Premier Cricket: 2011/12 Grand Final Preview

Preview – 2011/12 Premier Cricket Final

One game of the 2011/12 Premier Cricket season remains. After finishing the Home and Away season with consecutive loses Dandenong found form when it mattered most knocking over the first and second ranked sides in consecutive weekends. They’ll defend the premiership they captured in dramatic circumstances a year ago. Richmond has been outstanding in their two post season appearances, dispatching their opponents in convincing fashion. What follows is look at how the Tigers and Panthers seasons panned out from Round 1 way back on October 8 thru to their respective semi-final victories last Sunday.

Richmond: 2011/12 record: Finished 3rd – 10 wins, 1 draw, 4 loses

Richmond finished season 2010/11 a disappointing 15th. The batsmen held up their end of the bargain, (the Tigers were the seventh heaviest scoring side) but, with the exception of Allan Wise (32wkts) a mediocre attack needed an overhaul with only four teams conceding more runs during the home and away season. Their quest for the 2011/12 title couldn’t have got off to a worse start when Footscray Edgewater easily accounted for them on the opening day. Three victories in their next four starts saw October commitments completed with a 3-2 record, the highlight being a solid win over Geelong to christen their new home venue Central Reserve Waverley. The Tigers opened November by handing Casey South Melbourne a serve thrashing, debutant Graham Manou (80) top scoring in a total of 9/342 (dec). The following Saturday saw Allan Wise and Matt Shimell taking three wickets apiece to destroy Casey (80 and 3/119). A wet end to November meant the Tigers were forced to wait ‘til early December for their next appointment. Chasing a massive 378 for victory at Ringwood, Manou (123) starred again and Will Sheridan (91) provided superb assistance as Richmond (7/378) registered their fifth win for the season, surpassing the previous seasons modest tally of four victories. Rain sabotaged any chance of a win against reigning premier Dandenong, and when they successfully negotiated a visit to Doncaster in Round 10, Richmond completed the first half of the season 6 wins, 2 draws, 2 losses and comfortably entrenched in the top four.

Melbourne would hand the Tigers their only loss at Central Reserve for the season when PC returned from its seasonal shutdown in early January. The Tigers then benefitted when the pitch at Monash University was deemed “unfit for play” on the second day of the match against Hawthorn in Round 12, the Hawks forfeit handing them the points. Manou (64) and Ryan Carters (62no) guided the side to an easy victory over one time powerhouse St Kilda the win all but guaranteeing a First XI finals appearance for the first time since 2002/03. Their next two opponents, second placed Prahran and top four hopeful Frankston would provide the resurgent Richmond club with a clear indication as to whether they could expect to challenge for this seasons title. Within the space of fifteen days any doubts surrounding the Tigers championship bona fides had been dispelled. Cam White (147) demolished the opposition on day one of the clash with Prahran, the True Blues (252) never seriously challenging the target a week later, dropping points for only the third time in season 2011/12. Will Sheridan (5/20) contained Frankston (203), and half centuries to White (55no), Carters (54no) and Dan Sartori (53) saw the team cruise to an easy seven wicket win. A shock loss at Westgarth on the final afternoon cost the Yellow and Black any chance of a second place finish and hosting rights during the first fortnight of the finals. A “bronze medal” finish meant sixth placed  Melbourne would be the Tigers opponent in the Quarter Final stage of the 2011/12 Premier Cricket play offs, their first post season trip in nine seasons.

The Tigers struggled to 6/136 on the first afternoon of the QF meeting with the MCC, but a stoic rear guard fight saw Richmond (236) provide Wise, Shimell and Sheridan something to bowl at. The MCC were in early trouble closing Day 1 at 3/19. The carnage continued the following morning, the Demons collapsing twice (119 & 167). One wicket would be lost in compiling the 53 runs required for an outright victory, only Frankston Peninsula standing between the rejuvenated Richmond unit and a spot in the season finale. When the Tigers batting line up failed for the second time in a week, heroes were required. Ben Torney (70) and Manou (52) helped advance the Tiger cause to set the Heat 201 for victory.  Three balls short of forty overs was all the Tigers needed to capture the ten wickets needed for victory, Frankston (61) all out, a dismal end for the Heat which meant that for the first time in a dozen seasons the Richmond Cricket Club were off to the “big one”.

