On a day where all odds were heavily stacked against the West Coast Rollers, we produced one of our finest all-round team performances in recent years and came away with a victory against old rivals Claremont Gents.
Coming off a loss, one man short and with a few regulars unavailable, the confidence levels weren’t where they were supposed to be, so we knew that we needed something spectacular to get back on the winning track against a Gents side missing a few players of their own.
With a delay in start mainly due to Hannes Moore having his “morning drop”, the match finally got underway with Bertie Erasmus hitting 10 runs of the first 3 deliveries, leaving many of the Rollers thinking this could turn out to be a very long day in the field.
But as seen many times before with the Rollers, when they have their backs to the wall they will always keep on swinging, and that is exactly what they did with new ball opening pair of Peter Muller (7-2-20-3) and James Lamprecht (7-0-30-3) destroying Gents’ top order, with Peter taking wickets in consecutive overs, including the big one been the wicket of Bertie for 21.
James proved the perfect bowling partner for Peter, keeping his line and length and chipping in with a few wickets of his own - the last one a spectacular left-handed diving catch at mid-wicket from Jarryd van Wyk.
So, with the Gents struggling at 46/6 after 11 overs they needed to rebuild their innings, with Ryan Lock stepping up and ticking over the scoreboard with a well-played 59 not out, ably assisted by Andrew McFarlane, who finished on 24 not out.
With some tight bowling and great effort in the field, especially from Ruan de Jongh, Leon Theron and Johann Roux, we restricted the Gents to 135/7 after their 35 overs.
At the change of innings, the Rollers were in great spirits and extremely happy with the target at hand, but that mood soon disappeared as Luke Knipe cleaned up Charl Bester off the very first ball of the innings. A quick 27-run partnership between Hannes Moore and Jarryd got things underway for the Rollers, with Jarryd looking in great touch before he was stone dead LBW for 15 by Mark Ferrao.
With the run rate not an issue, the Gents knew with the Rollers a man short they would have to take all nine wickets to win this game, and that soon became a big possibility as McFarlane took two wickets in his first over. The first bouncing out Peter Muller for 8 and then bowling Hannes for 10.
With the Rollers suddenly in trouble at 43/4, the target seemed further away than it should. And with Nic Slabbert (on loan from WPCC) and stand-in captain James Lamprecht at the crease, we knew this partnership would be crucial to get us over the line.
Turning defence into attack they went at the Gents bowling, with James playing some classy cover drives from the start. Batting at well over seven runs an over, the pair put up a match-winning 85-run partnership before James was caught for 43 of the bowling of Bruce Wilson.
Nick finished the game in fine style, hitting two boundaries and taking the Rollers over the line with a well-played 37 not out; Rollers winning by four wickets and with 11 overs to spare.
Thanks again to Bruce Wilson, Pat Lawson and the rest of the Claremont Gents for playing the game in the right spirit and having a few beers afterwards. All the best for the rest of the season and we look forward to playing you next year again.
Report by Michael van Dewenter