Top 2 face-off

Andrew Groves takes a look at the season's penultimate two-dayer which starts tomorrow.......





The penultimate two-dayer of the season has thrown up some tasty battles both at the top and the bottom of the ladder.

Melbourne and Prahran will go head-to-head in the clash between the top two.

Elsewhere in the finals mix eleventh plays ninth, tenth plays eighth and seventh squares up against sixth.

The first of these will see a rejuvenated Casey-South Melbourne welcome Melbourne University. The Swans are six points behind the Students and will be hoping to build on last Saturday’s thrashing of Hawthorn.coates_hussey_and_salpy_go_up_r17

Fitzroy Doncaster, meanwhile, has also hit a purple patch. They welcome Dandenong tomorrow, the Panthers still smarting after last weekend’s defeat to Ringwood.

A victory in that game could have secured a spot in the top eight for Tom Donnell’s men. He is looking for happier times in the Lions den.

“We are hoping for a much better performance than last week,” he said.

“We just need to forget about that and back it up. We need to come back with a victory and try and cement a place in the top eight.

“Last week we got off to a pretty good start but, when we lost a few wickets, we lost them in clumps. If we lose wickets this week we need to consolidate and build partnerships.

“It won’t be easy against Fitzroy, they have hit some pretty good form. Next week we’ve got Richmond, so we’ve got our work cut out to make finals. It will be tough but hopefully we can make it.”

Donnell will set off with the rest of the Victorian Futures squad on Monday for a fixture against New South Wales.

The Panthers will be missing Darren Pattinson tomorrow who is on Bushrangers duties. Fellow bowler Nathan Lambden is also out with a side strain.

Meanwhile, opposing skipper Lloyd Mash knows what his men have to do if they are to sneak into the top eight.

“It’s red hot in there,” he said.

“We’re looking at a couple of games this weekend. Obviously there’s ours, Carlton are playing Frankston, Casey are playing Uni, that’s another big one.

“It’s all very tight in there, hopefully we can pick up another win and give ourselves a chance.”

That chance was created with a solid performance against Footscray Edgewater last weekend.

The Lions were indebted to a solid batting display by Tim Sheehan. The left-hander hit a vitally important 74 not out, with Peter Dickson adding 49, as they came through for a four-wicket victory.

“It was a tough win against Footscray, it was a pretty good batting wicket but it was very slow,” added Mash.obrien_r17b

“Tim batted brilliantly. Last season he played subbies at Kew with Ben Waterman. He didn’t really enjoy it, so we brought him back to captain the twos.

“He made 500 runs in the seconds and was an ideal person to bring in with some of our batters struggling.

“Some of the guys have been a bit inconsistent but Tim has played nearly 140 games and made nearly 4,000 runs. It’s great as a skipper to have someone like him. We needed his experience at the weekend and it showed.”

The Melbourne v Prahran battle will be an interesting one.

The Demons have already proved this season they are the kings of the shorter format of the game scooping the T20 and one-day crown.

The latter will still rest uneasy in the stomach of the True Blues who were outplayed on a flat Albert Ground deck.

They will be going all out to gain a bit of revenge in a game which may well be a dress rehearsal for the Premier Final come March.

Victory would see Sam Coates’ men leapfrog their rivals and move in prime position with one game to play.

Both come into the game on the back of positive results last weekend. Melbourne put Essendon to the sword.

Prahran overcame a stubborn Carlton side to remain in touching distance of the top spot.

At the bottom of the ladder Hawthorn-Monash University will be looking to put its nightmare at the hands of Casey behind them when they travel to Essendon.

North Melbourne will be eyeing a jump over Footscray on the ladder if they beat bottom side Northcote and the Doggies slip up against Richmond.

Elsewhere, Geelong welcomes St Kilda, Ringwood takes on Camberwell Magpies and Richmond meets Footscray Edgewater.


At Windy Hill
Umpires: P Gillespie & A Sammartino

At Toorak Parkmcglinchey_bowled_r17
Umpires: M Cervetto & B Davies

At AH Butler Oval, Frankston
Umpires: C Allan & S Craig

At Junction Oval
Umpires: R Birch & S Sciacca

At Casey Fields, Cranbourne East
Umpires: D Ireland & R McKinnon

At Central Reserve, Glen Waverley
Umpires: D Bomford & D Reid

At Schramms Reserve, Doncaster
Umpires: R Patterson & J Batuwangala

At Russell Lucas Oval, Ringwood
Umpires: W Sheahan & D Shepard

At Geelong
Umpires: D Herft & S Davis

Victorian Premier Cricket
Ladder after R17 and the last two Rounds

              Pts (Aver)     R18        R19
Melbourne      73 (1.745)    Pra (A)    F-P (H)
Prahran        70 (1.340)    Mel (H)    HMU (A)
Ringwood       59 (1.258)    C-M (H)    StK (A)
St Kilda       57 (1.415)    Gee (A)    Rin (H)
Richmond       51 (1.710)    F-E (H)    Dan (A)
Carlton        49 (1.093)    F-P (A)    NM (H)
Frank Pen      48 (1.014)    Car (H)    Mel (A)
Dandenong      47 (1.304)    F-D (A)    Ric (H)
Melb Uni       47 (1.059)    CSM (A)    Ess (H)
Fitzroy Donc   44 (1.113)    Dan (H)    C-M (A)
Casey-SM       41 (0.822)    Uni (H)    F-E (A)
Geelong        35.8 (0.881)  StK (H)    Nct (A)
Camb Mag       33 (0.800)    Rin (A)    F-D (H)
Foot Edge      27 (0.930)    Ric (A)    CSM (H)
North Melb     26 (0.706)    Nct (H)    Car (A)
Haw-Mon Uni    12 (0.632)    Ess (A)    Pra (H)
Essendon       12 (0.623)    HMU (H)    Uni (A)
Northcote       9 (0.533)    NM (A)     Gee (H)

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