Round 4 – Review
Round 4 was a disappointing result for cricket with only one Carlton Mid Premier Grade competition match able to be played due to the impact of mid-week rain. Clearly, games cannot proceed on underprepared and / or unsafe (for players and umpires) surfaces, but it is disappointing to see this situation arise five weeks into the 2022 season. Some clubs have played only two matches at Premier Grade level – point in support: Waratah had a Round 1 bye, they had the Easter Weekend free (as did all others) and missed Round 4 due to an unplayable surface at Waratah Oval. Easter aside, a bye round can be remedied by adding (or taking away) a team in Premier Grade and a catchup day (Sunday) may be an option as is the case in some other jurisdictions (Hmmm!). Missing games in these circumstances is never ideal so perhaps alternative arrangements could be explored to maximise the amount of cricket played.
Anyway, two aspects were further highlighted in the match played between Tracy Village and Southern Districts at the Village Green.
Firstly, Tracy Village batting desperately needs an injection of talent and a more planned approach by those with talent but who continually give up with a soft out. The first is not simple, however, the second is an individual decision and is easier especially when they have previously given more value to their wicket. After a solid start to their innings - Joshua Hoffman (27), Tom Jackson (25) and number three Antum Naqvi (60) - and looking at ease with the score at 4-141 a competitive total seemed assured, but what is now becoming a characteristic of the Tracy batting, they fell away and were bowled out for 172 (45.3).
Secondly, a feature of the 2021 Southern Districts premiership was a bowling depth which was unmatched by all others and that emerged against Tracy Village where a quartet of spinners all took command with “leggie” Tom O’Connell (4-42) outstanding and receiving great support from skipper Matt Hammond (2-18), and LAO pair Tim Garner (2-27) and Sam Kerber (2-37).
A refreshing feature of the game was the re-emergence of Tracy Village recruit Todd Murphy who was very recently included in the Australia A tour to Sri Lanka in June. The 21-year-old Victorian quickish off-spinner is unlikely to return to Tracy after the tour, but his Round 4 impact was immediate (3-26, 10 overs) – taking a wicket with his first ball - and he was responsible for putting the rural batsmen back on their heels at 4-42. Interestingly, some argue that Murphy is a right-handed look-a-like version of legendary Kiwi spinner Daniel Vettori. Well, if he turns out to be half as good as Vettori, Australia has a player with a huge future. For the record: Vettori took 362 test wickets at 34.37 and 305 ODI wickets at 31.72.
However, even Murphy couldn’t halt a 94 run fifth wicket partnership between Dean Fry (63 n.o.) and Xavier Crone (49) who together snuffed out any chance of a Tracy win and the Croc’s got home by five wickets at 5-173 (41.3).
Round 5 – Preview
Tracy Village play host to PINT and both are evenly matched. Neither has the depth of current form to score heavily or bowl out the opposition in a quick manner.
Village skipper Josh Kann is the key to the game: last week he displayed glimpses of bowling form but again threw his wicket away – caught driving in an ambitious attempt to hit the ball over the field. Antum Naqvi (at three) has had a stellar season but needs support if the Villagers are to post a competitive batting total against a steady but non-lethal Green bowling attack.
PINT has a solid top order batting array headed by Dhanusha Gamage, but he also desperately needs support.
Darwin meets Waratah at Kahlin Oval, and both will be eager for a win – Tahs haven’t played much cricket and need to build momentum with bat and ball in order to resurrect its season. Darwin on the other hand have been on a rollercoaster, but when good, it is better than most. They have a varied bowling attack and while there is a degree of reliance on top order pair Anthony Adlam and Matt Calder to set the platform there is depth to follow but not always a dependable component. The Red Caps simply have not played enough cricket to develop and adjust their game-plan so a solid performance including a lift from its top batting pair Isaac Conway and Austin Umpherston is a necessary ingredient.
Southern Districts are at home to a buoyant Nightcliff – the Crocs are coming off a solid win while the Tigers have plenty to roar about with their season producing some entertaining cricket not the least of which is the form of master-blaster Josh Brown. Like Districts, Nightcliff boasts a varied and capable bowling array led by spinner Yuvraj Sharma. And also like Districts, the Tigers bowling attack is not one-dimensional and can call on multiple wicket taking options.
Round 5 Fixture - Saturday 07 May
Tracy Village v PINT at Tracy Village Oval (11am)
Darwin v Waratah at Kahlin Oval (11am)
Southern Districts v Nightcliff at Gerry Wood Oval (11am)