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Brave fight, but just pipped

It wasn’t quite the start we wanted to 2010, but the Rollers put up a brave fight which very nearly resulted in the most unlikely of victories.

Travelling to Edgemead for the first game in what seemed an eternity, we were in confidant mood after a comprehensive thrashing of old rivals WPCC in our last game. Added to that, not too many players were hungover – or still drunk for that matter.

Actually, in hindsight, that may have been the problem.

Once again losing the toss, the Rollers were sent in to bat on a second day wicket. Not that it behaved like that initially though. Their opening bowlers got the ball to fly around, with the big boy Smith managing an opening spell of swing bowling which read 5-3-5-0.

Hannes Engelbrecht and Hannes Carlson were the brave ones to take first strike, and both were back in the hut before we had reached 20. Ryan Cooper came it at three, top-edged a short one onto his jaw, before Mark da Silva (9) and Jakes Oberholzer (5) came and went in quick succession.

Hannes Moore, playing only his second game of the season, joined Ryan and put on 22 for the fifth wicket before the captain had a brainfreeze and holed out to mid-off.

Enter Wayne Moore, back at the venue at which he made his debut a year ago. Sporting a new bat (pink handle and all), he also discovered a new shot over the festive season … the forward defensive. He played it three time (!) in between some lusty blows, including a rather big six into the bowling greens.

However, his dismissal for 23 sparked a collapse, with Kepler eventually going for a well played 24, Cornell Keulder running past a loopy leg-spinner on four, Neville Cooper being yorked for 10, and Nico Rheeder looking rather stylish and being bowled first ball. Interestingly, the bails were still in the air when his cellphone rang in his pocket.

So, with three overs still left, the Rollers were bowled out for 119 – about 30 runs short on a dodgy pitch and a slow outfield. Early wickets were needed, but Edgemead got off to a solid start, only losing their first wicket on 30 when Cornell sent through a rocket which crashed into the base of leg-stump.

The batsman managed to avoid a broken ankle, but Neville was having no such luck behind the stumps. In fact, Cornell pinned him about three times – once on the ankle, once in the chest, and once in the nads. Brave effort by the veteran keeper though …

The wicket brought about a steady flow of wickets, especially with Jakes entering the attack. He bowled a brilliant spell of 3-1-19-3, and also took a sharp catch off his own bowling. As Slang said after the catch: “Jakes, jy’s darem nog vrot van die krieket!”

Tidy spells by Casper and Moggie kept it close and ensured a tight finish, especially when Ryan and Cornell came back and took three wickets between them in three overs.

However, credit must go to Edgemead’s Spencer – the veteran left-arm opening bowler who kept out some thunderbolts from Cornell before scoring the winning runs in the penultimate over.

So the Rollers lost by two wickets, but showed great character in fighting to defend such a modest total. Here’s hoping for more fight (and better batting) in our next game against Gardens on February 14.

Moment of the Day: Nico Rheeder fielding down at fine leg, penis in hand, serenading the neighbourhood at the top of his voice.

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