Premier Cricket – Quarter Final review


by Mic Rees

The 2011/12 Quarter finals of Premier Cricket saw two favourites salute, a major reversal of form and a surprise result in the remaining game.

Reigning champs Dandenong travelled to Princes Park to take on minor premier Carlton. Despite missing both Pattinson boys and Peter Siddle, the Panthers would have been satisfied with their efforts on the first day, Carlton 5/234 – Simon Keen (105) & Lachlan McKenna (9) undefeated at stumps. It was Keens second ton for the Blues since moving to Princes Park from Sydney club Bankstown at the start of the season. Nathan Pilon (63) took his tally to 821 runs for 2011/12, the Blues skipper adding 110 for the third wicket with Keen. The home side took the option of facing an additional 10 overs on Sunday morning, Keen (120), McKenna (34) and Peter Manser (29) ensuring Carlton (8/308cc) set the reigning premier a difficult task on the second afternoon. Justin Butterfield (3/85) was the pick of the Dandenong bowlers.  A 98 run opening partnership between Tom Donnell (53) and Brett Forsyth (41) provided Dandy the start they required, however the loss of three quick wickets had the home side back on top. But with his first century for season 11/12, the 27th of his illustrious career, Darren Dempsey (108no), with marvellous support from James Nanopoulos (37) and Michael Sweeney (30), led the Panthers (5/310) to a memorable victory. It was the second season in succession Dandenong had eliminated the Blues from the title race and the third time in the last five seasons the eighth ranked team had disposed of the minor premier at the Quarter final stage of the post season.

Melbourne won the toss and offered first use of the wicket to Richmond at Central Reserve. Opening batsman Ryan Carters (67) added 53 with Tom Boxell for the first wicket and 46 with Andrew Delmont for the second. A middle order collapse saw the home side slip to 6/136. Brenton McDonald (42no), Dan Sartori (26) and Brett Torney (24) rescued the cause, Richmond (236) from 86.5 overs. Andrew McDonald (3/34) cleaned up the tail to take the bowling honours. The Demons had 10 overs to negotiate prior to stumps, but crashed to lose Rob Cooper (0), Andrew Kent (4) and nightwatchman Steve Gilmour (5) to finish Day 1 at 3/19. Less than 40 overs into Sunday’s action Melbourne (118) had been decimated, their pennant aspirations for 11/12 extinguished. Matt Shimmell (2/17) and Allan Wise (1/17) did the damage early, Cam White (2/38) and Will Sheridan (3/20) knocking over the bottom of the MCC order. Following on, Melbourne (167) made a slightly better fist of batting the second time around, Cooper (54) a standout. Brenton McDonald (5/61) ran through the Dees middle order, the 27 year olds haul included the prize wicket of older brother Andrew (25).  Richmond (1/53) needed just under 10 overs to claim outright victory and a ticket to the semi finals for the first time in a dozen years.

Geelong ventured down to the Mornington Peninsula for the second weekend in a row to take on Frankston. The Cats made short work of the hosts last Saturday, dismissing the Heat for just 70 runs, reaching the required target in fewer than 13 overs to rack up the easiest of wins. When Geelong’s Luke Muller trapped Ben Clements leg before wicket for 11, the home side had collapsed to 7/34. Nick Jewell (59) received stoic support from Scott Boland (12) and Jon Holland (33) and whilst Frankston (133) set the Cats a mediocre total to chase down, it was almost double their first innings effort seven days earlier. Jake Reed (3/15) and Muller (3/27) bowled superbly for the visitors.  Unlike the previous weekend the Frankston attack wrested control of the contest requiring a mere 37.4 overs to rout the visitors, Geelong (91) trailing the hosts by 42 runs on the first innings. Liam Buchanan (45) played a lone hand in what was an otherwise lamentable batting display by Geelong. Spearheading the rousing Heat fight back was club veteran Darren Groves (7/29). It was the first time the 34 year old Groves, a veteran of 17 seasons of Premier Cricket, had taken seven wickets in an innings. Jon Holland (2/23) provided Groves with all the help he needed. Batting a second time captain Matt Chasemore (47) led all Heat scorers, Frankston (182), the Cats needing to score at better than 8 runs an over to reach the victory target of 225 in the second innings to keep their semi-final hopes alive. Jeremy Hart (5/72) took his tally to 52 wickets for the campaign as a result of his third “five for” of 2011/12. The early stage of the crazed run chase saw Meyrick Buchanan (34) and TS Elliot (26) scoring at better than a run a ball but when Eliot departed the end was nigh, Geelong (101) losing 6/16 to fall 124 runs short of advancing to the final four. Holland (5/10) from 3.5 overs starred for Frankston who are now just one win from returning to the PC Final for the second season in a row.

