The 4th XI, on the back of Assistant Coach Neil Gray, held up their end of the bargain, but the other three teams weren’t able to threaten Monash on the weekend, in the last round before finals. The weekend’s results, with Dandenong’s 1st XI losing, meant that we would have won the Club Championship even if no CMCC side had saluted, but it was good to notch up at least one victory in securing the trophy for the first time since the merger.
At Central Reserve, the 1st XI secured the wicket of Chalkley, but no further inroads were made before Monash secured first innings points for the loss of five wickets. They were eventually bowled out before lunch for 168 with Tom Russ taking 4/29 – his third four wicket haul for the season – while the quicks (Drew, Singh and Whittaker) all secured two wickets each.
A second innings saw the Pies improve marginally on their 1st innings effort, recovering from 4/35 to reach 8/166 when stumps were pulled. Shubham Bhargave top scored with 40*, his highest 1st XI score, while Chris Thewlis (35) and Russ (27) were next best. The 1st XI still finished top, and will take on Footscray Edgewater next week at Camberwell Sports Ground.
The 2nd XI bowled in a disciplined manner at Camberwell Sports Ground, but it wasn’t enough as they were defeated by six wickets. Defending 139, and having 97 runs to play with on Saturday, the opposition didn’t pass the total until after the halfway mark of the day. Joe Doyle (0/45 from 27 overs with 11 maidens) was particularly frugal, and Dylan Hodge took two wickets with the game still alive.
Stumps were pulled at 5pm with Monash 8/216 from 100 overs – Adi Narayana bowled well when presented the opportunity and took 2/14. The loss saw the 2nd XI slide down to seventh on the ladder, and they will face Frankston down the highway on Saturday to try and get themselves an extra week of cricket.
It was a tough day for the 3rd XI on the lower oval at Central Reserve. Having only scored 103, Fraser Thomas took his first wicket for the club before victory was achieved by the Tigers. He ended up with 3/55 but there was little other joy as Monash racked up 8/344. Angus Steele was the other multiple wicket-taker with 2/36 from 16 overs, but it was a tough day upon which to finish the season. They finished tenth on the ladder, having needed victory in what was effectively an elimination final against Monash to play finals.
The 4th XI ended the season on a high, and in some style. Simon Eastham, playing his last game as a full time player for the club, snared a run out to secure victory with 11 runs to spare. Skipper Neil Gray took his first five wicket haul for the club, ending up with 7/42 from 26 overs and was accompanied by Anton Ponnamperuma who took 2/43 as they defended 119. Gray ended up with the most wickets taken in 4th XI this year (32), while Ponnamperuma was third placed (23). The 4th XI also ended up tenth.
So the finals is upon us, and the club is excited about trying its best to add some flags to the Club Championship which we’ve chased for so long. We look forward to seeing as much support as can be mustered this weekend at the two venues.