Essendon endured another tough day in their Round 15 clashes against Monash Tigers.
The First XI will need to bring their best efforts to Central Reserve North next Saturday to keep their finals hopes alive. The Bombers were rolled for just 182 and their situation only worsened by stumps with the Tigers’ openers wiping off 55 runs in an unbeaten stand.
In a frustratingly persistent trend, the Bombers’ top order made starts but could not go on to decisive totals. Michael Hill (46), Aaron Ayre (30) and Joel Lidgett (29) returned to the sheds just as they were looking comfortable as Dan Christian in particular bedevilled the Bombers with 5/42.
Needing a fast start with the ball, Essendon were disarmed by Christian and Dan Sartori and could not break the opening stand before stumps.
The Second XI were left rueing a missed opportunity to skittle Monash for a lowly total and will now look to bat their way to victory next week. After being sent in to bowl, Essendon had taken the upper hand with the score at 4/67 as Matt Adams took two crucial top order wickets. However, Monash were able to snake their way out of the Bombers’ grip as Thaveesh Attanayake (89) almost single-handedly changed the match’s momentum and provided the launching pad for the Tigers to reach 262 by stumps.
The Third XI fought an entertaining day’s cricket against Monash and will chase 221 next week. Momentum was a hot potato all day with the Bombers seizing the initiative early: James Ryan (3/22) kick-started a run of wickets that had the Tigers in trouble at 3/48 only for Nick Suppree (81) to wrest control back Monash’s way. The final twist in the day came when Bomber bowler Adam Hunichen stormed through the Tigers’ tail to take the last three wickets for just 11 runs. A top four position will await Essendon should they reach the target of 222 against the third-placed Tigers.
The Fourth XI came up against first-placed Monash Tigers in a fiery mood but have nonetheless provided themselves with a chance of causing a major upset next week. Whilst the Bombers were unable to contain run-makers Branden Wagstaff (91), Corey Williams (59) and Connor Andrews (49), their persistence meant that they were able to winkle out the rest of the Monash line-up without suffering too much damage. Will Blair (4/47) and James Deasy (3/66) took most of the wickets as the Bombers finally closed out the Tigers’ innings at 276 in a touch under 80 overs.