Footscray had a front row seat to a batting master class from Dandenong opener Brett Forsyth in the Victorian Premier Cricket at Shepley Oval on Saturday.
It would appear that no score is safe if Forsyth is playing at his best.
The Bulldogs started the day confidently after posting 9-350 declared on day one, but with every slash of the bat from Forsyth, their odds of winning dwindled.
Footscray coach Stan Nell could only tip his cap to Forsyth after his match-winning innings of 168 not out off 279 balls, which led Dandenong to 5-354.
“He batted the whole day to really set it up for Dandenong,” Nell said. “When you get a guy like that who has been in the form that he’s been in, it’s hard to stop them.”
It was another steep learning curve for Footscray. The Bulldogs were content with their total at stumps on day one, but Nell thinks the side has squeezed a few more runs out of its innings.
He believes a tough defeat like that though will stand Bulldogs pups in good stead.
“You don’t lose too many games when you make 350, but when you come across a team like Dandenong, who are the reigning premiers and won the white ball this year again and they’re sitting up there in the top part of the table, it’s a pretty awesome side you’re up against,” Nell said.
“The young side, instead of making those 30s and 40s, a couple of guys might go on and make 100 and a couple of 50s, so it might be a score of 400 rather than 350.
“We’ll learn from that.”
Footscray captain Dylan Kight and seasoned campaigner Dean Russ were superb on day one.
Kight posted a top-score of 98, while Russ continued his brilliant summer with 91.
Following defeat in the previous round, Kight put it on the experienced players to step up and point the way for the youngsters, and they did just that.
“They’ve been outstanding this season,” Nell said. “Russy is nearing 800 runs with one game to go and Kighty is on about 500 runs.
“They’re absolute professionals in terms of how they go about it and I can’t fault them.
“The young guys playing with them will learn a lot from them.”
The young Footscray batsmen again showed some promising signs.
Matthew Underwood (41), Dylan Brasher (40), Jordan Kight (39) and Ashley Armstrong (28) have stamped themselves as players to watch for the future.
Nell wants to see some rewards though and what better way than to get a win over Greenvale Kangaroos in the last round.
“When sides win, it means the younger players have stood up and done the business when it counts on match day,” Nell said.
“It means that we’re making progress.
“I’m looking forward to the young blokes doing that.”
Lucas Dredge was the shining light out of Footscray’s bowlers.
Dredge took four of the Bulldogs five wickets to finish with 4-76 off 18.1. A top-10 wicket taker in the competition, Dredge has an impressive 28 wickets at an average of 19.46.