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Epic win for Rollers

The headline is way unimaginative, and for the first 35 overs of yesterday’s game against Claremont Gents, so were the Rollers – but what a difference a few beers and a change of attitude makes!

If ever there was a day when you questioned the wisdom of spending your Sundays in the hot sun chasing a red ball around the field, yesterday was it.

For two-odd hours in the blazing sun, the Rollers chased leather like never before – a fact compounded by two late withdrawals on Sunday morning, meaning we took the field with only 10 men.

It actually started quite well though – Hannes Moore forcing the ‘royal salute’ from the opening batsman, only for the off-stump to be knocked back. And two overs later Andrew Young got in on the act, having the other opener caught at first slip.

But then the shit hit the fan.

Colin McGaw and Bruce Sharpe got stuck into the bowlers, making the most of a beautiful pitch, a lightning quick outfield, some poor bowling and a lackluster fielding effort to pile on the runs and misery, putting on 109 for the third wicket.

Nico Rheeder eventually had Sharpe caught on the square-leg boundary for 71, but McGaw continued the massacre to eventually finish on 118, in the process setting the Rollers a seemingly insurmountable 271 runs to win in 35 overs.

The dressing-room wasn’t exactly a fun place to be at the break, but once we got over ourselves we decided to give it a go – and then some.

Cornell Keulder took first strike along with Hannes Engelbrecht, and they got us off to the perfect start – Nellie playing some fine cover drives and pull shots, while Haas ran like a man possessed and weighed in with the occasional trademark ‘flat-bat’

Nellie was eventually dismissed in the ninth over for 40 with the score on 73 – the perfect platform from which to launch.

After debutant Brendan Gardiner was run out without facing a ball, Ryan Cooper strode to the crease to join his captain. After a slow start, the two started finding the middle of the bat – and some extra gas in the tanks after two all-run fours! – to set up a Rollers record partnership of 149.

A crucial period came straight after drinks. Needing 8.5 runs to the over, the two batsmen caught the opposition by surprise, rattling off successive overs of 13, 12 and 12 to really set the tone for the run-chase.

However, on 223 Ryan was caught behind for 105 – his second successive century – but we were still 49 runs short of the target.

Haas continued to lead from the front, pummeling some fierce straight drives and finding willing running partners in Nico Rheeder, Brett Gradwell and Andrew Young before skying one to mid-wicket to depart for a gutsy 69.

Still, there was lots of work to do – another 35 required at eight an over. Cue Andrew Young … one of the batting heroes of the season so far, he produced another crucial knock, smashing 21 off one over to all but set up the win.

He was run out for 22, but the two other Hannes’ – Moore and Carlson – took the Rollers to the famous victory, and with seven balls to spare!

A truly remarkable result and surely one of the top three moments in the Rollers’ almost 20-year history…

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