2021/22 Premier Cricket Wrap: Geelong
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.
After a less-than-convincing start to the season, the Geelong Cricket Club managed to finish the year in style and grab seventh spot. The Cats displayed a fair level of inconsistency to start their campaign, and were unable to get a winning streak going. If that pattern continued, they were a big chance to drop out of finals contention.
However, their work with bat in hand lifted in the back end of the campaign, and they managed to string together a few wins to close out the home-and-away portion of the season, and snuck into finals in the last couple of weeks. The Cats were bested by an in-form Richmond side in the elimination final, but will take a lot out of the success they produced this season.
Geelong kicked off its 2021/22 campaign with a tough loss to Footscray, with a lack of damage with the ball proving costly. From there, the Cats were reasonably inconsistent, and could not rise up the standings as their triumphs were often backed up by a defeat. However, in the final six rounds, they managed to turn that around and take advantage of some fading form from the sides above them. They snuck into seventh position, and while they were bested in the finals, the Cats have a blueprint for success moving forward into next season.
The Cats managed to take a few big scalps throughout their campaign, showcasing their ability to match it and even surpass some of the best sides in the league. However, their most impressive triumph came in Round 14, handing Carlton its second loss of the season. It was a result set up by Geelong’s best showing with ball in hand, as they held the dangerous Carlton batting order to just 145 runs, while claiming all 10 wickets in rapid fashion. The Blues were in second spot on the ladder at the time, so it was a seriously good scalp, one that was backed up the following week when the Cats upset Melbourne to get on a serious roll.
When discussing the Geelong Cricket Club in the 2021/22 season, it is almost impossible not to bring up the efforts of star batter Hayden Butterworth. He was touted for a big season given his reputation, and he did not disappoint, scoring the second-most runs of any player in the competition. Surpassing 50 runs on a consistent basis, Butterworth was the steadying figure in the Cats’ batting lineup. He was even able to git triple figures, with a season-high score of 117 displaying his ceiling. Finishing the year with an average of 48.81 runs from his 16 outings, Butterworth was the standout for the Geelong Cricket Club.
The biggest enemy of Geelong throughout the season was a lack of consistency, so that will be the biggest focal point heading into 2022/23. If the Cats can focus on their wins and what went well in those games, then they may improve their record next year. It is clear they have the personnel to climb into the top four, but they still have clear room for improvement.