By Marcus Uhe
Dandenong Cricket Club’s chances of appearing in the Victorian Premier Cricket finals series are over after failing to secure a win in Geelong on Saturday.
On a surface offering little for the Panthers’ bowlers, Brett Forsyth’s side could only manage five wickets as the home side reached the target in 83 overs.
The loss leaves them 11 points shy of Melbourne in eighth place on the Premier Cricket table, with 10 points the maximum available in any game and just one round remaining.
The Panthers chose to bat on to begin the second day but lasted only three more deliveries.
Noah Whitford added four more runs to the total before he was stumped, leaving Forsyth unbeaten on 122.
Geelong made an ideal start to the chase, reaching 82 without loss, until the Panthers found some rhythm with the ball.
Matthew Wilson, Vishwa Ramkumar and Ben Allison joined forces to make the home side wobble as they lost 3/10, wrestling back momentum in the defence.
When Noah Hurley had set batter Hayden Butterworth caught on the leg side boundary by Max Marinic for 79, Geelong had fallen to 5/140 in the 52nd over, with Dandenong pressing for an unlikely win to keep finals hopes alive.
But that proved to be the final Geelong wicket to fall, a sixth wicket stand of 133 guiding the home side to a win that keeps them in the top four.
Hurley proved expensive with his 15 overs going for 81 runs, while the remainder of his fellow bowlers kept their economy rates low.
The Panthers will conclude their season with a two-day game against Greenvale at Shepley Oval, beginning next week.