2011/12 Premier Cricket Final – Review

by Mic Rees

After 144 Home & Away matches and 7 finals, the dust has settled and one team stands alone at the top of the Premier Cricket summit. That team is Richmond, the Tigers convincing winners over a beaten but far from disgraced Dandenong.

Richmond took control of the match during the final session on Friday afternoon. At 4/196 it appeared that Dandenong pair Brett Forsyth and James Nanopoulos had put their side in control of proceedings having added 44 runs for the fifth wicket. Brenton McDonald then bowled Nanopoulos (28), and with his dismissal the Panthers lower order crumbled to lose 6/41 – Dandenong (237) all out. McDonald (3/49) and Will Sheridan (3/65) were the stars with the ball for the Tigers. Dandenong’s hero was Forsyth (97), the last man out, run out, the 23 year old falling agonisingly short of his ground, and, a fourth century for the season. In the twelve overs that remained Richmond lost Chris Weeks (4) when he was dismissed attempting to glance James Wilcock and was caught down the leg side by Panthers keeper Ben Hocking.  At stumps on Day 1 of the 2011/12 Final Richmond had reached 1/24.

If Dandy were to be any chance they needed quick wickets on the second morning. Nanopoulos struck twice in the first session removing Andrew Delmont (12) and Tom Boxell (39). Richmond went to lunch 3/96, Ryan Carters, 36 not out, his fellow Victorian representative Sheridan with 3 runs against his name and whilst the Tigers held the upper hand, requiring another 142 runs for a first innings lead, the reigning premiers remained well and truly in the contest.

Richmond took charge of proceedings during the middle session, former Canberrans Carters and Sheridan adding 105 for the fourth wicket before Sheridan (69) fell to Butterfield, his match changing innings taking a little under an hour and a half. He faced 76 deliveries and smacked 10 fours and two sixes. Manou (17) came and went, before Carters and Brenton McDonald combined for a 95 run sixth wicket partnership, their efforts putting the Tigers in front. Not long after posting his second Premier Cricket century for 2011/12, Carters (102), exited the arena, having faced 242 deliveries during his 319 minute stint in the middle, his ton including 12 boundaries. At the completion of the second days play Richmond were 7/317, McDonald unbeaten on 55, Ben Torney 8, the Tigers leading by 80 runs,

At 10.47 on Sunday morning, the third and final day of the 2011/12 final, Dandenong realising any attempt to construct an outright victory was futile conceded the game. It ended the Panthers reign as Premier Cricket title holders, a little over a year since their nail biting victory over Frankston in what was considered one of the great First XI finales in VCA/Premier Cricket history.

At the time of Dandy’s concession, Richmond’s had moved its score along to 8/357, a lead of 120 runs on the first innings. Fittingly Allan Wise, the sole survivor of the previous Tiger title triumph twelve seasons ago, was undefeated on 8, with Friday afternoon hero Brenton McDonald unconquered on 77.  Will Sheridan’s fine double with both ball (3/65) and bat (69) saw him receive the John Scholes Medal. The medal, named in honour of the late former Victorian captain and District/Premier cricket legend, has been awarded to the “Player of Final” since the 2003/04 final.


For Dandenong the Final proved to be one hurdle too many to negotiate. You could’ve written your own ticket on the Panthers advancing to the last weekend of the season less than a month ago, their  woeful end to the Home and Away fixture saw them drop three of the last four matches prior to the post season. The 2011/12 final was the 265th and final Premier cricket appearance for Darren Dempsey, the Panthers skipper unable to manufacture a fairytale ending to his superb 17 season career in Melbourne club cricket. Good luck on your retirement Darren.

Richmond’s 14 place improvement, 15th in 2010/11 – premiers in 2011/12, I believe (please, anyone, let me know if this ain’t so) the greatest single season rise to claim the pennant in 106 seasons of First XI District cricket. Northcote Cricket Club, on two previous occasions (1965/66 and 1973/74) rose from “worst” to “first” in the space of twelve months, however at the time of the Dragons amazing achievement the VCA District Cricket competition consisted of 14 teams.  The Tigers’ 11/12 success is the clubs sixth VCA/Premier cricket First XI title. Sadly, it may be the clubs final hurrah under the “Richmond Cricket Club” banner, after vacating Punt Road at the end of the 2010/11 season and moving its headquarters to Central Reserve Waverley. But for now, it’s congratulations to all involved with the Yellow and Black on their fine efforts for 2011/12.


  1. Great stuff Mic. Thanks for giving us an insight into the summer of Victorian Premier Cricket that was sadly lacking in the papers.

  2. Stainless says


    Really enjoyed your reports and although I didn’t get to the game, I’m delighted for the Tigers.

    Am I the first Almanacker to say “Richmond are 2012 Premiers”?

  3. Mic
    Thanks for the Premier Cricket reports.
    Enjoyable and informative.
    Go Dogs in 2012/2013 !

  4. Gigs, Stainless & Smokie – Thank you very much.

    Gigs – Reports getting smaller. Coverage of the finals series was particularly disappointing. Can’t see it improving unfortunately.

    Stainless – Yes, you’re the first. Congrats to the Tigers. Hopefully “Richmond” will be included in the (inevitable) name change.

    Smokie – Sad time for the Dogs with the passing of club great Ron Gaunt last Friday. PC & CA have nice tributes on their websites. Gaunt took 68 wickets for the Dogs in 1964/65 (his opening partner Tony Leigh took 50) including a hat trick in the semi final win over Melbourne to lead the Dogs to their first VCA Final.

    Do you have a tip for the Ryder? I’ll go Chasemore (FP), Rose (CSM), King (Ring) Kight (FE)


  5. John Butler says

    Mic, tremendous work all summer.

    If cricket’s administrators actually cared about grass roots cricket any more (outside of their own controlled ‘pathways’), they’d be backing people with your knowledge and enthusiasm to present the view from the suburbs. Sadly, we don’t live in that sort of world now.

    As a regional follower, I have greatly appreciated being kept in touch with the happenings on Melbourne fields.


  6. Top work Michael. Memories of district cricket are still strong for me, though it must be a decade since i’ve attended a game, 2001-02, maybe. Sad about Ron Gaunt, Colin Watson often spoke highly of him, and i have some vague memories of him from my junior days @ Footscray under 13’s. Richmond AFL fans, shoud be ecstatic re this premiership, as it’s the ony flag bearing Richmonds name they’ll see in 2012.


  7. Mic Rees says

    John – Many thanks for your feedback during 11/12. Sorry the Panthers couldn’t salute, I’m sure you would’ve been hoping for a win for Tom & James, No disgrace in going down to a very fine Richmond team.

    Glen- Hope to see you at MHO in 12/13. I’m sure Colin’s cousin Barry, our last Ryder Medalist, would’ve benefitted from Ron’s advice during his time as a coach at the Western Oval. Thanks.


  8. Who would have picked that a few weeks ago? Nice piece Mic, Cheers.

  9. Hello Trent.

    If you re-visit my selections throughout the season and into the finals series you’ll see I would’ve been no chance of picking the two Final combatants.



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