Panthers rejoice in victory
Country Wests embraced their return to one-day cricket with a blistering five wicket defeat of Across The Waves on Saturday at Salter Oval.
Batting first, Waves only managed 135 and Wests did not muck about, reaching the total in 20 overs.
Four late wickets to Waves flattered the scoreline a tad, after Travis Henke (49 from 47), Mat Fleming (25 off 20) and Steve Nichols (24 off 18) came out swinging.
Responding to calls from Waves captain Brendan Prossliner to “step up”, Wests captain Fleming promoted himself to the top of the order in the run chase and set the tone early.
He took Liam Denning for a huge six in his first over, before Henke got in on the act, dispatching Chris Duff for 20 in the bowler’s second over.
It was a comforting result for Wests, having endured a horror two-day campaign.
“It’s a fresh start and a good first-up win in this form of the game, so we’re pretty happy,” Fleming said.
Earlier Wests started in the best way possible, removing young opener Warrick Hawes in the second over.
Veteran Noel Stitt was next to go in the ninth over, leaving Prossliner and Zac Keune at the crease.
Prossliner was coasting until a Braydon Graham slower ball undid the captain for a brisk 30.
Nichols took the crucial wicket of Zac Keune shortly after, while debutante all-rounder Joel Latham had Curtis Janke caught for his first wicket in division one.
“Joel had a great game, bowled well and it was good to blood another talented youngster,” Fleming said of Latham, who last week was awarded junior sportsperson of the year.
Some sharp catching by Andrew Gear and Luke Thomas and a direct hit run out from Steve Nichols backed up the tight bowling from the entire Wests attack.
“We all bowled and fielded with a bit more intensity than usual and really enjoyed ourselves out there.”
The scheduled Wests vs Brothers encounter on Sunday never eventuated after rain caused havoc at Salter Oval.