2021/22 Men’s Premier Cricket Wrap: Essendon
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 is now time to kick off the finalists in this series, as we put the Essendon Bombers under the microscope for season 2021/22. After a slow start to their campaign, the Bombers managed to storm home in the back half of the season and produce some terrific performances. They lifted with bat and ball and managed to compete and even beat some of the competition’s best sides.
With the standings tightening up in the latter rounds, Essendon took full advantage of the drop in form from some of their peers, and managed to sneak into the top eight in the final few games of the year. Despite being eliminated in the first week of finals, it was still a promising year from the Bombers, who showed excellent resilience in their path to the postseason.
After losing their first three games of the year, the Bombers finally got on the board with a win over the Magpies, but they faced an uphill climb in their quest to rise up the standings again. Things really turned around in Round 10, as they began to get on a bit of a roll. From there, Essendon lost just one of its final six games, and managed to sneak into eighth place, where they were defeated by Footscray in the elimination final.
With Richmond’s momentum starting to build, Essendon entered its clash with the Tigers as the underdog. The Bombers had taken down some of the lower-ranked sides heading in, but needed to be at their best if they were to get the win here. It was a season-defining victory from Essendon, with the win set up by a terrific showing with ball in hand. They dismissed the Richmond batting order for just 132 runs, which was a certainly an achievable target.
Some of Essendon’s finest wins came as a result of their bowling lineup firing, and it was often set up by the efforts of Cameron McClure. While he only featured in 10 games, his impact was surely felt. With season best figures of 4/13, McClure showed how damaging he can be, while conceding less than four runs an over, so he did not sacrifice his economy in the chase for wickets. The team lifted when he was at his best, and he played a key role in the team’s second-half surge.
There was no true dominance with bat in hand throughout the 2021/22 season, so this is the main area that will need to be addressed in the offseason. Rarely did the side surpass 220 runs, which is considered a winning score, so they will need to bolster their arsenal on the batting front if they are to take the next step when the upcoming season kicks off.