By Luke Voogt
A four-wicket bag by paceman Dom McGlinchey and another solid innings from captain Eamonn Vines helped Geelong knock Dandenong out of the top four on Saturday.
The Cats cruised to a seven-wicket victory at home after winning the toss and sending the Panthers in to bat.
Dandenong started disastrously with McGlinchey dismissing opener Tom Donnell for a golden duck with an outside edge to slip off the first ball of the innings.
McGlinchey tore through the top order bowling Cameron Forsyth, who left an absolute ripper that cannoned into off peg.
Four overs later McGlinchey also bowled Edward Newman to put Dandenong in trouble at 3/18.
The Panthers only managed 21 more before Brody Couch ran out James Nanopoulos with a direct hit for 13.
Left arm spinner and all-rounder Hayden Butterworth claimed the next three beginning with Aaron Fernando.
Fernando edged Butterworth on 9 with Tom O’Connell lunging to his right for a sharp catch.
Comrey Edgeworth survived 41 balls for 19 combining for a 58-run partnership with remaining opener Brett Forsyth, until Butterworth bowled him with the score at 6/118.
Former Sri Lankan ODI player Suraj Randiv holed out off Butterworth before Brody Couch finally dismissed Brett Forsyth for 75 (8/145).
Dandenong managed 11 more setting Geelong just 156 to chase, with Couch and McGlinchey taking the final two wickets.
After being promoted up the order, Tom Jackson was caught off a cut shot for 22 with the Cats at 59.
Josh McDonald hit 34 off 27 before holing out off Randiv with Geelong at 104.
Vines led by example again with the bat, scoring 65 off 98 before Randiv trapped him LBW with the Cats on 130.
Gus Boyd hit the winning four with a back-foot cover drive, remaining not out on 21 alongside Josh Larkin on 15*.
The game was a complete performance by Geelong, featuring some excellent fielding and brilliant bowling, two areas coach Nick Speak has been keen to improve this season.
The Cats face another big challenge this Saturday in St Kilda, which recorded a six-wicket win against Footscray.
The game will be a clash of arguably the best batting and bowling line-ups in the competition.
Geelong leads the league in runs for, while St Kilda’s well-rounded attack has the lowest runs against.
In GCA division one Leopold’s Benjamin Horne led the wicket tally with 5/46 but his side fell short against East Belmont.
Former Victorian player Clinton Peake scored 102* off 80 but his brilliant individual effort was not enough to get South Barwon the win over against Murgheboluc.
Highton, Newtown-Chilwell and Lara also picked up wins. Despite losing to Newtown-Chilwell, North Geelong remains on top of the ladder, followed by Lara, East Belmont and South Barwon.
In GCA division two Hayden Illingworth’s 105* and Chad Van Estrop’s division-best figures of 5/13 helped St Peters beat Modewarre by 119.
Bell Post Hill, Marshall and Geelong City also won. Bell Post Hill leads the ladder followed by Marshall, Geelong City and Torquay.
In GCA division three Brent Donaldson scored 129 to help Lethbridge post 2/315 and demolish Bannockburn by 176 runs.
Thomson, Geelong West, St Albans Breakwater and Corio also picked up wins. Lethbridge leads the ladder, followed by Geelong West, Corio and St Albans Breakwater.