Three heartbreaking losses in the First, Second and Fourth XIs was the story of the weekend for the Camberwell Magpies against Melbourne University.
The First XI were at home to the Students and were out to keep their slim finals chances alive. Melbourne University won the toss and elected to have a stick, with the decision looking like it had backfired early with Will Walker (2/30 off 10) removing former Magpie Jarrod Martignago with the score on 2.
The Students steadily rebuilt the innings through Harrison Emms and Fergus McKenna, but when they were both dismissed with the score on 47 by Chris Bridle (3/38 off 8), the Magpies were well and truly into the contest. In one of their most consistent fielding and bowling performances for the whole season, Camberwell continued to put the squeeze on Melbourne University through the middle overs; at one stage having the Students in serious trouble at 6/95.
But some late order hitting from Melbourne University tailenders Simon Mackin (65*) and Liam Scammell (33) added some respectability to the score book and left the Magpies with a tricky chase of 198 off their 50 overs.
Things started poorly for Camberwell with Simon Hill dismissed early for 1, but as they so often have this season Rishab Guddadamane and Akshay Kodoth set about getting the innings back on track. The pair added 85 before Guddadamane (who had just posted his fourth First Grade 50 and fifth half century across all grades on the trot) chopped on for 51. Kodoth (35) fell soon after and suddenly the game was back in the balance at 3/94.
Shubham Bhargave (18) and Hamish Burrill (21) made contributions through the middle, but it was a Tom Russ special of 51 off 37 balls that had the Magpies in the box seat to secure their third win for the season despite some tight bowling in the final overs from the Students.
Camberwell entered the final over as favourites to take the points with six runs required off the final over and Russ and James Wiseman at the crease. But an extremely skilful final over from Scammell and two run outs meant the Pies were denied the win as they fell short by the barest of margins.
In the Second XI match at the University Main Oval, Camberwell lost the toss and were sent in. The loss of two early wickets meant the Magpies needed to dig in, and they did so mainly through opener Spencer Wood (58) who recorded his first half century at Second XI level. He received some help through the middle of the innings from Liam Fitzpatrick (28), Shane Mays (20) and Dhruv Redhu (21), but ultimately starts throughout the scorecard were not enough to push Camberwell beyond an under par total of 9/172 off their 50 overs.
Despite losing wickets in clumps at various stages throughout their innings, for the majority Melbourne University were in control of the run chase. That all changed when the Students got the wobbles with just seven runs required, losing 3/2 to have the Magpies within one wicket of stealing an unlikely victory. However, the home side managed to hold their nerve to take the points, despite the best efforts of quickies Joe Doyle (3/26 off 10), Kieren Jamieson (2/45 off 10) and Second Xi debutant Tom Nelson (1/29 off 10).
The Third XI hosted Melbourne University at Watson Park and invited the visitors to have a stick first up. Despite the best efforts of opening bowlers Dan Walker (2/34 off 9), Sam Nash (2/47 off 9) and left arm tweaker Tom Vanderslik (2/19 off 9), the Students were still able to clock up a competitive total of 8/207 off their 45 overs.
Aside from an extremely impressive return to form from Jack Di Stefano (75 off 87 balls), the Magpies were never really in the hunt at any stage of their reply – eventually bowled out for 161.
The Fourth XI travelled to Princes Park #3 seeking their second win for the season. Sending the opposition in, the Pies put together a disciplined bowling performance to knock over Melbourne University for 152. Josh Nelson (4/24 off 9), Josh Nevett (3/43 off 8) and skipper Rob Capstick (2/12 off 6) were the best performers with the ball.
Unfortunately for the Magpies, the batting innings never really got going at any stage. At 7/62, the match looked all but over, before Nelson (49*) and Capstick (28*) backed up their efforts with the ball to give Camberwell an outside chance. The pair put on 80 runs to get the Pies close to the total, but ultimately fell 10 runs short in the end.
Despite a reverse Magpie Day in the senior grades, there was better news for our Under 16 Premier Dowling Shield team who won their third match in as many games against Northcote on Sunday.
Northcote won the toss and elected to bat first at Bill Lawry Oval. But in the face of an extremely disciplined bowling display by the young Magpies, the Dragons batting innings never really got going. The wickets were shared amongst all the bowlers, with spinner Henry Smith recording the remarkable figures of 3 for 7 off 10 overs (six maidens).
In reply, the Magpies’ next generation showed their senior counterparts how to negotiate a run chase with a clinical batting performance. Opener Patrick Forrest top scored with an unbeaten 74 and he was well supported by Sam Mazza (28), as Camberwell took home the points with a six-wicket win.
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