Perfect Panthers claim silverware

Brett Forsyth (left) and Tom Donnell, chased down the Blues' total in 16 overs. Picture: Rob Carew

Fresh from a remarkable Victorian Premier Cricket White Ball premiership on Sunday against Carlton, Dandenong legend Brett Forsyth had a chat with NICK CREELY about what was an extraordinary bowling performance by the Panthers.

The Panthers rolled the Blues for just 49, with veteran Darren Pattinson putting on an absolute clinic, before Forsyth and skipper Tom Donnell chased the runs down in just 16 overs to pick up their first piece of silverware.

Q: Brett, congratulations on the win, and I guess the obvious question is, did you see it coming?
A: Thanks, it was really exciting, and we’re over the moon as a club. We definitely saw it as a great opportunity, but the way it panned out, you never expect to play your best cricket in a final. We were thrilled we were able to do that, but in terms of seeing that coming, they picked eight batters, and had a good, talented batting line up which we thought would be difficult. For us to do that, it’s a bit of disbelief to be honest, but a lot of hard work definitely went into it, and our plans were perfectly executed. Our bowlers were on top of their game, with line and length, a bit of seam movement, and a bit of aggression backed up by good quality bowling.

Q: You’ve been involved in some great wins with the club before, where does this one rank in terms of how clinical you were with the ball?
A: We’ve had some really great bowlers play for Dandenong, traditionally we’re a strong bowling group. I’ve seen spells similar to today, but not a whole innings. We were able to stay on top of the opposition for an extended period, it was exciting. Hopefully it’s something the bowling group can build on, heading into the red ball cricket, because we obviously haven’t played a lot of that. It was quite special, and the boys earned all their wickets, there was no real rash shots, it was just the bowlers doing great work and sticking to their plans.

Q: Darren Pattinson (4/12) was probably the pick of the bowlers, it seems like he’s not slowing down, and in some of the great form of his career. What did you make of his performance?
A: He’s had a few slight niggles, and missed a game here and there, but for him, he definitely eyed off this game as a big one for the club. He told us that we don’t win premierships often, so he was up for the contest. Being a little bit older, he wanted to set the standard for the bowlers, and was able to do that through his own performance. I’ve seen him bowl faster, but his craft as a bowler, and his want to continue to improve and win games is as strong as it’s ever been. He’s bowling well, and we’re grateful that he’s back after a few years off doing the greyhounds. He’s bringing a lot to our cricket club, and we’re not counting the years he plays, but the games. We’re enjoying having him, he’s just an intimidating figure and a big presence around the club.

Q: Jak Jowett continues to impress in his first year of the club, and Peter Cassidy and James Nanopoulos were outstanding in the middle over period, what did you make of them?
A: I think Jak’s first over didn’t go as well as he would have liked. After that, he got rid of some of their key batters in Mackenzie Harvey and then Harry Smyth, so he tore through their top order, and bowled really well. It’s great to have a left armer that can swing the ball, and we just chat to him about building pressure and building partnerships at the other end. His form has been good, and he’s been fighting to get fit for this game, and he was able to do the work. Nanopoulos and Cassidy have been awesome, just bowling good line and length. They’re really good, we’ve got a lot of pace up front, our medium pacers do a great job for us. It was just a good performance, and all we needed to do in context of the game today.

Q: What was your mindset going out to bat with Tommy, considering you were facing a small total?
A: I think normally, when you are chasing a small total, you try and get on top of the opposition as quickly as possible, and then take advantage of the disappointment of their batting innings. Carlton bowled quite well, and our plan was to get after them, and I think Crone bowled fast and had a bit of movement, so we had to give him some respect. We would have liked to have got after them, but Tommy said to be clinical, so we made sure we didn’t open up the middle order unnecessarily, and we wanted to be there at the finish. We didn’t care about how many overs it would take, because in a final, you just want to win. It was a bit difficult, but we were just happy to win without losing a wicket.

Q: I assume the hunger levels would be really high, with another massive piece of silverware within reach at the end of the year. Does the win increase the hunger and confidence even more?
A: I think it will with time. We’re a hungry group and a hungry club, that’s for sure. We enjoy working hard together, with that overall goal of winning titles. It will give us a little bit more motivation, and also belief. We finished second last year, and bowed out in the first final, and that was disappointing. Thankfully, this year, we are backing it up. You just have to continue to play your best cricket, and develop players in hope they can progress in time. We know how even the competition is, and how many good teams there are, but you have to be in it, to win it. We had belief we were good, but to play like that, hopefully it gives us extra motivation and belief.

Brett finished with 15 not out, taking his total season aggreate to 484 runs, with six half centuries next to his name.

Tom Donnell (capt)
Brett Forsyth
Comrey Edgeworth
Ed Newman
Lincoln Edwards
James Nanopoulos
Jacques Augustin (wk)
Peter Cassidy
Jak Jowett
Darren Pattinson
Akshat Buch
Coach: Nick Speak

Dandenong 0/53 (T.Donnell 31*) def Carlton 49 (D.Pattinson 4/12, J.Jowett 3/18, P.Cassidy 2/12)

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