Just inches from victory

Dandenong star Brett Forsyth battled hard to post 48 for the Panthers. 198537 Picture: ROB CAREW

By Tyler Lewis and Nick Creely

AROUND THE GROUNDS

VICTORIAN PREMIER CRICKET (DANDENONG)

ROUND 1

Passages of brilliance placed Dandenong in a position to steal its first match of the Victorian Premier Cricket season.

Unfortunately for the Panthers, the passages were too few to secure a Round 1 victory at Shepley Oval on Saturday.

Melbourne University skipper James McNeil called correctly at the toss and sent the Panthers in to kick off the season.

The Panthers were immediately on the back foot as a result of early wickets, and at 3/21 James Nanopoulos provided resistance the only way he knows how – with intent.

His 17 from 17 balls with three boundaries wasn’t enough to dig the Panthers out of the early hole before the first passage of brilliance redirected the Dandenong innings.

At 4/55, Cam Forsyth strolled to the crease to join his older brother Brett, who had seen all the carnage unfold at the non-strikers end.

Together, the pair doubled the Panthers’ total before Brett (48) fell just shy of yet another raise of his bat. Cam (25) joined his brother in the sheds shortly after chasing a wide ball caught the edge.

After losing the two set batsmen for no runs, the Panthers needed some late order resistance.

It didn’t come through the likes of Pete Cassidy (nine), Akshat Buch (six) and Suraj Randiv (four) as the Panthers swiftly moved from 4/110 to 9/134.

With the deck already playing havoc, it seemed if Jacques Augustin and Jakeb Thomas could scrounge to 150, it was going to be competitive.

After nudging the score to 9/148, Jakeb Thomas found the mid-off fielder three balls in a row before he swung through the line of the ball and cleared the boundary to the onside.

The maximum kick started a small fightback from the number 10 and 11, as Augustin found the rope the following over. Fighting to 9/163 after their 50, the Panthers had a decent total to defend.

Melbourne Uni’s opening pair got away to a fast start without the loss of a wicket until Jakeb Thomas forced the chop on of the dangerous looking Jarrod Martignago (18 off 21 deliveries).

Cruising to victory at 4/116, Akshat Buch’s consistent line and length broke through and wreaked havoc on Uni’s middle order, taking Uni from 4/116 to 7/124 in the space of two overs to put the Panthers back on top.

With every ball from Buch looking like getting a wicket, Suraj Randiv joined him from the other end to force the issue upon Melbourne.

Unfortunately for the Panthers, Buch couldn’t bowl all day and finished his remarkable 10 overs with the figures of 3/28 with four maidens.

Nanopoulos took the ball from the end Buch did all the damage and immediately followed in his footsteps.

With one of the more deceiving slower balls, the medium pacer trapped number 10 batsman Steven Reid in front.

With one wicket for Dandenong and six runs for Melbourne, every ball had match defying repercussions.

Shortly after the dismissal, Nanopoulos again went up for an LBW appeal – this one stone cold – more plumb than any other LBW decision given throughout the day, and almost on his knees pleading all the way at the strikers end, Nanopoulos was denied the match winning scalp.

Only a number of balls later, Uni’s debutant Akon Mawien struck the ball down the ground to claim victory for Melbourne, chasing the total nine wickets down.

Stand in skipper Brett Forsyth said the group felt quietly confident although wanting a few more runs on the board.

“We thought we probably left a few runs out there,” he said.

“I guess we were hoping for 180 to towards 200 – even with the start we had losing three early wickets.

“We were confident if we bowled really well we would make it hard for Melbourne Uni which turned out to be the case and it ended as a great game of cricket.“

During the middle period of the second innings, the Panthers were fighting back on top through the spin of Buch and Randiv, an asset Forsyth believes to be a powerful strength up the Panthers sleeve.

“We knew the ball had started spinning, ragging and bouncing a little bit,” he said.

“We found a way to find a fielder and put him in slip – he (Buch) bowled really nice line and length.

“He brought first slip into the game that doesn’t often happen in one day cricket.

“His spell was really important in getting us some wickets and putting them under pressure.

“We were really pleased with his efforts and with Randiv as well, away from the left and right handers depending on the match-ups.

“That is going to put us in good stead.“

The Panthers will be searching for its maiden win of the season when it takes on Footscray at Mervyn Hughes Oval on Saturday.

VICTORIAN PREMIER CRICKET (CASEY-SOUTH MELBOURNE)

Casey-South Melbourne got its season off to a horror start with a heavy loss to Prahran.

The Swans were lighter in the batting department with overseas skipper Luke Wells not yet available, while middle-order gun Lachie Sperling was also missing from the side.

But after being sent in by the True Blues, the Swans quickly found themselves in deep trouble.

Losing openers Dev Pollock and Ryan Quirk early, before a horror run-out saw Joel Mitchell walking back to the sheds, the Swans needed to rebuild – and quickly – to have any chance of posting a competitive total.

But Matt Wilcox’s stunning spell of 4/8 off 10 overs proved too hot to handle, with the Swans bundled out for just 45 in the 32nd over, with Dylan Hadfield top-scoring with 14 and stand-in skipper Nathan Freitag (9 off 49 balls) provided some resistance in his first game back in the colours.

Andrew Perrin (3/19) was also ominous for the True Blues, with the star quick proving he’ll be tough to handle for opposition batting sides this season.

The Swans did enjoy some success with the ball before the True Blues got the runs in the 16th over, with Nathan Lambden (1/8) skittling opener Adam Bull off the second ball, taking a further two wickets to at least take some confidence with the ball.

Although it’s just a round in, the pressure for batting spots is well and truly on at the Swans, with Chris Benedek (93) and Aaron Fernando (77) finding some runs in the twos, while Wells and Sperling aren’t far away.

The Swans will be desperately looking to bounce back when they venture out to the Geelong Cricket Ground to take on the Cats on Saturday.

MORNINGTON PENINSULA – PENINSULA DIVISION

ROUND 1

After relegation last season, Pearcedale faced the elevated Heatherhill with the opportunity to show its place in the competition.

But the Panthers failed to assert their dominance in a poor batting display.

With the ball, Pearcedale restricted the Hills to 9/158 – Patrick Beckham cleaned up at the back end of the innings with 4/24 while youngster Harry Capes had the Hills in trouble early with his 2/26 from six overs.

In reply, the Panthers got off to a horrible start losing 3/10 from the Hills opening bowling duo of Jake Theobald and Jonathon Powell.

Beckham and Herbert and Fillipone provided resistance in the middle order but were the only three batsmen to make it past double figures for Pearcedale.

Heatherhill’s Brad Muir came on to clean up late with 4/19 which bundled the Panthers out for a horrid 90 from 35 overs.

In other matches, Main Ridge (4/144) defeated Moorooduc (10/143), Red Hill (9/175) won a cliff hanger against Long Island (8/174) and Pines (4/123) coasted to victory against Somerville (10/122) that lost 9/66 after a 56 run opening stand.

VICTORIAN SUB-DISTRICT – EAST/WEST

ROUND 1 (DAY 1)

Endeavour Hills are in some early trouble in its chase of Yarraville’s 10/175.

The Hills sent Yarraville in and had the rewards early when Hasan Ali (3/39) took his first with only four runs on the board.

After Yarraville constructed a total through Kasey Duncan (48) and opener Joshua Hahnel (54), the Hills took 8/55 to swiftly clean up the visitors.

In reply, the Hills are in some early trouble losing 2/22 from its nine overs to bat – both coming from Mitchell Cross who has 2/5 at the close of play on day one.

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