It wasn’t the fairytale win we hoped it would be for Simon Hill in his 300th First Grade match as the Camberwell Magpies’ First XI went down to Essendon on Saturday.
Taking the place of skipper Andrew Fekete at the coin toss, Hill won the flip and elected to stick the Bombers in. It paid early dividends with Fekete sneaking one through the gate of Connor Rutland with the score on 26. Essendon skipper Michael Hill came to the wicket and joined in-form opener James Seymour, with the duo combining in a 77-run partnership before Shubham Bhargave slid one through the defences of the Bomber captain.
The Magpie spinners in Bhargave (1/38 off 10), Ollie Jenkins (2/57 off 10) and Tom Russ (1/40) bowled well through the middle of the innings to make scoring tough for Essendon, but they couldn’t remove Seymour who continued his excellent form to bat through the innings for a well-compiled 113*. With the help of some late big hitting from Tom Donnell (25 off 12), the Bombers finished with 6/250 off their allotted overs.
The Pies lost Rishab Guddadamane early but set about rebuilding the innings through the agency of milestone man Hill and Akshay Kodoth. Number three Kodoth was particularly impressive in his stay at the crease, working with Hill to put on 67 before he fell for 46. When Hill was caught on the boundary for 44, the situation looked difficult for the Magpies, but a fluent 64 from Hamish Burrill kept Camberwell within touching distance. Unfortunately for the Pies, the Bombers bowling line up held their nerve to close out the innings and secure a 27-run win.
It was a difficult day for the Second XI, who were knocked over for an under-par score of 161 at McQueen Park. Despite contributions from Liam Fitzpatrick (46), Adit Pawha (30) and Griffin McComb (30), the Pies batsmen were never really able to generate solid momentum to push themselves to a competitive score.
Nevertheless, the Camberwell bowlers got to work and managed to give the Pies a sniff with Essendon sitting at 4/76. However the Bombers managed to put together some important partnerships through the middle to drive them towards the total. Despite a couple of late wickets at the end and some impressive bowling throughout from Joe Doyle (3/36 off 10) and Ben Jowett (2/27 off 8), Essendon were able to scrape their way to a three-wicket win.
It was better news for the Third XI at Cross Keys Reserve, who recorded their fourth win for the season. Batting first on a tricky wicket, Jack Di Stefano played a calm and classy hand of 89 (5 x 4s and 4 x 6s) to be the backbone of the Magpies innings. He received solid support from the promoted Josh Nelson, who continued his good form with 39 off 44 balls to push the Camberwell total to 8/194 off 45 overs.
In reply, the Bombers were never really in the hunt as the Magpie bowlers produced an extremely disciplined performance. Amongst the many bright spots, Tom Vanderslik (4/39 off 9) and Sam Nash (3/25) put forward their case for a spot up the grades in the coming weeks as the most impressive bowlers on the day.
Finally, it was a day to savor for Rob Capstick’s men in the Fourth XI, who claimed their second victory for the season. Despite heading into the match on the bottom of the ladder and coming up against a top four side, the young Magpies were not daunted as they put together their most complete performance for the season. They restricted the Bombers to 8/175 off their 45 overs, with ever-improving youngsters Josh Nevett (3/23 off 9) and Henry Smith (2/37 off 9) showcasing their talents.
In reply, the Magpies chase was led initially by opener Sam Windisch (40 off 50) balls, before Harris Carlin (48) and Joel Carruthers (35) batted with maturity beyond their years to guide Camberwell to a morale-boosting four wicket win.
This Round Recap is proudly brought to you by Melbourne City Toyota.