Unfortunately Camberwell’s season came to an end on Sunday as Melbourne Cricket Club proved far too good in the 1st XI semi final at Camberwell Sports Ground.
Having won the toss, Melbourne batted first in great batting conditions, and after Will Walker had Peter Petricola dropped first ball of the match, it was Matthew Whittaker who made early inroads. He snared Petricola and Meyrick Buchanan within the first hour to reduce Melbourne to 2/24. The two lynchpins for Melbourne, Andrew Kent and Matthew Brown, combined for a 37 run partnership before Whittaker took a sharp catch from Kent.
The Demons went to lunch at 3/80 and Whittaker continued to test them – he took the wickets of Brown and Brad Melville to put the Pies clearly on top at 5/103. Blake Thomson had provided the rescue mission the previous week in their quarter final, top scoring with 53, and did the same thing in this match as he made his way to 88.
After small partnerships with Jack Harper and Sean Sturrock, it was Zac Mevissen who provided the requisite support with 30 from 70 balls, which helped Melbourne from 7/143 to 8/217. Some lusty lower order hitting left us with 252 to win, and seven overs to face that night.
Matthew Whittaker ended up with 4/30 from 20 overs, and Brendan Drew was the other multiple wicket-taker with 2/72. Walker and the two off-spinners (Tom Russ & Shubham Bhargave) all snared one wicket each.
We successfully negotiated the small session before stumps, ending Day 1 at 0/19, with 233 runs to get. While the outfield continued to be a bit slower than what is normally seen at Camberwell, it was still perceived as a par score to chase.
Unfortunately the batting effort was not up to par. While no Melbourne bowler took more than two wickets, it also reflected that their pressure was consistent throughout their five pronged bowling attack. At 3/60 shortly before lunch, we had gotten ourselves in a position to set ourselves up for a big middle session – but the loss of Tom Rickarby (15) and Chris Thewlis (1) either side of the break put us right on the back foot at 5/72.
Tom Russ top scored with 40 and looked the most comfortable of the batsmen, but after him it was only Glen Parker who could reach double figures (12). We were eventually bowled out for 120 within an hour after lunch, a disappointing way to finish the season but reflective of our batting struggles post-Christmas.
Best of luck to Melbourne and Fitzroy Doncaster in the Grand Final next week, and to all the competitors in the lower grade finales. Although it’s disappointing not to have any team competing in the final week, we thank and congratulate our players on their efforts during the year, and can’t wait to come back bigger and better in 2017/18.