By Nick Creely
It was a frustrating day at the office for Dandenong on Saturday, with Geelong absolutely clinical in its Victorian Premier Cricket victory.
In an incredibly vital win for the Cats, the Panthers just couldn’t get its game up and running, with the tone set from the very first ball.
Panthers skipper Tom Donnell was out on the very first ball of the match, with quick Dom McGlinchey forcing the leftie into playing one outside off stump but only finding Hayden Butterworth in slip.
It was hard work for the Panthers to recover, with Cam Forsyth bowled with an absolute ripper from McGlinchey, before in-form bat Ed Newman also fell victim to the Cat paceman.
McGlinchey – in the midst of a golden spell – was outstanding, and eventually finished up with 4/21.
With champion opener Brett Forsyth holding firm at the other end, he simply couldn’t muster up any meaningful partnerships, with James Nanopoulos (13) caught short of the crease after a direct-hit run out from Brody Couch as the visitors slumped to 4/39.
Forsyth continued to take the opportunities presented to him, finding some time in the middle with Aaron Fernando, before a 58-run stand with Comrey Edgeworth (19) saw the visitors creep up the score.
The right-handed opener was once again all class, crossing past his 42nd half-century in the competition with a nice boundary, and loomed likely for yet another century before falling chasing quick runs towards the end for a superb 75 from 129 deliveries.
He now has 510 runs at the highly impressive average of 85 in 2020/21.
In the end, it was well under par, with the Panthers setting just 157 for victory.
Tom Jackson (22) and skipper Eamonn Vines (65) ensured there would be no stumble for the home team, racking up a fluent 59 run stand to open the chase.
Vines was once again a problem for the opposition to bank yet another half-century, and alongside a typically entertaining hand from wicketkeeper batsman Josh McDonald (34 from 27) saw the Cats home with seven wickets left to spare.
Offie Suraj Randiv (2/43) battled hard with the ball to be the pick of the bowlers for the Panthers.
The sixth-placed Dandenong have a chance to swiftly bounce back when it hosts Fitzroy-Doncaster at Shepley Oval on Saturday, a team coming off a barnstorming win against Casey-South Melbourne.
The Panthers also lost in the seconds to the Cats, but belted 2/257 in the thirds in a massive win, with opener Hamish MacCorquodale (98 not out) falling just short of a ton, while the fourths went down at Wilson Oval.
But it was a big day for the Panthers in the Women’s Premier competition, scoring a thrilling victory against top-of-the-table Melbourne on Sunday.
The Dees set 166 for victory after a classy 76 not out from Ella Hayward, and looked in a spot of bother when it was 5/44 and unable to muster up any scoreboard pressure.
But youngster Yashoda Senarathne stood tall in a match-winning knock, compiling a brilliant 50 not out as the Panthers won with just the one wicket left in the shed.
Combining in a defining 64-run partnership with debutant Isabelle Robinson (35), the pair got the game back on its terms in a match that looked gone.
Senarathne crunched six boundaries in her match-winning hand.