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Gents anything but gentle in Rollers demolition

Broken cricket bat
If ever a picture summed up a performance ...

It’s proven a tough start to 2024 for the West Coast Rollers, who were handed an absolute pasting by Claremont Gents on Sunday.

After seeing a decade-long unbeaten run against WPCC come to an end last time out, the visitors were eager to get back to winning ways on a ground where we’ve had some memorable and unlikely victories in years gone by.

But right from the start we were on the back foot, with Gents’ openers bowling an exceptional line and length - to go with some magical fielding - to have us reeling at 43/4 after 10 overs.

Cornell Keulder (16 off 38) and Neville Cooper (31 off 48) managed to steady the ship, but the spin twins of Gary Pentland-Smith (7-1-23-2) and Cookie Wilson (7-1-24-0) ensured there would be no real recovery, despite a 33-run eighth-wicket partnership between Hannes Moore (17 off 29) and Ryan Cooper (18 off 16).

A target of 134 felt about 50 short on a slow, turning wicket, but in reality it was more like 250 runs short as Bertie Erasmus set about the bowling in a most ungentlemanly manner, racing to 62 off 30 before being trapped in from by Tom Stapylton-Smith (2/55), the only bowler to emerge with any sort of reputation intact.

Jacques Engelbrecht (24 off 22), Barry Narrowmore (24 off 13) and Henning Swanepoel (23* off 15) all finished with strike-rates above 100, leaving the Rollers’ batters wondering if we were even playing on the same pitch.

The target was reached in just 13.4 overs, bringing a VERY early end to proceedings, though on the flipside it gave us plenty of time to enjoy the pizza and beautiful brandy specials on offer.

A very one-sided affair, but one played in excellent spirit thanks to FCA legends like Gary, Bertie and Cookie, which made the humiliation only slightly more tolerable.

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