Dandenong has won a thrilling Kookaburra Premier Final, defying a never-say-die Frankston Peninsula at Melbourne University yesterday.
The match went down to the wire as the Panthers, set 137 off 57 overs for an outright win, hung on to finish at 9/125.
It was a pulsating final with each of the teams dominating at different times, only for the arm-wrestle to go back the other way. Both sides had their opportunities to win the game but, in the end, it was left to the experienced Darren Pattinson and rookie Justin Butterfield to negotiate the final 38 balls to deny the Heat an historic reverse outright.
Day three began with Dandenong 9/213, a mere12 runs short of first innings points. James Pattinson (59no) and Justin Butterfield (13) got them across the line, but not before some more drama.
Keeper David Nankervis missed a difficult caught behind up on the stumps to James Miller before the target was reached – one of several chances missed (around five or six by each side) during the match.
Miller eventually grabbed the last wicket to finish with the fine figures of 6/54 from 24.5 overs, but Dandenong led by 2 runs, finishing with 226.
The Heat’s batsmen began with a sense of urgency. Ricky Damiano (27 off 28 balls) and skipper Matt Chasemore (46no off 34 balls) were the prime movers as Frankston Peninsula declared at 8/138 off just 28 overs, setting Dandenong 137 for outright points off 57 overs.
Miller struck twice early, removing Nick Thomas (1) and Peter Sweeney (1) to make it 2/12. Skipper Darren Dempsey (15) then joined Tom Donnell and this pair took it to 54 before Dempsey was adjudged LBW to Groves for 15. James Nanopoulos (7) was bowled by Jon Holland at 4/69. Paceman Scott Boland struck a huge blow for the Heat when he had Tom Donnell (50 off 86 balls) caught by Chasemore at 5/89. Holland had Peter Siddle (2) caught and bowled to make it 6/92.
Amidst great tension, Heat veteran Darren Groves chimed in, dismissing James Pattinson with a brilliant leg-side stumping by Nankervis at 7/112, trapping Dylan Quirk LBW (8/118) and, two balls later, clean bowling Brent Fairbanks (9/118).
Despite their best efforts, the Heat bowlers were unable to split Darren Pattinson (21no off 81 balls) and Justin Butterfield (0no off 12 balls), who saw the Panthers through to a memorable victory.
It was Dandenong’s second Premier triumph, after Warren Ayres’ side won in 2006-07. James Pattinson was adjudged the John Scholes Medallist for his 3/49 and decisive 59 not out.
In the Seconds, Geelong (3/152 – Jake Thorne 52no) won their fourth title at this level, comfortably defeating Prahran (149) at Toorak Park.
In the Thirds at Camberwell, Melbourne (369 – Chris Janik 122) easily beat the Camberwell Magpies (121 – Daniel Worrall 5/22). It was the Demons’ fifteenth Third XI title.
In the Fourths at Monash University, Northcote (200 – Abdullah Hashmi 86, Ross Brown 5/46) made it back-to-back flags, rolling the Camberwell Magpies for just 94.