After enduring a tough year in terms of on field results, the Camberwell Magpies finished season 2020/21 on a high with victories in the First and Third XIs on Saturday.
All eyes were on the fortunes of the two teams headed out to Casey Fields to take on Casey-South Melbourne in the final home and away match of the year. With the midweek Melbourne rain causing havoc for grounds staff attempting to prepare wickets in the inner eastern suburbs, no play was possible for the Second and Fourth XIs at McQueen Park and Watson Park respectively.
While the wickets out at Cranbourne were in far more advanced nick, weather still played its part in shortening the length of the two fixtures. With the game reduced to 30 overs apiece, Camberwell skipper Andrew Fekete won the toss and elected to send the Swans in for a stick.
On a tacky deck, the hosts made a steady to start to their innings against the Magpies’ quicks before the introduction of spin changed the momentum of the game. Shubham Bhargave (4/20), Tom Russ (2/32) and Ollie Jenkins (1/21) all made use of a pitch providing them with plenty of assistance to restrict Casey-South Melbourne to 8/138 off their allotted overs. In his debut game in the top grade, Ben Jowett showed plenty of promising signs with figures of 0/27 off his six overs.
First XI Livestream: Camberwell Magpies vs Casey-South Melbourne
In reply, Camberwell began its chase hoping that Simon Hill would score the 20 runs he needed to bring up 11,000 Victorian Premier Cricket First XI runs. Unfortunately for Hill, he was cruelly denied the chance to bring up the coveted milestone courtesy of some smart work from Swans’ keeper Devon Pollock, finishing his final knock in Premier Cricket with 14.
Hill’s dismissal was part of a cluster of wickets that saw the Pies fall to 3/33 before Akshay Kodoth and Tom Russ set about stabilising the innings. Both played intelligently to put on 70 runs and to take the Pies within 36 runs of the target, before Russ’ dismissal for 36 sparked another mini collapse for the visitors. From 6/106, Kodoth and Jenkins pushed the Magpies within four runs of victory before another massive twist in the tail.
In the second last over of the match, Jenkins was run out coming back for two to get the innings mainstay in Kodoth back on strike. Next ball Kodoth slashed at a wide one only to be caught at backward point for an excellent 58, while Will Walker chipped the next one straight to short cover to leave the Pies on the brink of stealing defeat from the jaws of victory.
Enter skipper Fekete and debutant Jowett, who were able to negotiate the final over to bring the match down to the final ball with one wicket in hand and one run remaining. Capping off a memorable debut, Jowett calmly nudged the ball in close on the off side allowing Fekete to scamper through to give Camberwell their fourth win of the season.
On the adjacent oval at Casey Fields, the Third XI bowled first after Casey-South Melbourne elected to bat first in a 25 over game.
The Pies produced a disciplined bowling performance to restrict the Swans to 5/108 off their 25 overs, with Aiden Nicholls the pick of the bowlers with 3/20.
In response, Camberwell looked to be in early trouble at 3/42 before Harris Carlin (39*) and skipper Tom Vanderslik (28) were able to steady the ship and put on a 56-run partnership to effectively seal the Third XI’s sixth win for season 2020/21.
While no Camberwell teams will be participating in finals this season, a positive final round result will give coach Ian Stanger and the players a nice little reminder of the level of cricket the club can produce heading into the planning for the 2021/22 season.
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