Season Leaders:

Batsmen: Ryan Carters 463/46.30 ave, Andrew Delmont 413/31.77ave, Graham Manou 358/51.14 ave

Bowlers: Matt Shimell 33 wkts/17.21 ave, Allan Wise 29wkts/16.76 ave, Brenton McDonald 25 wkts/25.16 ave


Dandenong: 2011/12 record: Finished 8th – 8 wins, 1 draw, 6 loses

The reigning title holder got off to a flyer posting a score of 6/246 against the MCC at the picturesque Albert Ground, then hung on to open their 2011/12 Premier Cricket campaign with a two run victory. Brett Forsyth celebrated his return to the Dandenong Cricket Club with a superb century, swiftly erasing memories of the annus horribilis he spent at Toorak Park the previous season. Seven days later Forsyth brought up his second century in as many innings to ensure Dandenong weren’t surprised by the visiting Hawthorn Monash University outfit, the hosts recording a comfortable victory. Away wins at the Junction Oval (Rd3) and Butler Oval Frankston (Rd5) were interspersed with Shepley slip ups against a highly ranked Prahran team and a shock loss to struggling Northcote who encountered no problems in pursuing, them passing, the victory target of 301.  With the two day game at Melbourne University washed out, Dandy was four and two after six outings.

A poor run of form at Shepley Oval ended when Footscray Edgewater’s 301 wasn’t nearly enough to prevent the Panthers (3/303) notching win number five, Forsyth (122 no) and Tom Donnell (109) sharing an opening stand of 172 that set the hosts up to record a strong victory. Weather came to the rescue during the trip to Central Reserve, Richmond (309), Dandy (8/162) rain the deciding factor in what ultimately was a preview to the season finale. When the home “hoodoo” struck again in the pre-Christmas showdown with Geelong, the Cats grabbing the points by a comfortable 30 run margin, the champions went to the break sporting a 5-2-3 record.

The New Year commenced with a visit to Princes Park, Tom Donnell (139) leading the way with his second ton of the season, Dandenong (4/258) ending the unbeaten run of Carlton (214). A relatively easy home win over Camberwell preceded a disappointing effort at Cranbourne, the visitors (254) reducing Casey to 7/122. An unbroken 133 run partnership for the eighth wicket led the hosts to a stirring victory, Dandy’s inability to finish off a plucky CSM snuffing out the possibility of a late charge at grabbing a double chance. 30 wickets tumbled during the amazing outright-in-a-day, victory over Essendon (55 & 66), the Bombers dismissed twice inside three sessions, Dandenong (145) not requiring Pattinson J to bowl a single over. Wilcock & Wilcocks (sounds like a legal firm) did the damage with the ball, the title holders finding themselves with an “open” day the following Saturday. A bad loss to Ringwood was backed up with an odious effort against North Melbourne, and the 2010/11 pennant winners looked destined for a swift exit from premiership race.

Finishing eighth meant the Panthers flag defence would commence at Princes Park Carlton. The Blues made hard work batting on the first day, and when the compulsory closure was enforced 10 overs into Sunday’s action, Dandenong’s equation was simple – score 309 to advance to a semi-final, or pack the flannels and willow away for seven months. Captain Darren Dempsey, one loss from completing a magnificent Premier Cricket career led from the front scoring his 27th Premier Cricket century (108no) to carry his team to victory, the Panthers stopping Carlton’s progress for the second year in succession – the reward a date with treble chasing Prahran at Toorak Park. By tea on the first day of the semi-final the True Blues hopes of ending a pennant drought that stretches back to the mid 80’s had been blown away by a Dandenong attack of Boraston, Nanopoulos, Fairbanks, Wilcock and Butterfield. No Siddle, no Pattinsons, no problems, Prahran (119) on life support and in dire need of more than a few early wickets. The home team bowled exceptionally well, but Forsyth and Donnell were even better. Ninety on the board before the first wicket fell, a lead achieved early on the second morning. Prahran attempted to engineer a miracle, one that was never to be. Dandenong moved on to its second decider in a row, their third finale in six seasons.

