By Tyler Lewis
At 3:49pm on Saturday, James Nanopoulos etched his name further into Dandenong Cricket Club folklore when he dismissed Ringwood champion David King.
The all-rounder now leads the way as the Panthers’ all time wicket taker, surpassing Roger Gill (313).
Earlier in the day, Dandenong skipper Tom Donnell won the toss and had very little hesitation in batting first.
He immediately set the tone with his Kookaburra blade, reminding some of the competitions most potent quicks that pitching it in their half will not go unpunished.
Donnell’s opening partner Brett Forsyth found his time in the middle a little more difficult than he, but still managed to hang around with Donnell, as the pair posted yet another partnership of over 50, their 52nd together.
Donnell swiftly moved to 50, a 45th Vic Premier Cricket half-century – highlighted not only by his trademark pulls and cuts, but a lofted square drive that slapped into the pavilion.
A spurt of wickets from David King before drinks, collecting Forsyth (18), Donnell (51) and Comrey Edgeworth (10) had the Rams back in the game as the Panthers were 3/91 at the half-way mark.
Ed Newman sustained his rise as a genuine star this season with an impressive 45, before the Panthers hit a major halt with less than 10 overs to go.
Nanopoulos, Augustin and Newman all departed in the space of two overs, without adding any runs to the scorebook – bringing back the Panthers’ potential total.
After a few minor cameos from Peter Cassidy and Suraj Randiv, Dandenong were dismissed for 196.
After the thud of the brand new ball hitting Tom Rogers’ bat then the pavilion roof inside the first over from Josh Shaw, there was a deathly silence around Shepley Oval from the Dandenong faithful who came to watch a historical day.
But they soon found their voice, when Randiv caught the edge of Rogers and brought the all-important partnership of King and Ian Holland to the crease.
Enter James Nanopoulos.
With King trying to work into the gap on the leg side, the champ miscued his stroke and found the safe hands of a diving Comrey Edgeworth at mid-wicket, cracking open the match for the Panthers and more importantly, making the record his own.
In typical Nanopoulos fashion, he wasn’t finished, claiming another wicket only a number of deliveries later to send a ripple through the Rams top order.
Akshat Buch got in on the action with a scalp of his own, before Cassidy snared the match defining wicket of Ian Holland, who tried to slash through the offside and could only find a thick edge that was taken astoundingly on the rise by gloveman Jacques Augustin who was up to the jump.
The Panthers smelt blood and went for the kill, removing the Rams for just 103 to secure a 93-run victory.
While Nanopoulos has found pole position as the Panthers leading wicket taker of all-time, Gill also holds the record of most dismissals in a season (47), another record Nanopoulos (32 scalps this season) will be hoping he can pinch from Gill come seasons end.