By Nick Creely
Ed Newman is a seriously exciting talent.
After linking with the Melbourne Stars this BBL season, to also spending time on Victoria’s rookie list, he’s not a talent going unnoticed.
And now, Newman has a Premier Cricket century next to his name.
It was a beauty too against a well-regarded Melbourne Uni bowling attack away from home to help guide the Panthers to its fourth win on the trot.
There’s still seven rounds of cricket left, but the fourth-placed Panthers seem to be finals-bound.
Sent in by Uni, champion Panthers Brett Forsyth and Tom Donnell rattled off 47 for the first wicket, before a double-strike from spinner John McLaughlan (2/51) saw the visitors slump to 2/55.
With Forsyth controlling proceedings, Newman came to the crease and immediately made his presence known.
Utilising a wide-range of strokes, the emerging star played some breathtaking cricket in his 119-run stand with Forsyth, sweating on anything that strayed from a perfect length against a bowling attack well known for its discipline.
Forsyth eventually fell for yet another half-century, a class 58 from 106 balls, and incredibly didn’t hit a boundary – an indicator of how hard he worked for his runs.
But Newman freed the arms and guided the Panthers to 4/230, smashing his way to an unbeaten 120, a knock that featured seven fours and five sixes.
It’s his power, shot placement and ability to move through the gears that make him such an exciting prospect, and why he almost made his BBL debut this season.
Despite a gritty 63 from Uni opener Jarrod Martignago, the Panthers were in full control with the ball, using its slow bowlers and quicks to its advantage in an impressive bowling effort.
And all without its great fast bowler James Nanopoulos.
The most impressive of the lot – wily medium pacer Pete Cassidy – snared 3/13 from his 10 overs, bowling two maidens and removing both openers with his impeccable lengths.
Reliable and consistent, Cassidy is once again enjoying a fruitful season for the Panthers and now has 14 wickets next to his name this season.
Uni could only muster up 166, with offie Suraj Randiv (3/37) also proving a nuisance for the opposition, Dasun Opanayaka took his chance with 2/36, while James Pattinson was once again snarling to take 1/27 from his 10 overs, removing in-form Uni skipper James McNeil for 18.
The Panthers face another stern challenge next weekend, with a home clash against Prahran at Shepley Oval.
Across the grades for the Panthers on Saturday, and the seconds raced down Melbourne Uni’s 265 in impressive fashion.
After being set 266 for victory at Shepley, the Panthers – led by Josh Slater (65), Jarryd Willis (50) and Gehan Seneviratne (43 not out) – got the job done with eight wickets to spare.
It was a tight and tense finish, with Seneviratne crunching a six over mid-wicket off the final ball of the match to seal the points, pulling out an epic celebration towards the clubrooms.
The Panthers also banked wins in the thirds and fourths to make it a perfect day for the men.
In the Women’s, the Panthers went down to Essendon Maribyrnong Park, with Elyse Villani’s freakish season continuing.
The Panthers mustered up 121, with Tiana Atkinson top-scoring with 27, but the home side ran that down with the loss of two wickets with Villani crunching an unbeaten 72.