The home teams both had good wins this weekend, while the 2nd & 4th XI ended up with very different outcomes out at Footscray, lowering their colours with some ordinary batting displays the feature.
At Tony Dodemaide Oval, Ben McIntosh (17) and Tom Shannon (15) resumed in their pursuit of 170 and both were dismissed in the teens. Unfortunately only Angus Steele (16) joined them in double figures as they ended up being bowled out for 80.
Footscray decided to have another bat, and the bowlers responded well to a disappointing first session to have the Bulldogs 8/70 in their second innings, before a rain break came and stumps were pulled. Anton Ponnamperuma took three more wickets to match his efforts in the first innings, while Steele returned to the bowling crease for the first time in five weeks with a pair of poles.
Across the road at Merv Hughes Oval, Footscray resumed needing 65 with eight wickets in hand – although a mishap in the warm-up sent two of their players to hospital and maybe we might only need six more wickets to achieve victory? Luckily neither were seriously injured, and in the end it was all academic as they passed our 154 for the loss of only five wickets. The bowling effort was decent in good conditions – Steve Singh snared two morning wickets, while Adi Narayana (2/42) and Dylan Hodge (2/46) contributed well throughout, getting some deserved rewards after the total was passed.
We were asked to bat again with 48 overs remaining in the game, and what followed from there can be fairly described as a catastrophe. It took us 43 overs to get to 63 runs, and for the loss of all ten wickets to hand Footscray outright points. We lost by an innings and five runs, in what were quality batting conditions against some admittedly good swing bowling. Luckily results have fallen our way, and we are still fourth, but some disappointing results since Christmas have seen us throw away a chance to be in the top 2.
The 3rd XI batted on at Watson Park, being bowled out for 230 in the morning having resumed with three wickets in hand. In response, it was once again the Joe Doyle show as he took his third five wicket haul for the season, taking him to a league leading 29 wickets in 11 games for the season. He had good support from Kevin Prior, with his best spell for some time reaping 2/33 from 14 overs, and Nick Trapani also claimed two wickets, as Footscray were bowled out thirty three runs short of the required amount.
The 1st XI had some nervous moments as Footscray put together a good ninth wicket partnership in pursuit of the Simon Hill-inspired 172. Resuming at 8/111, Koch and Winter-Irving put on 39 as fingernails were being chewed amongst the Camberwell supporters. But as he’s done so often this year, Matthew Whittaker stood up and took the last two wickets. He ended up with 4/19 from 13.4 overs, as we secured the points by 20 runs.
In the second innings, it was a more even contribution as we ended up with the exact same score as the first innings. Glen Parker top scored from number 9 with 42*, and put on a partnership of 53 with Whittaker (30). Brendan Drew also contributed with 31 and as we were bowled out, hands were shaken as Footscray were left with the difficult task of chasing 192 in the last hour of the game.
It was not the most convincing weekend, but we still sit 65 points clear of Dandenong in the Club Championship – to put that into perspective, winning all four grades gives you 66 points. The 1st XI remain top of the ladder, while the 3rd XI (7th) have a virtual elimination final against Monash Tigers (8th) next week. The Tigers sit third in the Club Championship and are always a strong outfit throughout the grades. The 4th XI now require some luck to make the finals, with the Tigers only losing one match for the season so far, and even if victorious will require losses from Dandenong and Melbourne University.