Two of the four Essendon sides came home with the chocolates in the penultimate round of the season against Fitzroy Doncaster.
The First XI completed a comeback victory that had at one stage looked nigh-on impossible. After being skittled for just 150 on the first day, Clint McKay and Matt Doric claimed two wickets apiece to leave Fitzroy Doncaster’s chase hanging in the balance at 5/75 at stumps. With both sides halfway to their target, the first session was going to be crucial in deciding the result. Doric and McKay set the ascendancy immediately as they claimed the wickets of captain Peter Dickson and Trent Lawford, snuffing out the last of the Fitzroy Doncaster top order and triggering a final collapse. Doric finished with 5/66 and McKay 4/14 as the Bombers celebrated a 39-run win.
The Second XI had the runs in the bank to successfully defend their way to an 81-run win over Fitzroy Doncaster that strengthens their top four chances. It was one-way traffic for much of the day as Liam Molly (3/38) and Louis Cameron (3/58) combined to take the score to 9/122. However, the Bombers were frustrated but not denied by a tenth wicket stand of 108 between Charles Simondson and Mitch Chappell.
The Third XI went down in a heart-stopper by two wickets as Fitzroy Doncaster overhauled their total of 275 in the final over of the day. The Bombers were in a strong position when James Ford (5/82) dismissed Bailen Clarke to have the score 6/162. However, just as happened in the Second XI’s match, unexpected tail end partnerships rallied Fitzroy Doncaster. Unfortunately for the Bombers, they did not get away with allowing their opponents to get out of jail. The upset defeat against the fifteenth-placed Fitzroy Doncaster has seen Essendon fall out of the top eight, needing to win the next match to reclaim a finals place.
The Fourth XI were blown away by two extraordinary Fitzroy Doncaster performances and could only watch in horror as a competitive total was reduced to nothing. Brendan Grace (162*) and Bayley Forbes (68) buried the Bombers in a 189-run opening avalanche of a partnership en route to a nine-wicket thrashing.