At Toorak Park, Prahran sent Camberwell in. Steve Seymour had the opposition in enormous trouble early removing openers McLean (0) and Crosthwaite (3), the Maggies reeling at 2 for 8. Simon Hill and Tom Rickarby set about salvaging the innings and added 77 runs for the third wicket. Rhys Adams trapped Rickarby (39) leg before wicket, Hill (46) departing six runs later. From there it was all downhill for the visitors as they lost 6/42, Camberwell (133). Seymour (4/40), Adams (3/29) and Bryce McGain (3/23) doing as they pleased for the hosts, the Magpies first finals foray in five seasons destined to be a brief one. By stumps on the first day Prahran (3/229) were in complete control, Steve De Bolfo (56), Dan Salpietro (41) and Seymour (25) getting starts with Chris Rogers (98) and Neil Schlittler (7) the not out batsman. The two unbeaten batsman picked up where they left off on Sunday, Rogers (113) notching his second Premier Cricket ton of 2011/12, he and Schlittler (67) piling on the pain for the visitors. Cricket’s version of the “mercy rule” was evoked at the lunch break early Sunday afternoon, Prahran (7/352) after 85 overs, cruising to the easiest of victories. With the T20 and one day trophies already secured Prahran are within two wins of claiming a terrific treble of trophies for 2011/12.

In next weekends First XI semi finals Prahran host Dandenong at Toorak Park and Frankston travel to Central Reserve Waverley to take on Richmond.


  1. John Butler says

    Mixed feelings about the Princes Park result Mic.

    Glad to see James contribute to a win. But sorry for Carlton who see a great season wiped in one result.

    The phenomenon of the bogey team says a lot about the role of psychology in sport.

    I didn’t know TS Elliot played for Geelong. Cue jokes about The Wasteland of Geelong’s batting?

  2. John.

    Not sure PC will change the format. If it was gonna happen last years defeat of minor premier St Kilda by Frankston would’ve started the ball rolling.

    Panthers face another tough one this weekend at Toorak Park. Don’t write Dandy off.

    TS Elliot – Cats?


  3. Very disappointing result – Blues had their chances but dropped 5 catches and missed 3 direct run outs. I watched the game in full – I was surprised they batted first considering that the wicket had plenty in it. However those batsmen in form, openers Hancock and McCormick did well. Hancock batted more than the session for his runs and McCormick around an hour and a half. Hard going but it laid the platform. Keen was extremely controlled and Pilon at his fluent best. They then lost 3 wickets reasonably quickly with out the addition of many runs. Dandenong continued bowling wide and set defensive fields, even after taking the new ball, but the Blues were tough and got through to stumps without the loss of any more wickets. The next day it was almost like watching a different game. The wicket had flattened out and it was excellent for batting – Carlton put on 75 runs in 10 over before the compulsive declaration. The three wicket that fell were of their own doing seeking runs, even down to the final run out on the last ball trying to get an extra run.
    The rest they say is history with each Dandenong key batsmen getting runs.

    Regarding 1st being beaten by 8th or any of the top four losing to the bottom four- what to do to make it fair ? Personally I feel that the rules shouldn’t change. During the season there is no compulsory declaration – yet for the quarter final and semi finals there is. Then in the final, a three day game there again is no compulsory declaration. Why for these two finals? On Sun, Dandenong were merely waiting for the 10 overs to finish to see what they would be chasing. They were not trying to bowl Carlton out, in fact they weren’t on Sat either – they bowled negatively – and Carlton batted to control the game. If the rules were as they were during the season, Dandenong would have bowled differently to try and bowl the Blues out. Carlton would have kept batting – because they were good enough to do so. That would have been the reward. The fact that teams cant bat the day now very often, is why this rule can change. Dandenong had the best of the conditions for batting and Carlton failed to bowl them out or make it even hard for them which was disappointing – Carlton lost the game when they made the play. They did fail to bowl well or even bowl defensively. Why they didn’t do the same as the Panthers did I don’t know – but Carlton bowled to get them out rather than wide or down leg or short balls etc. I think the bowlers lost their way attacking and the Dandenong batsmen (on that road as it was on Sunday) were too good. I am a disappointed supporter but there is plenty of upside.
    Blues finish nearly 28 points ahead of Dandenong and are now out. Unless it becomes a six, where the highest ranked losers get through to the second week, then I feel that the non compulsory declaration is the only way to go.

  4. Stainless says

    Maybe the Blues should’ve left a block of ice on the pitch!

    Re. Geelong’s batting – I thought April was the cruellest month.

  5. Some excellent points there, Bluefan…

    For mine, it should just be a top 4, like nearly every other cricket competition.

