Panther power

Grand finale: Panthers batsman Glen Courts smashes a six in the dying overs of the Willowfest Cup Grade final yesterday. Victory is sweet for the Panthers as they celebrate (inset left), with the Heat team also on a high after their win in the ladies’ grade final. Pictures: Andrew BrookesPANTHERS retained the Willowfest Ashes Urn with a Cup Grade final triumph over perennial South Australian contenders Kangarilla yesterday.

A dominant force at the annual tournament over the past decade, Panthers set up their back-to-back titles with tidy bowling after­ sending their opponents in to bat.

The bowling attack was led by Tarek Moughanie, who claimed 4/18 from seven overs, and Kyle Adams (3/11 from 7.4), as Kangarilla were dismissed for a modest 104.

Kangarilla opener Josh Coates (30) top scored to spare his side more blushes, before he was eventually trapped in front byMoughanie.

Chris Thorpe was left unbeaten at the crease on 18 when the final wicket fell.

Three early wickets, including two in quick succession, ensured Kangarilla were a chance of an unlikely victory, but match-winner Moughanie (29) was holding firm at the top of the order.

Wicket-keeper Glen Courts then came to the crease and steadied the ship before setting about finishing the job in emphatic fashion, including smashing a six in the final overs.

Courts ended the innings unbeaten on 36 with Glen Lambeth (19no) in the middle with him to complete the six-wicket win.

Captain Glenn Motschall said the game was won and lost in the first innings.

“We bowled pretty tight and they couldn’t really get us away very well, so we put the pressure on and they were regularly losing wickets, then in the end there was only a hundred runs to chase,” he said.

Motschall added a whole-team performance had seen the Panthers go through the tournament unbeaten this year.

“This is two in a row now, so we’ve bounced back after losing a few years ago and we all played pretty well this week,” he said.

“There was nice weather and we scored plenty of runs and took plenty of wickets.”

Of the Panthers’ Willowfest dominance in recent years, Motschall said their Melbourne-based squad always had great depth.

“We always bring up a pretty strong team,” he said.

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