It was only the 4th XI who managed to claim a win in the first round of the 2017/18 season, led by Tom Donaldson in his first game as 4th XI captain.
Batting first at Watson Park, on a wicket that required some hard work early, Donaldson provided the backbone of the innings along with Alex Ross, who opened the batting and scored 48 in his first match for the club. Cameos throughout the rest of the order saw us reach 6/232 from the allotment of 45 overs.
Dan Walker took two early wickets, but the next three University batsmen set up their innings well. Chris Bridle, recovering from injury, took two middle order wickets to bring us back into the game, while Eshaan Patel dismissed the opposition top scorer as his first wicket for the club with his off-spin. Wickets continued to fall, and with two overs left Uni needed 12 off 12 with one wicket in hand. This came to 7 off 6, when Walker took a wicket on the first ball of the last over to win the game, finishing off with 4/28 from 8.1.
The 3rd XI were sent in at Princes Park, and Jake Martin on his return from the UK top scored with 59. He, Luke Spence (29) and Paddy McKenna (29) got starts without batting through, and James Wiseman (34*) at the end guided the Magpies to 6/200. While Fraser Thomas took 4/33 from 6 overs at the beginning, only Tom Vanderslik (2/36) could add to this as some inconsistent bowling and a measured innings from the opposition #5 saw the total chased down with seven overs remaining.
Having won the toss at Camberwell, the 2nd XI notched up a sub-par score of 181 from their 50 overs. Daniel Rawson (36) was the only member of the top five to reach double figures, and from 5/66 a rescue mission from Sam Newell (44) and Jack McNamara (43) saw the total above 150. In the end, it was still well short of what was required on a great batting surface and quick outfield.
This proved to be the case, as the University opening batsmen put on 136 at five an over to kill the game. They reached the total with fourteen overs left, and nine wickets in hand, in what was a proper wake-up call against a team that is always well regarded in 2nd XI cricket.
The 1st XI’s batting was carried by Simon Hill, who notched up his 14th century in premier cricket. He made 124* from 130 batting at number four, and only Tom Russ (24) and Glen Parker (47*) joined him in double figures. The partnership between Hill and Parker was worth 146, and saw the total reach 6/226.
The bowling effort wasn’t consistent enough to defend that score, with Tom Russ and Chris Thewlis the only bowlers managing to go at under four an over. Uni chased down the target with 8 balls remaining, with four wickets to spare.
Having been a traditionally strong white ball unit, this wasn’t the way that we were looking to start the season. Hopefully we can bounce back this week against Kingston Hawthorn, with the 1st XI at home.