Purring Panthers on prowl again

BUOYED by three wins from their first four games, comeback coach Ian Cottrill believes he can return West Panthers to their Bundaberg A-grade glory days.

Cottrill stepped down after guiding the club to victory five seasons ago, but he is back and is certain they can go all the way after continuing their good form with an 18-1 blitz of ATW on Saturday.

In an understatement the astute mentor said all his players did “really well”.

“But Bonnie Holmes had three good outfield hits, Daryl Jensen and Cassie Beck also each had a couple of good hits, and pitcher Lauren Dickinson put the ball over the plate all day and she struck a couple of batters out. When they did hit to the outfield, the others cleaned up well for us, so it was a team effort,” Cottrill said.

Cottrill said from memory, Holmes and Melissa Steele were the only survivors from their last premiership, but that they have a very well-balanced side.

“And I've got high hopes for them – they are a good bunch of girls and they are all eager to train and a pleasure to coach,” he said.

Meanwhile, Brothers United bounced back from their loss to West, edging out Moray Eels 8-7.

In the men's division, United, who started their title defence with a loss and forfeit, got their campaign on track by edging out ATW Schooners 5-4.

Coach Brian Bailey, who also had to suit up and play due to a player shortage, said the return of long-time stars Cory Battersby and Troy Law made a big difference.

“But we had to come from behind – we got 3-0 behind, but Cory hit two home runs with runners on base and got us to 4-all — we ended up getting another one from a David Bond hit to the outfield and we scored from that — he brought Tim Zielke home,” Bailey said.

“Also Troy pitched well in his first game back, and we played a couple of our under-16s up and they also played really well, Jacob Woodham and Mitchell Silcox.”

The unbeaten ATW Cruisers downed West Sabretooth 9-2.

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