Melbourne falls short of massive run chase

ANOTHER round of the Kookaburra Men’s Premier Firsts competition has wrapped, with nine games taking place around (or near enough) metropolitan Melbourne. There were some big scores with the weather producing ideal conditions as the players hit the field for the fourth time this season. The highest score of the round belonged to Carlton, who flirted with the idea of making 300 in a 50 over match, which would have been astounding. However, the most entertaining match took place at Albert Ground, where St Kilda held on to their top spot on the ladder, despite an impressive innings from Melbourne.

Melbourne (9/237) def by. St Kilda (6/256)

The league’s ladder-leaders proved their deservingness of this position, holding off a fast finishing Melbourne side to emerge victorious by 19 runs at Albert Ground on Saturday afternoon. Melbourne won the toss and opted to bowl first, sending the St Kilda openers out to the crease perhaps earlier than they would have liked.

St Kilda opener Michael De Iacovo was certainly up to the task, coming into the team after a number of impressive performances at lower level. In a commanding display, the batsman produced a team-high 91 runs from 116 balls. This performance also included 12 four’s, showcasing the aggressiveness of the opener, who set his team up with a crucial performance, given his fellow opener was dismissed for just four runs. Also assisting the team’s total was top-order batsman Ed Newman, who came in at three and produced 64 runs, as the side finished with an impressive 256.

There was plenty of pressure on Melbourne heading out to bat, given the size of the total produced by St Kilda. However, they looked dangerously close to producing a remarkable run chase, but fell just 19 runs short, with the over total their biggest enemy. The hero of the day nearly came in the form of Campbell Kellaway, who came into bat third and delivered a game-high 130 runs after facing just 152 balls. He was almost able to carry his side to an upset but was unfortunately caught before he could finish the job.

The bowling attack of St Kilda was ultimately the difference, proving both damaging and economical when Melbourne was at the crease. The duo of Will Lovell and Todd Murphy was able to tear apart Melbourne’s batsmen, with the pair taking three runs each and combining for two-thirds of St Kilda’s dismissals. Lovell also took the crucial wicket of Kellaway, who threatened to end up a match winner.

The win sees St Kilda maintain their spot on top of the ladder, with three wins and a draw coming from their four matches. This was also a crucial result for the ladder-leaders, who will be looking to hold off a Carlton side that is hot on their tail in second place. The loss sees Melbourne slide down to fifth spot with a record of two wins, a loss and a draw next to their name as they approach the fifth round of action.

Moving across the league, Northcote were able to chase down the score set by Fitzroy Doncaster in the first innings, claiming a three wicket victory at Bill Lawry Oval on Saturday afternoon. Fitzroy Doncaster produced an admirable score of 224, despite their openers only combining for 39. However an impressive partnership from Liam Banthorpe and Liam Smith drove the side to a defendable score. However, the class of Northcote shone through, a charge which was led by the fact that their entire top six was able to reach double digits when at the crease, a feat that not all teams can claim.

Moving to Toorak Park, Prahran had no problem claiming a five-wicket win over the Camberwell Magpies on Saturday afternoon. The Magpies batted first and were only able to produce 163, largely due to a terrific spell from Prahran bowler Sashin Garber, who finished with figures of 4/30 from his 10 overs. When the Prahran batsmen came out to the crease, it took them just 38 overs to chase down the Magpies’ score, courtesy of a 66* run innings from Jake Hancock, who proved a winning factor.

At Geelong Cricket Oval, Richmond were able to chase down the total set by Geelong to claim a four-wicket victory on Saturday afternoon. Geelong were able to surpass 200 in the first innings, with three batsmen scoring over 40. However, they were unable to convert this effort with the ball in hand, despite an impressive spell from bowler Joshua Larkin, who took two wickets in his five overs. Instead, it was the Richmond duo of Yash Pednekar and Andrew Humphries that proved match-winning, with the pair each delivering over 60 runs to guide their side to an impressive triumph.

Melbourne University claimed their third win of the season on Saturday afternoon, taking down the Greenvale Kangaroos at Greenvale Reserve. When Kangaroo opener Joshua Trembearth scored 74 to lead his side to a total of 209 runs in the first innings, the side looked a fair chance to claim a victory with some handy bowling. However, a remarkable performance from Melbourne University’s Noah Cross ended up proving the difference, with the opener smacking an insane 107 from just 90 balls, as he drove his side to quite a fast victory, with the winners only needing 36 overs to chase down a score in excess of 200.

A flawless performance from their openers saw Footscray defeat Casey-South Melbourne by 10 wickets at Mervyn G Hughes Oval on Saturday afternoon. Batting first, Casey-South Melbourne set the required total when they were bowled all out for 193 in the 49th over (this came on the back of a remarkable performance from Ashley Armstrong, who delivered numbers of 2/14 after two overs). Footscray opening batsmen Dylan Brasher and Daniel Sartori had no trouble producing match-winning performances, with the duo combining for 194 without conceding a wicket to drive their side to victory.

Ringwood were unable to chase down the massive score set by Carlton, copping a 93-run loss at Russell Lucas Oval on Saturday afternoon. Carlton set a whopping score of 286 from their 50 over innings, largely due to three players scoring at least 57 runs. It would take a miracle to chase down a score of this calibre, and unfortunately Ringwood could not produce one. The side was only able to score 193 runs (which is still reasonably commendable in this format) and fell short of one of the all-time victories, largely due to the bowling effort of Thomas Smyth, who took 3/26.

At J Coburn Oval, Dandenong’s powerful opening innings produced them a 19-run victory over Frankston Peninsula on Saturday. The batting combination of Tom Donnell (66 runs) and Joshua Slater (80 runs) drove Dandenong to a satisfying total of 235. Frankston Peninsula battled hard, but simply could not surpass this total, falling short at a finished score of 216 due to an outstanding bowling performance from Matthew Wilson, who took five wickets.

The final match of the round also saw the biggest margin, with Kingston Hawthorn claiming a whopping 107-run victory over Essendon at Walter Galt Oval on Saturday afternoon. It was a terrific performance from the victors with both bat and ball in hand. Remarkably, no Kingston Hawthorn batsman scored over 53 in a true testament to the team performance the side delivered on the weekend. The side will surely prove a confidence boost for the side moving forward as they continue their charge up the ladder.

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