If the West Coast Rollers and Coastal Strikers learnt anything from their clash at the YMCA Oval in Rondebosch yesterday, it’s that the bowlers did not spend the COVID-enforced break practising.
Considering all the game-time we have missed, it was no surprise that the two sides were in a giving mood, but 55 wides between us may have been a bit over the top.
As is so often the case, the Rollers were the instigators as they won the toss and elected to field, with debutant Peter Muller joining Tom Stapylton-Smith on new ball duties. Kempton Park went for 27 in his first two overs, while Pinky Prawn was so wayward that umpire Ary Laubscher took to coaching him mid-over, no doubt tired of extending his arms the whole time.
It saw Strikers race to 47 without loss after just 6 overs, but then the collapse, with Tom burgling one down leg-side, and Peter shortening his run-up by about 30 meters to bowl his last five overs for 3/10. Added to a direct-hit run out by Nicky Rheeder, it meant Strikers lost five wickets for just 19 runs.
Captain Michael van Dewenter (5-2-8-1) bought himself on and gave a lesson in line and length bowling; in the process picking up the big wicket of Rollers slayer Herman Oosthuizen, brilliantly caught in the gully by Mark Haselau.
The Rheeders then finished up the innings with two wickets apiece - Nicky (2/43) extending his lead at the top of the wicket standings, while Nico (4-0-13-2) bamboozled the lower order with his leg-spin, aided by a fantastic reflex catch at square-leg by Jordan Corfe.
The Strikers were eventually dismissed in the 27th over for 139, of which Extras was the top scorer with 41.
Jordan and Tom opened the batting for the Rollers and took the score to 19 before the latter was bowled for 17, but that’s just about as good as it got for Strikers.
Nicky - fresh off three ducks in four balls - joined Jordan at the crease and together they put on 107 for the second wicket. Nicky was the aggressor, scoring 47 off 61 deliveries before he was caught at backward point, while Jordan was class personified - defending resolutely before unleashing some Kumar Sangakkara-like straight and cover drives in his unbeaten 42.
There was still time for a Nico first-baller, but Mark ended his run of four successive ducks in style with a quickfire unbeaten nine as the Rollers cruised to a seven-wicket victory with more than eight overs to spare - thanks in part to 27 extras from the Strikers bowlers.
As usual, some cold ones and plenty of stories were shared on the WPCC balcony. Thanks once again to Riaan and his team for a great game played in an even better spirit.