2021/22 Men’s Premier Cricket Wrap: Melbourne University
WITH the Victorian Men’s Premier Cricket competition wrapped after an entertaining 2021/22 campaign, it is time to reflect on the season that was. Each team had a different journey over the last few months, so we take a look at how each side fared over the past six months.
It was a season full of promise for Melbourne University, given how strongly they started their campaign. They were stationed inside the top four for much of the first half of the 2021/22 season, and looked a genuine contender in the opening weeks. With a strong mix in their batting and bowling attacks, University were proving a tough team to conquer. However, that form ended up dropping off in the second half of the season, and they began to slip down the ladder. A record of six wins and eight losses was only good enough for 11th spot – two wins outside of finals, which was a disappointing way to finish the season.
They burst out of the gates, downing Richmond in the opening round in pretty convincing fashion. It was the best possible way to kick off their 2021/22 campaign, as they announced their intent early and soon emerged as a genuine contender for the flag come season’s end. The strong form continued over the next month, sitting nicely in the top four as the season reached the halfway point. However, they ended up on a fair losing streak in the back half of the fixture and their placing began to dwindle. University dropped out of the eight in the last half of the season, and could not conjure a winning streak in time to get back in.
It is hard to go past their Round 2 triumph over Richmond when discussing their most impressive feat. After the weather caused the Round 1 fixture to be cancelled, University ended up opening their season against a Richmond side that was set for big things in 2021/22. Despite these predictions, it was Melbourne who got the job done, producing a terrific performance at the crease. There were plenty of players finishing with double-digits in the runs column, and their score of 227 was enough in the end.
In a year where the team’s form fluctuated a bit more than they would have liked, batsman Andrej Yaksender was a pillar of consistency. Whenever the team needed a steadying presence, he was able to head out to the crease and deliver a composed performance. Yaksender was even able to notch a season-high total of 81 as at times carried the batting order. With a number of vital outings, he was far and away the standout for the 2021/22 season for Melbourne University.
The biggest downfall for University – particularly in the back half of the season – was their lack of damage with ball in hand. Too many times, a solid performance at the crease was brought undone when they could not prevent the opposition from cruising to a winning score. Expect some recruiting to come in the bowling department, and if that output can match that of their batting, they should return to their early season form.