By Nick Creely
An incredibly impressive Dandenong got its Victorian Premier Cricket season off to the best possible start with a dominant win against Frankston Peninsula.
With the Heat boasting Victorian stars Scott Boland and Jon Holland and welcoming the Panthers to its home ground, Tom Donnell elected to send the home side in to face the music.
Champ James Nanopoulos (2/17) doesn’t look like he’s missed a beat, producing another outstanding spell to start the season as the Heat quickly found themselves 4/34.
A mini-fightback, sparked by Jai Elcock (40) and Harry Barnes (39) got the scoreboard ticking along nicely, but the wily mediums of Pete Cassidy proved too hot to handle, with the Panther seamer snaring 4/20 as the home side fell over for a meek 145.
Jakeb Thomas (2/35) also started the season brightly, while offie Suraj Randiv (1/29) was tough to get away through the middle.
But it was with the bat that the Panthers proved that it will have a ruthless edge to it this season, and rolled out a new-look opening pair of Lincoln Edwards and Tom Donnell.
With Boland and Holland well negated, and only snaring one wicket from 16.5 overs between them, the Panthers cruised past the total to start the season in perfect fashion.
It was a nice start for the Panthers’ top-order, with Donnell striking 30, Brett Forsyth anchoring the chase with a typically determined 41 not out, but it was an emerging star that raised eyebrows.
Ed Newman – who lost his Victorian contract this season – looked to have a point to prove, slapping 61 not out off just 51 balls, showcasing his abundance of class with seven fours and a maximum.
After impressing last season in his most impressive Premier campaign to date, Newman looks to have gone to another level this season and will be a major player for the Panthers as it looks to return to finals action.
The Panthers also snared a strong win to start the second XI season, with Cam Forsyth leading the way for his side against the Heat.
At Shepley Oval, the Panthers were in control with the bat, posting 6/259 from its 50 overs.
Cam Forsyth (87) was in the runs as he looks for a big season, while Lachlan MacCorquodale (59) also struck a half-century and opener Jarryd Wills impressed with 49.
Recruit Braden Taeuber was then the star of the show with the ball, with the paceman snaring 5/38 in an incredibly impressive club debut, while the returning Adam McMaster (3/43) also helped bundle out the Heat for 218.
The Panthers also maintained its brilliant start to the Women’s first XI season, defeating Prahran at Shepley Oval on Sunday.
The home side were outstanding after being sent in, with Tiana Atkinson’s 70 sparking a strong total of 6/251.
Kelly Applebee (47) and Jess Matin (43) were also in fine form with the blade.
Despite a class knock from True Blues captain Erica Kershaw (94), an even team performance saw the visitors bundled out for 190, with Matin (2/27) once again impressive and Poppy Gardner (2/12) incredibly economical.