Season Leaders:

Batsmen: Tom Donnell 875/51.47 ave, Brett Forsyth 790/49.38ave, D M Dempsey 434/31.00 ave

Bowlers: James Wilcock 30 wkts/21.40 ave, James Nanopoulos 28wkts/21.89 ave, Justin Butterfield 23 wkts/25.87 ave


Last 5 starts – Richmond WWLWW Dandenong WLLWW

Last Time they met – Round 9 2011/12 Saturday December 10 & Sunday December 11 2011 – @ Central Reserve, Waverley.

Richmond 309 (Tom Murray 87, Dan Sartori 77, Josh Durant 33, James Nanopoulos 3/41) drew with Dandenong 8/162 (Michael Sweeney 58 no, Jack Worrell 46, Matt Shimell 3/37, Allan Wise 3/43)


Both teams announced 13 man squads for the Final. Richmond have added Michael Sheedy, Dominic Matarazo and Chris Weeks to its successful Semi Final team, Cam White is unavailable. Matt Wilcocks and Jack Worrell have been included in the Panthers XI that defeated Prahran last weekend.



Who’ll win?

The form of the two Grand Finalists over the past fortnight has been nothing short of sensational. The decider is set for the Junction Oval St Kilda which traditionally has been a batsmans paradise. It’s been a different story in 2011/12 with only two scores of 300 + (amazingly the visiting Prahran side were responsible for both totals just seven days apart in early December) scored in First grade all season. Whilst the Tiger attack consisting of Shimell, Wise, McDonald and Sheridan runs deeper than Dandy’s, anyone who witnessed Wilcock, Nanopoulos, Boraston,  Fairbanks and Butterfield skittling the much vaunted Prahran batting line up last Saturday may beg to differ. They’ve done the job all season, Dandenong’s “Talented Test Trio” of Siddle and the Pattinsons have combined for a mere 37 overs in 11/12. Brett Forsyth and Tom Donnell have consistently provided Dandenong with strong starts throughout the season, including a pair of 90 run opening stands in the preceding two finals.  Richmond must strike early to deny the heavy scoring pair an opportunity set up their team by laying the ground work for a large total.

The previous meeting in December was marred by poor weather, the Tigers falling two wickets short of what would’ve provided them some sort of psychological advantage entering Friday’s game. I seriously doubt that this weekend’s match will be a high scoring affair. I have a little more confidence in the ability of the Richmond “tail” to eke out a few more runs than their Panther counterparts if required. Therefore, I think the Yellow and Black will capture their sixth District/Premier Cricket First XI premiership sometime late Sunday afternoon. TIP: RICHMOND



  1. Mic
    The whisper at the Knacker lunch yesterday is that the track will indeed be prepared to suit batsmen. Disappointing that C White is unavailable (why?), as it was all set uo for him to turn the corner and register a big score.

  2. Good morning Smokie.

    Cam White – unavailable due to IPL commitments. Hmmmm.

    He’ll be missed. He’s avering 76 with bat for RCC this season, a figure somewhat inflated due to a big ton and two not out’s.

    Matarazzo bowls a bit (14 wkts this season in 1XI), Weeks might come in if the Tigers are concerned about replacing White as a batsman.


  3. …and Michael Sheedy…Altona boy?

  4. Smokie – Sheedy got the nod. Quite surprised by that selection.

    Dandenong – 2/78 off 29 overs. Forsyth 27 not out. Wise & Torney are the wicket takers.


  5. Sheedy 12th

  6. Bluefan – Quite correct. Apologies to all for the earlier error.

    Hopefully I’ll acquire the ability to read during the off season. Thanks again.

    Stumps Day 1

    Dandenong 237 Brett Forsyth 97 – 242 BF, 352 min, 9 x 4 last man out.

    McDonald, Sheridan & Torney 3 wickets each for the Tigers

    Richmond 1/24. Require 214 for victory.


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