Mid-season review – how are we going?

As we head into the second half of the season, and with this weekend’s matches called off due to the heat rule, it’s a great time to review our progress so far in 2017/18. One big question is – can we do as well, or better, than last season?

For a quick recap of 2016/17, our notable achievements included finals appearances by 5 of our 6 senior teams, and 1 of our 4 junior teams, plus three premiership cups: VTCA Senior Seconds, WDCA One Day (our Vets team) and WCCC North West T20 (our Women’s team).

So how is 2017/18 panning out so far? Nearly all our teams are in finals contention, so that’s a great start! Read on below for a look at each team’s progress, and what’s coming up.

VTCA – Men’s WCCC – Women’s WRJCA – Juniors

Numbers are down at training, so make sure you get down every week from now on and let’s finish off the season in the best possible form. Don’t forget $10 meals are available every Thursday after training.

VTCA – MEN’S

First XI

Ladder position: 3rd of 8
This time last year: 3rd of 8
If the ladder position is anything to go by, our First XI are our most consistent team when compared against last year’s performance. Having won 4 of 6 matches played so far, we’re well positioned for a tilt at finals again. We’ve been able to get some games into some younger guys so far, bringing up some who’ve done well into the seconds, so that should set us up well for future seasons too. With the standard of the competition so high, our biggest challenge is to make sure we reach peak form to get into the finals, and can maintain that form to push all the way through to a long-awaited premiership.
Our next match is 13 & 20 January, away to Strathmore.

Second XI

Ladder position: 4th of 8
This time last year: 3rd of 7
Our Second XI are well placed to try to replicate last season’s success. Having won 3 of 6 matches played so far, player fluctuation has had an impact – it’s been great to have Seconds players getting a chance with the First XI and it’s meant that some younger players are getting an opportunity to test themselves at a higher level with us, which should mean we’re better positioned in future seasons. To successfully defend our title, we’re going to have to put in a standout second half of the season, and we’ll be going all out to give ourselves the best shot to do just that.
Our next game is at home, 13 & 20 January against Strathmore.

Third XI

Ladder position: 5th of 10
This time last year: 2nd of 12
Our Third XI have struggled for consistency this year, with player unavailability a major challenge in many weeks and 2 wins in our 6 matches. The focus for this year is to give the younger players a better go, so the more experienced players have been stepping back and playing a supporting role to help bring them on. In the batting department, we’ve lost some depth, so a few telling batting collapses have been our downfall. For the rest of the season, we’ll be focusing on improving the bowlers’ consistency and encouraging the batters to bat in partnerships. We’re only just outside the four, so all going well we aim to make finals again.
Our next match is 13 & 20 January, away to West Coburg.

Fourth XI

Ladder position: 2nd of 11
This time last year: 11th of 12
Our decision to focus on fielding a more competitive Fourth XI in a one day only comp this season has paid off, with our former Vets players now in the mix here instead of entering their own separate competition. So far, our Fourths have won 5 of the 8 matches played, and were on track for a 6th win before rain intervened. And this is despite struggling many weeks to get 11 players on the park! The Fourths games are giving our up-and-coming juniors a great opportunity to learn to play on turf wickets, and the excellent leadership of our more experienced players and support of our Vets is helping them along this path. Could this be a breakthrough season for our Fourths? Watch this space.
Our next game is 13 January, away to Point Cook.

WCCC – WOMEN’S

Shield

Ladder positions: One Day 7th of 8 / T20 1st of 6
This time last year: One Day 1st of 11 / T20 2nd of 11
Stepping up to Shield level in the women’s community cricket comp has been a challenge for our women’s team this season; our early games in the one day format have resulted in just 1 win from 5 matches played. But in the T20 we continue to kick butt – after 3 matches we are sitting top of the T20 Shield North West ladder. With 2 more fixtured matches to play in the T20 comp, we’re in a good position to push for hosting rights for the final on the weekend of 27/28 January. Watch this space.
Our next match is a T20 on 14 January, away to Napoleons-Sebastopol.

WRJCA – JUNIORS

Under 17½A

Ladder position: 1st of 8
This time last year: 6th of 8
The season started with us in B grade, however after 3 emphatic wins it showed we weren’t going to get much improvement in our game by staying at this level.  By Round 4 we were up in A grade and despite a ‘rude awakening’ against Werribee, the boys have adjusted to the higher standard with a stronger belief in their ability to match it with the best in their age group.  The last game before Christmas saw the boys comfortably take out their first A grade win in a T20 game against Altona – and they sure enjoyed having that winning feeling again!
Our next game is a one dayer on 13 January, away to Sunshine Heights.

Under 13A

Ladder position: 4th of 4
This time last year: 3rd of 8
It’s been a difficult start to the season for our U13As but at the same time enjoyable, with the team working hard to improve their individual skills and work as a team to ensure we get something out of every game. Our bowling has continued to improve, with extras being reduced every game and all of our 4 new players have taken their first wickets for Spotswood. The fielding has been something we have worked hard on each training session and the team has continued to develop their skills in both ground balls and catches. With our batting, we have been working on valuing our wicket and not just throwing it away after a start. So with all this in mind, we look forward to finishing off the year positively and productively.
Our next match is at home, 20 January against Yarraville.

Under 11A (Yellow)

Ladder position: 6th of 8
This time last year: 8th of 8
Into our second season of modified rules, shorter pitches and a special ball, our U11A team is consolidating on its performances from last year.  Each wicket penalises the batting team by four runs so it is important when batting that our players look to defend their wicket. Our players are continuing to improve all aspects of their game. We’ve won 4½ of the 10 games played, and are out of the finals by only a game, with another four games to go.
Our next match is on 2 February, away to Seddon.

Under 11B (Green)

There are lots of new players to the club this season, including three girls, playing in our second under 11s team – this is a direct result of the recruiting work put into the Family Day. Playing home games on turf at Donald McLean Reserve No. 1 is not a bad start for these kids! There are often players rotating in and out of the Yellow team, assisting their younger or inexperienced team mates. We’ve won 5½ of the 9 games played, with another four games to go.
Our next match is on 2 February, away to Footscray ANA.