demons were still in the game. However, only one further wicket fell by the time the Panthers reached their target score and at 5/90 Melbourne’s 1st XI season was over. Fergus O’Neill was the only multiple wicket taker for the Demons and his tidy figures of 2/27(10) further enhanced his reputation as an up-and-coming bowling all-rounder.
It was a bitterly disappointing end to a strong season in which the team had finished second on the ladder and had high hopes and expectations. The reality was that our batting had struggled for consistency at times. Blake Thomson had a terrific season, posting 636 runs @63.60 to finish 9th on the competition’s run table. Perhaps tellingly, our next best were Jack Harper (353 runs @27.15, 45th most runs for the competition) and Campbell Kellaway (310 runs @25.83, 55th on the list) – the only other players to surpass 300 for the season.
By contrast, our bowlers had a greater spread of contributors with four players taking 20 wickets or more: Kyle Williamson (33 @14.67 – 4th in the competition), Fergus O’Neill (29 @ 15.86 - 6th), Jack Prestwidge (24 @ 10.46 from 11 games – 15th) and Kieran Elliott (20 @ 14.60 from 11 games – 35th).
As is often the case, several players missed chunks of the season due to Australian, State and BBL duties. While this affected the line-up for periods of the season, it allowed for the promotion and development of a number of our emerging players. In the final wash up, however, a bad hour or so on Saturday brought our season to an end and this will no doubt steel our resolve for 2021/22.
Interestingly, three of the top four teams in the 1st XI bowed out, with two teams in each of the 2nds and 3rds and one in the 4ths also defeated.
2nd XI v RICHMOND
MELBOURNE DEFENDS MODERATE SCORE WITH A GREAT TEAM BOWLING PERFORMANCE AND WIN IN FINAL OVER
Batting first, Melbourne was in early strife at 3/35 when Jack Craig walked to the crease and despite losing skipper Peter Petricola with the score on 47, he went on to make a committed 27 and to some degree, stabilised the innings. However, at 5/71 there was much work to be done. Marcus Jackman and Will Thompson both dug in and worked hard to reach double figures, posting 17 and 14, respectively. Will’s was the 8th wicket to fall at 112 and then the tail stepped up to make valuable contributions – Zac Mevissen (23), Michael Cesarios (18 n.o.) and Glenn Hannah (12 n.o. off 12 balls – his highest score in Premier Cricket!) ensuring the team batted out their overs to reach 9/159 at the close. The fight and resilience of the lower order would later prove critical.
Despite the absence of paceman Zac Mevissen (hamstring) for the second innings, a great team bowling performance had wickets falling at regular intervals and with Richmond 9/117, a Melbourne victory was in sight. However, a last wicket partnership against the flow got the Tigers to 151 and needing 8 runs to tie (and progress through to the semi-final as the higher ranked side) off the final over. Kieran Elliott bowled a dot ball followed by an above-waist full toss which was superbly saved by Will Thompson and 2 runs conceded. A further run came off the next ball before Kieran struck, snaring the final wicket caught behind by Will Thomson. It was Will’s 5th catch for the match. Kieran 3/28 (9.3) shared the bowling honours with Marcus Jackman 3/47 (10) and they were well supported by Glenn Hannah 2/19 (10), Michael Cesarios 1/20 (10) and Jack Craig 1/35 (10). All bowlers took a wicket in what was an excellent win.
3rd XI v PRAHRAN
MELBOURNE TAKE 5 WICKETS IN FINAL OVER AND WIN BY A RUN! TOM CESARO TAKES 5/29 IN A MAGNIFICENT VICTORY
A fine opening stand of 88 by Charlie Holmes and Rory Freeman - both making 52 - laid the foundation for Melbourne to make a competitive score. However, although batting out their overs, the Demons struggled and lost 9/86 from the point of losing their first wicket to be 9/174 at the compulsory closure. Three run outs did not help our cause and the total felt a touch light.
In reply, Prahran’s openers (including former Demon Travis Jackson) put on 50 for the first wicket. Melbourne pacemen Phil Halbish and Aaron Boyle were unusually expensive in their opening spells but fought back later to make important contributions.
A 4th wicket partnership of 42 saw Prahran comfortably placed at 3/170 with one over remaining, needing just 4 to win.
Enter Tom Cesaro.
He effected a run out at the non-striker’s end to remove the established Giles (who was on 52) before conceding three runs off the second ball, which saw the visitors reach 4/173 and needing just 2 to win. Fortunately the swimming instructor from Reservoir was familiar with being thrown in the deep end! He had the incoming batsman caught behind by Alex Pellin for a golden duck before Charlie Holmes ran out the number 7 - also for a golden. Boyle caught the other established batsman (Seth, who was on 22) to create a scenario of 1 ball remaining, still 2 runs to win. An outside edge or misfield or just a decent shot could prove the difference between progressing to the semi or curtains for the season.
It was remarkable that the team had managed to claw its way back into the match to create the opportunity to win it off the last ball. Long have coaches and captains implored their charges to “take the game deep” and “remain in the contest” and here it was on display. Cesaro, 21 years of age and in his fourth season with Melbourne since crossing from Bundoora CC, completed an incredible over by executing a perfect yorker to catch McPhee dead in front and jubilant scenes ensued. Tom’s 3 wickets in 4 balls was only the third occasion a bowler has done so in Melbourne’s 3rd XI. His outstanding figures of 5/29 (9), the opening batting partnership and great fielding contributed to what was a most memorable victory. 5/3 off the last over has left many of us still shaking our heads in smiling disbelief.
4th XI v NORTHCOTE
A CENTURY 3rd WICKET PARTNERSHIP BY BRENDAN REDDELL AND ALISTAIR McCOOKE SETS MELBOURNE UP TO WIN COMFORTABLY
Brendan and Alistair came together with the score at 2/19 and their partnership ended at 121 when Alistair was out for a hard-fought 55 (5 x 4s and a six). It was a timely captain’s knock. Brendan continued on and his was the 5th wicket to fall at 174, making a fine 75 (8 x 4s and a six) off 111 balls – an innings of substance. Josh Benson with 38 and Hugh Hyslop (13 n.o.) pushed the total beyond 200 and Melbourne’s compulsory closure score was 6/217.
Will O’Brien broke through in the first over, which had Northcote 1/10. The Dragons then put on 104 before this 2nd wicket partnership was broken by Stewart McCooke. His two unassisted wickets of their top scorers then put the pressure on the incoming batsmen to lift the run rate and had wickets falling regularly. O’Brien 3/33 (3) and McCooke 2/36 (9) were the Demons’ multiple wicket takers and single wickets fell to Tom Reid, Campbell Griffiths and Trent Thompson. Northcote did bat out their 45 overs but at 9/186, were well short of their target score. It was a comparatively comfortable 31-run win to Melbourne.
MEN’S PREMIER SEMI FINAL DETAILS
Whilst the 1st XI unfortunately got knocked out, it’s still a big week of finals for the Demons with three teams in action, including hosting two at our home venues.
Please note the earlier start times due to daylight savings, with the 2nd XI to begin at 9am and the 3rd and 4th XI’s to begin at 10am.