The Rollers produced one of their better all-round team performances this season as they beat Squirrels by 54 runs at the Rondebosch SC B-field on Sunday afternoon.
Having pulled off an against-all-odds victory against Claremont Gents two weeks ago, the pressure was on the returning regulars to remain relevant, and two of the missing men from a fortnight ago did just that.
Winning the toss and choosing to bat, Neville Cooper and Cornell Keulder cruised in the early exchanges, putting on 54 at almost a run-a-ball on a low track and small outfield. A monster score looked on the cards, but the visitors had not factored in Squirrels’ ace-up-the-sleeve, one Ethan Abrahams.
The youngster sped in from the M5 end and clean bowled Cornell (32 off 34) and Charl Bester (0) within three deliveries, before cleaning up Neville (30 off 35) a few overs later.
Ryan Cooper and Peter Muller closed up shop (against Ethan) and on 73 runs for the fourth wicket, with the latter proving almost as aggressive as Vlad Putin. He took a particular liking to Barrett (3-0-36-0) and Lionel (2-0-38-0), bringing up a maiden Rollers 50 with yet another six over square-leg (sidenote: 5 balls were lost in this innings alone) before chancing his arm once too often, bowled off Ethan’s final delivery for 67 off just 40 balls.
Ryan (25 off 29) and Tom Stapylton-Smith (20 off 30) kept the scoreboard ticking along, before Michael van Dewenter hit two huge six in his 20 off 12 deliveries as the Rollers posted 226/9 in the 35 overs.
Squirrels got off to a fine start in pursuit of the target - helped in no small measure by some poor catching - as they reached 52 before Michael (7-0-32-1) produced his magic yet again, first having Callum Lee caught for 17, before running Nick van Vuuren out two overs later with a smart piece of work off his own bowling.
Debutant - and another private school import - Josh Darley-Waddilove (I shit you not ...) got Chicken-Push nice and early, before the aforementioned Ethan struck again. Along with Kyle Tapper they put on 60 for the fourth wicket, with the latter especially brutal on anything resembling a short ball. He cruised his way to 92 before he was run out from the boundary, setting in motion a collapse as spectacular as that of the old Soviet Union.
From 159/3 they crashed to 172 all out, with Tom bowling brilliantly at the death to pick up 3/42, while Ruan de Jongh (4-0-19-1) kept the pressure on the batsmen with some good lengths and top quality fielding off his own bowling.
It was left to our strike-bowler, Mark Haselau, to clean up the tail, striking with his first - a massive inswinger courtesy of a two-piece (Kyle had smashed all the other balls into people’s gardens) - and third deliveries to wrap up the 54-run victory.
A great day out, made even better with a spectacular fines session on the stoep at the main clubhouse which included plenty of brandies, hammers and three stumps. Social cricket played in absolutely the perfect way, barring that doos who kept questioning the wide calls from his vantage point on the deep square-leg boundary …