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Match Day

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Dunstan Shield: Crunch Round 13 - all teams are in contention.

Mont Albert the only banker for the finals.

The run home for each team

The penultimate round of turf cricket, starting this weekend, shapes as the crunch round as all eight Dunstan Shield teams are in contention for the finals. The only 'banker' is Mont Albert who with 51 points have stayed on top of the ladder for the whole season. Bottom placed Heathmont, on 30 points, are just one game out of the top four. Weather and upsets have set up a great month of cricket to the finals:
Here is our view of the run home for each of the teams.

Mont Albert

First Place: 51pts 1.429
Mont Albert deserve to be on top - they set up their season with three straight wins during the the spring weather 'lottery' rounds and have been consistently good ever since; which is reflected in their percentage 1.42. They recruited well with UK imports - but the core of their team is still very much home grown.Veteran Tim Wright gets another opportunity for a Dunstan Shield Premiership. After a hiccup against Glen Iris in Round 11, they bounced back with a solid and hard-fought win at home against North Balwyn in Round 12. 
Run Home:
On form, they should have too much firepower at home for the plucky Bulleen. While we predict their Round 14 match against Old Carey will probably be a dead rubber for them, depending on results, they will be still wary of leaving the door open for the two time defending champs Old Carey to sneek into the four.

East Doncaster

Second place: 42 points 1.045
East Doncaster will be desperate to hang onto second spot to secure a home final.  Like all the sides in Dunstan this season (with the exception of Mont Albert), their results have been patchy. They scored a gritty win against contenders Glen Iris in the first round after the break, but then conceded to a Lachy Street inspired Canterbury.
However their batters have found form, all rounder Matt Vaiano has hit his straps at the right time of the season. Their side is filled with Dunstan experience, and their unexpected exit in last year's Semi at the hands of Old Carey still stings.
Run Home
Will not be easy. The home ground advantage could be the difference against Heathmont, but with Dylan Howard in full flight and Heathmont still a chance, they will not want to have a flat spot at any stage of this match. Then it is away against North Balwyn.

Glen Iris

Third Place 39pts 1.264
Fair to say things didn't go according to plan in Round 12 - after being invted to bat by the hosts Bulleen, they declared on 8/189. But a strong Pete Martinich response saw one of the big upsets of the season, and in the process Glen Iris conceding second spot on the ladder. It was a blip on what has been an excellent season for them. They defeated Mont Albert in Round 11 and they have a number of potential match winners in their best XI. Nick Stone has been brilliant with the ball this season.
Run Home
They will want to keep their unbeaten home record in tact as they take on North Balwyn in Round 13. If Heathmont win their Round 13 match, then their trip up Canterbury Road to Heathmont will be no easy task in the final Round. A home-ground Semi is up for grabs if all goes right for them.

North Balwyn

Fourth Place 36pts 1.128
WIth James Binney only a part-timer this season, North Balwyn's attack has struggled at times. A one-run loss against Heathmont in Round 9 - where Xavier Bateman almost pulled off a miracle - will still be in the minds of the team as an opportunity lost. 
Run Home
Probably the toughest assignemnt of all the top four teams. Glen Iris away and East Doncaster at home. They will be looking for Sam Perry to recapture some of his early season form to secure their spot in the finals.

Old Carey

Fifth Place 30pts 1.029
While no one in the top four will say it out loud, the prospect of a seasoned outfit like Old Carey hovering around and falling into the finals is an uncomfortable prospect.  Thanks partly to a brutal ton by Ricky Khera in Round 11, Old Carey's percentage is the best of the sides outside the four. East Doncaster had their measure comfortably in the last round - and like most of the sides have been patchy this season.
Run Home
An away game against Canterbury is their first challenge, and assuming they get over them, they will have to defeat flag favourites Mont Albert at home in the final round to shore up a spot. After their efforts of the past two seasons, who would bet against them?

Canterbury

Sixth Place: 30pts 0.808
Missed a golden opportunity last round - losing on first innnings to Heathmont. After knocking off East Doncaster at home in the previous round, and looking like they were setting up for a late charge, they conceded a first innings loss to Heathomnt. The old firm of Moore and Duckworth ran through Heathomont to restrict them to 114, only to see the fit again Dylan Howard (top score of 42) take 7-44 (17) overs to be blasted out for 92
Run Home
Home against Old Carey and then away to Bulleen. Both winnable matches - watch out for experienced Skipper Chris Moore to step up over the next two rounds.

Bulleen

Seventh Place: 30pts, 0.808
Bulleen defeated the reigning champs Old Carey in their first outing for the season, and claimed a huge upset win against Glen Iris last round, but otherwise have not really threatened in most matches. Recruited well and after an impressive year back in Dunstan the previous season, would probably feel they treaded water a bit this year.
Run Home
Away against Mont Albert and then home to Canterbury. A long-shot to win both.

Heathmont

Eighth Place: 30pts, 0.734
Replaced Marcellin in Dunstan Shield this season and certainly got everyone's attention after a first match tie against Old Carey and then knocking off North Balwyn at Macleay Park after that. But a serious injury to Howard exposed their depth and they hit a low point when Mont Albert cashed in on them in round 6. They defeated North Balwyn for the second time at home in one of the games of the season and claimed first innings points against Canterbury to give themselves a chance of finals.
Run Home
They run into a couple of in form teams - East Doncaster (away) and then Glen Iris at home. Not writing them off in either of these games.
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Mont Albert are warm flag favourites going into the final two rounds. Here skipper Andrew Padbury in action against North Balwyn. Photo ©2023 Chris Mirabella
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