2021/22 Men’s Premier Cricket wrap: Dandenong
WITH the Victorian Men’s Premier Cricket competition wrapped after an entertaining 2021/22 campaign, it is time to reflect on the season that was. Each side had a different journey over the last few months, so we take a look at how each side fared over the past six months.
A disappointing finish to the season saw the Dandenong Panthers finish in the bottom third of the ladder at the conclusion of the 2021/22 season. After a mixed start to their campaign, the Panthers were still in the hunt for a finals spot with just half of the rounds remaining. However, they ended up winning just two of their last 10 games, falling out of contention in rapid fashion and finishing with a record of just five wins and 10 losses. The club would have been aiming for a better finish than 14th, and will be looking to build on the positives that emerged from the season.
The Panthers started their season with a couple of tough losses to the Magpies and Footscray, but they were finally able to get on the board in Round 4. Dandenong bested Frankston Peninsula for its first win of the season, and ended up winning two of its next three games. Season 2021/22 was finally back on track as the Panthers looked towards securing a finals spot. These hopes were crushed in the run home, as they could not manage a win for much of the second half of the season, dropping out of the top eight and finishing with just five victories at the conclusion of the home and away season.
In the closing rounds of the season, Dandenong entered its clash with Northcote as the underdogs, given the latter were looking likely to finish inside the top eight. However, fans at Bill Lawry Oval were treated to an upset, as the Panthers produced a magnificent bowling performance and secure a thrilling two-run victory. After managing just 198 with bat in hand, the pressure was on the Dandenong bowlers, given Northcote had produced some powerful showings at the crease throughout the season. Instead, Dandenong got the most crucial of wickets in the dying stages with the last ball of the match, claiming their most impressive triumph of the year.
When discussing Dandenong’s 2021/22 season, it is hard to not mention the efforts of bowler Matthew Wilson, who was extremely damaging with ball in hand. Despite not having the most economical figures, he was always able to get the breakthrough wicket whenever the Panthers needed one. He produced a terrific season best performance with figures of 5/34, and was far and away the standout for Dandenong’s campaign.
The Panthers will be eager to inject some scoring into their lineup, as that proved to be their biggest downfall in their losses. As mentioned above, Dandenong was often able to hurt the opposition with ball in hand. However, they were often let down by their inability to post a winning total. If they wish to improve their record in season 2022/23, then it all starts with getting some consistent scorers into their batting order.