2021/22 Men’s Premier Cricket Wrap: Richmond
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 almost a season of over-achievement from the Richmond Cricket Club, who really got going in the postseason. After a mixed start to the home and away fixture, the Tigers lifted in the final stretch of the season to jump up into sixth spot when the finals rolled around. While they were expected to win their first final, not many people would have tipped them to make it all the way to the preliminary final. While they were bested in that game, it was still a terrific showing from the side, who will know what is required to win it all next year.
Richmond did not exactly get off to an ideal start, with two losses coming from its first two games. A pattern of win-loss-win-loss followed, but the second half of the year saw a better performance at the crease. A more aggressive mindset from the top-end batsmen resulted in more wins and a spot inside the top six, with a home elimination final. They managed to best the Cats in the first week of finals, before backing it up with an even more impressive showing against Melbourne (more on that in a bit). They were defeated by a rampaging Casey-South Melbourne side, but still showed they are amongst the best sides in the competition.
While they were strong in the elimination final, the Tigers entered the semi-final as the clear underdogs against Melbourne, who lost their first qualifying final. However, Richmond produced a serious upset, thanks to an incredibly well-rounded batting performance. Despite Melbourne delivering a defendable total of 236, the Tigers had six players score 14 or more runs in the second innings, and managed to chase it down with over three overs to spare. They advanced to the preliminary final in style and looked right at home deep in the postseason.
While the batting lineup was quite important to the team’s success, it was veteran bowler Dominic Matarazzo that was the best performer throughout the 2021/22 season. He was able to hurt the opposition with his relentless pursuit of a wicket and his consistent line and length. Matarazzo took 32 wickets on the season, the second-most of any player in the competition. His best performance was probably the strongest of anyone in 2021/22, with figures of 8/16 in a single game.
Given how strong they were in the finals series, there is not a whole heap they need to do to improve next year. The biggest area of concern would likely be economy with ball in hand, as it was their downfall in a number of their losses, including the preliminary finals. If they can keep the opposition to a lower score, it would make winning games a whole lot easier.