  6. Bluesfan – With talk of Premier Cricket increasing the number of clubs in the competition I doubt there will be a reduction in how many qualify for finals. 2 divisions 4 qualify from each region – eight teams still progress.

    Finishing 1st or 2nd earns teams the right to host Quarter and Semi finals. That in itself is a decent reward. This system is a lot fairer than the old “team that hosted H&A fixture plays same opponent away in finals”regardless of ladder position at the end of season.

    Dandenong may have used negative tactics, Carlton did receive 25 more overs. As you pointed out in an earlier post this is a young Carlton team. Unfortunately for the Blues Dandy have their “number” at the moment.

    Stainless – Iceblocks, what iceblocks? Would’ve been a ballsy move. The Cats batting stank toward the end of the season, didn’t post a score in excess of 175 in their last four innings for 11/12.


  7. Smokie – Are you aware of any competition, domestic or overseas that have reduced the number of finals/playoffs in recent years?

    1996/97 was the last time District/Premier Cricket had a Top 4 finals system in place. Can’t see a return to that set up.


  8. MCR,

    Hosting the final is a reward – but that is earned. Why change the rules for the finals is the question I asked that wasn’t answered?

    They may have received 25 overs, but of course the first 40 was hard work due to being under the covers for 2.5 days prior to the match due to the weather that was around in Melb – eliminated any advantage

    Your answer will be to give the lower team a chance – do they deserve that then?

  9. Good morning Bluesfan.

    Teams could bat all day bar the last hour (Stackpole/Carlton 77/78) and leave the opposition 60 minutes to chase 400 +. Fun days ! Eliminating the finals rule you question (team batting first can face a maximum of 10 overs the following day then CC) could see incidents such as that occuring. Not sure I’d care to see that happen. Then again Stacky didn’t always get his declarations right (75/76).

    I don’t have a solution that would satisfy everyone, and I doubt last weekends result will lead to a change in the finals format.

    You mentioned the difficult batting conditions that Carlton faced early Saturday. Pilon/Carlton won the toss and elected to bat. If the conditions were as treacherous as you’re suggesting it seems the decision to bat was an ordinary decision from one of the most experienced men in PC.

    All finalists deserve a chance, otherwise ditch finals altogether, with premiership decided on a first-past-the post basis. Mightn’t be a bad idea.


  10. I did not say they were treacherous, they were more favorable to bowling – but Pilon backed the batters and they didnt let him down. Dandenong did help considerably by bowling a foot outsde off stump and not making the batsmen play. It was a slow day as a result – 100 overs for 230 odd…….

    However while the Blues eventually scored 308, they dropped catches, they didnt deserve to take the game as they didnt build pressure. When they did – I believe it was about 21 overs for 24 runs – 3 wickets.

    I overheard Bushy McArdle say that there needs to be reward for teams that finish on top or top two – it could well be a toss of the coin that decides the game and that is not fair. (not in this games case) All I am asking Mic – any ideas. From your comment above – looks like not really – so we are all lost !

    75/76 very funny – but Stacky got it more right than wrong more often than not. Great to have a legend with a legendary stuff up.

    The days above were a top 4, this is a top 8. There is a big difference. (28 points separated 1 & 8) While there are a few more teams, perhaps a top 6 is the way to go. Highest ranked loser remains alive. A top 8, unless you run system like the AFL – so an extra week of finals (with one set of winners resting one week…is that good?) then as it is – I dont believe it is really a fair system. Imagine if the AFL was like our system….it wouldnt happen – because it actually doesn’t make sense.

    All the best with the off season.
    My prediction – Prahan has the experience and the batting – average about 100 games per player – quite an old side – but if the Tigers get through this week, then with their talent they should get there.

  11. Good afternoon Bluesfan.

    I must ‘fess up that I can’t remember what system PC/VCA used during 1997/98-2005/06 when the Top 6 sides qualified for finals. Did the highest ranked loser advance?

    If the number of sides increases to 20 (2 divisions/zones x 10 teams) the Top 5 teams in each group may qualify. If that was the case you could use the same format the VFL ran from 1972 to 1990, the team finishing on goes automatically into the 2nd semi and a passage to the GF with a victory in that game. If they lose the 2nd semi they have a second chance the following weekend.

    Smokie suggested in his post a return to a top 4 would bring PC into line with all other comps. Whilst there would be some hard luck stories every so often that system would only reward the very best performed teams. Can’t see the Pennant Committee giving it the thumbs up unfortunately.

    I believe MLB are introducing an extra wild card spot in their post season this year. Hard to believe they want to extend a season that sees each team play 162 games during the H&A schedule/regular season .

    Prahran & Richmond will start warm, but far from raging hot, favourites this weekend. Should these teams advance I’d favour the Tigers – just.

    Thanks for your input this season, it’s much appreciated.


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