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St Kilda Cricket Club is going in to bat for the Palais Theatre.

The Saints are lending their support to the campaign to save the iconic venue, with players gathering for a photograph in front of the heritage-listed Junction Oval scoreboard displaying the hashtag #ilovemypalais last Tuesday night.

St Kilda president Tim O’Sullivan said the club gained an appreciation of the area’s landmarks when it was trying to shore up its future at the Junction.

“With the help of Serge Thomann from Unchain and in his previous role as deputy mayor of the City of Port Phillip we went through a large education period of trying to understand more about local icons,’’ O’Sullivan said.

“You only have to look at the Espy Hotel, built in 1878; the Botanical Gardens, 153 years old; the George Hotel, built in 1889; Luna Park, which is 102 years old; the St Kilda Pavilion, which burnt down in 2003 but was rebuilt to the original plans … these are all important landmarks to St Kilda.

“Now the Palais Theatre has to be the most important of them because it’s under threat - and we’re being very vocal in our support of it.

“The local council has already kicked in lot of money to the Palais … but it needs (government) help with the refurbishment to make sure it stays and survives and allows us to have somewhere for music and entertainment to thrive in St Kilda.’’

O’Sullivan said he’d attended numerous concerts at the theatre, enjoying local and international acts, and had stormed the stage in excitement when Cyndi Lauper performed Girls Just Want to Have Fun late last year.

Port Phillip Council has vowed to chip in $7.5 million to help save the Palais Theatre, if the party that wins government commits $25 million.

Saints update: 5 rounds in

By Tom Morris

It’s been a mixed first five rounds for St Kilda Cricket Club.

Following a pre-season in which a number of experienced players departed the club, the Saints have fielded four youthful looking elevens in the opening month, with results both inconsistent and promising as a result.

The 3rd XI, led by Stephen Zayler, is unbeaten. This is not to say Zayler’s men have cruised through the opening passages of the year, rather a couple of rear-guard solo efforts have saved the thirds from defeat.

Some late hitting by Zayler himself saw his team post a competitive 7-151 in round one, before prodigious young leg-spinner Jack Gilbert twirled his way to 6-30 off nine mesmerising overs on debut.

Round two was a similarly tense affair, with Henry Hall collecting 3-21 off nine typically stingy overs and Sam Chamberlain batting for the majority of the innings on his way to a mature 72.

Hall was again in the thick of the action the following weekend versus Essendon, taking four catches in a display befit of a wicket-keeper rather than a part-time cover-point fieldsman.

However round four was undoubtedly the 3rd XI’s finest back-to-the-wall performance.

Chasing an unlikely 186 on the Harry Trott against a Carlton outfit eager for revenge following its Grand Final defeat seven months ago, The threes slumped to 5-64 (not helped by a torn Josh Drummond hamstring), before Zayler again rescued a rapidly sinking ship with the help of Matt Powell.

Both batsmen were dismissed just prior to the winning runs being hit, but having put on 94 for the sixth wicket, can lay claim to saving the thirds from defeat.

Perhaps their most conclusive win was on the weekend however, when Alex Bychkov snaffled five catches and made 84 not out in a comprehensive eight-wicket victory over Camberwell. Powell was again in the runs, registering an unbeaten half century.

The fourths and seconds made comparatively slow starts to the season. Heavily losses and patchy batting efforts made for less than ideal scorecard reading in the early weeks of the year. However improved performances in recent weeks has seen both teams climb off the bottom of the ladder.

First it was Ben Edmonds in the 4th XI, who made 122 out of 9-197 to lead Sam Powell’s charges over the line against Carlton in round four.

Similarly, Jackson Cooper has made back-to-back half-centuries following his demotion from the 1st XI and has recaptured the form that saw him become one of the competition’s most damaging batsmen in 2013/14.

Jak Jowett bowled economically but without luck in the first three rounds, before taking bags of three and four wickets in the last two weeks to press his claims for a 1st XI cap.

He’s been ably supported by Josh Bartlett and skipper Jarrad Dowling, while Shea Gribben’s return from a back injury has added further depth to the club’s already healthy fast bowling stocks.

There has been one debutant in the 1st XI this year, with Lachie Holmes earning a call-up following an innings of 65 out of 142 against Essendon.

Holmes was handed cap No.80, and though he was dismissed LBW for five on debut versus Carlton, he was in pursuit of quick runs and acquitted himself well in the field later that afternoon.

Undoubtedly the most influential player at the club thus far has been Matt Chasemore.

The all-rounder has plundered 344 runs at an average nudging 70, including two 50s and two 100s that have further strengthened his case for a Victorian call-up.

In addition to this meteoric avalanche of runs, the 30-year-old has collected 11 wickets at an economy rate of 3.25, illustrating his enormous value in both facets of the game.

Skipper Graeme Rummans has also enjoyed an excellent start to the year, averaging 55 across five innings. Andrew McGuiness, Will Russell and opener Josh Manning have all made handy contributions, while Lachie Graf has been the team’s most consistent bowler.

James Muirhead’s 5-18 off 10 overs at Wangaratta on Saturday helped swing the game in St Kilda’s favour and signalled a return to form.

The leg-spinner wasn’t at his best across the opening few weekends, but gradually regained his confidence against Carlton before running through the Camberwell middle order in a remarkable spell of bowling in Country Round.

St Kilda currently sits seventh on the Club Championship table, marginally adrift of Camberwell and slightly ahead of both Melbourne University and Prahran.

The 1st XI is fifth on the ladder, the seconds and fourths are 16th, while the 3rds are two points clear at the top of the table. 

With a one-dayer this weekend followed by a string of red ball cricket weekends, T20 games and another one-dayer before Christmas, adjusting to the aforementioned formats promises to be a critical factor in climbing into the top five of the Club Championship heading into the summer break. 

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