Cross-town clash headlines big round of action

THE weekend has finally arrived, which means so has the latest batch of games for the Victoria Men’s Premier Firsts Cricket competition. The league will be hosting its Round 8 of action this weekend, with plenty of spots inside the top-eight well and truly up for grabs. Last round saw some thrilling matches and some impressive individual performances around the grounds, as the shape of the standings continued to change on a weekly basis. This round should see this trend carry on, with some extremely exciting matchups set to take place.

The first match of the round will see the Camberwell Magpies welcome St Kilda to Harry Trott Oval when the two sides go head-to-head on Saturday. The Magpies face a tough task given their slow start to the year, but this competition has seen some serious upsets so far this season. Camberwell have won just one of their first six matches, but will be looking to draw on the performance of the Greenvale Kangaroos a couple of weeks ago, who were able to upset Carlton with a big win. However, St Kilda have been far and away the best side to start the year, and will take some beating given their recent form.

The next match of round 8 sees Dandenong travel up to Windy Hill to take on Essendon as the two sides prepare to do battle on Saturday. This will be a match between two sides currently outside the top eight, but the stakes will still be reasonably high. Essendon will be looking to counteract their slow start to the year and claim their second win of the year. They will need to improve with bat in hand, given they have score the second-least runs this season. Dandenong sit just outside the eight in ninth place and will be eager to sneak up a few spots with a win this weekend, and they will absolutely fancy their chances.

Moving across the grounds now, Fitzroy Doncaster are preparing to play host to Kingston Hawthorn as the two sides get set to face off at Schramms Reserve on Saturday. This is certainly shaping up to be an interesting matchup, given there is just one win separating these two sides. Fitzroy Doncaster have emerged victorious in two of their first six games and will be looking at this match as an opportunity to sneak up the standings. Their opponents in Kingston Hawthorn are a few spots below, having won just one match for the season, and will be looking to square up the ledger with a win here.

Over at Mervyn G Hughes Oval, two sides enjoying contrasting seasons will lock horns when Prahran take on Footscray on Saturday. Footscray have played their way into the top half of the ladder, currently occupying fifth spot on the ladder with four wins and two losses to start their 2021/22 campaign. Of the top eight teams, they are one of the most economical with ball in hand, with most of the teams around them conceding more runs throughout the first six rounds, so they will be looking to continue this pattern. Prahran have won just two of their first six outings and will be eager to cause an upset and sneak up the standings.

Moving south-east now, Frankston Peninsula will be gearing up to play host to Carlton as the teams prepare for their clash at AH Butler Oval on Saturday. Following their shock loss to the Kangaroos, Carlton were able to get their season back on track with a win in round 7. They will be keen to rebuild another winning streak, but must be cautious given how easily Greenvale were able to turn the tables. This will be playing on the mind of Frankston Peninsula as well heading into the clash, given Carlton are certainly seen as beatable now.

The next match of the round will take place south of the city, with Casey-South Melbourne heading down to Geelong Cricket Ground, where they will take on Geelong on Saturday. The two teams are enjoying somewhat similar seasons, with Casey-South Melbourne sustaining three losses from six matches, while Geelong have suffered four themselves. The visitors are currently inside the top eight, but there are plenty of sides around that mark looking for an opportunity to jump a few spots themselves, so this should be a tight contest.

The competition is set to be treated to a cross-town battle, with Melbourne and Melbourne University set to lock horns at Albert Ground on Saturday. The rivalry will resume this weekend and is set to be the match of the round, with both teams playing some good cricket so far this season. Both of these sides are well and truly inside the top eight and will be looking to not only claim the win for their own ladder position, but also for bragging rights in what should be a cracker of a contest.

The penultimate match of the round will see yet another top-eight clash, with Northcote and Richmond set to do battle at Bill Lawry Oval on Saturday. Northcote have been one of the competition’s stronger sides to start the season, losing just one of their first six clashes, and will be looking to keep in touch with the top of the standings with another win this weekend. On the other hand, Richmond have just snuck into the top eight, sitting in the final spot of the top half of the ladder. They will be eager to boost themselves further up the standings but will need to bring their best to cause a boilover in this match.

The final match of the round will see the Greenvale Kangaroos travel to Russell Lucas Oval to take on Ringwood on Saturday. The Kangaroos were unable to back up their impressive upset victory over Carlton the following week, but regardless of this, they have still shown that they have the capability with both bat and ball to take down any side they face. Ringwood will still be quite confident heading into this clash, and will be looking to use this match as an opportunity to get their record for the season above the current 50% win rate.

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