The West Coast Rollers well and truly lived up to their name this past Sunday against Melkbos Fellows, doing their utmost to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory but, ultimately, just getting over the line.
According to club chairman Dave Hillman, the ‘Rollers’ are so named “partially because of the sound of the sea waves rolling onto the shore nearby [in Melkbos], but mainly because the older players displayed what is commonly called a ‘Beer Gut’ or ‘Boep’ and would ‘Roll’ the pitch for free when scoring runs”.
In more recent times though, it is also because of the side’s propensity for throwing away winning positions, with the opposition bowling ‘rolling’ their way through the brittle batting line-up.
As it turns out, our bowlers did the first rolling through the top order at Northerns Goodwood, with in-form Tom Stapylton-Smith following up last week’s five-for with another, this time 6-1-26-5 as Melkbos slipped to 67/8 after 13 overs. Pinky Prawn was well supported by new ball partner Peter Muller (2/42), who is slowly finding his feet after an ‘interesting’ start to the season.
But just when we thought it may be an early visit to the bar, Brian Kennedy and Finn Beckett showed some steely resolve, blocking the Rollers into submission before hitting out towards the end, with their 70-run ninth-wicket partnership guiding Melkbos to a below-par - but defendable - 137/9 from their 35 overs.
A special mention must go to 14-year-old Sean Cooper, the youngest spawn of senior statesman Neville, who debuted for the team and produced remarkable figures of 7-3-10-0.
So not a big target, and it looked even simpler when Jordan Corfe and Peter put on 61 for the first wicket in no time, with the latter seemingly keen to get it over and done with. He edged bludgeoned his way to 56 off 39 balls before falling to young Maddox Kennedy, who would finish with figures of 7-3-11-5!
If Peter seemed in a rush, a slightly agitated Charl Bester was sprinting towards the finish line, hitting three massive sixes in his 45 from just 24, with one almost sailing into the adjacent block of flats.
This one ...
But from a cruising position of 111/2 after 17 overs, the Rollers lost six wickets for just 22 runs to slump to 133/8, with Melkbos well and truly back in the game. However, the two older Coopers showed what experience from about 400 combined games of social cricket brings, negotiating the remaining five runs without too much alarm as we eased to a two-wicket win.
With veteran Roller-turned-grown-up Hannes Carlson coming to support, we should have known the fines session may carry on a bit, and so it proved as the NGCC bar had to break out a few extra bottles of brandy to appease the thirsty players and supporters.