If ever there was an advertisement for all that the Friendly Cricketers’ Association stands for, the Rollers’ clash against Groot Drak on Saturday was it.
The game had it all: some high quality cricket, serious desire on both sides to win, plenty of laughs, drama, and a fantastic post-match session.
As per tradition, the Rollers took first strike on a pitch with a fair amount of grass (given the drought), and the extra bounce and pace almost did for Ryan Cooper with the very first ball, but for opposing captain Morne Landman being in a generous mood at first slip.
Andrew Young did lose his wicket in the first over without scoring, but a solid a 71-run partnership at over five per over between Ryan and Jarryd van Wyk restored parity.
Jarryd lobbed one to long-off for 26, but another run-a-ball stand for the third wicket with James Lamprecht further enhanced the Rollers’ position before Ryan retired on 53.
James eventually departed for 29, but not before a 50-run stand with Neville Cooper, who was class personified as he cut, hooked and drove the bowlers to all parts.
He retired on 52, and a quick-fire 18 from Cornell Keulder saw the Rollers post a very competitive 207/6 after 35 overs.
The Groot Drak boys got off to a flier, with Johnno and Jaco putting on 75 off 15 overs for the first wicket. Enter Andrew, who took three wickets in six balls to change the complexion of the game.
Ryan then brought himself on and took four wickets, and with three overs and two wickets remaining the hosts needed 26 runs.
But then the visiting captain started bowling like the Proteas at the death in major tournament games, and three boundaries off the penultimate over effectively sealed the result, with Groot Drak getting the winning runs with three balls remaining.
It was a hammer blow given that we have not beaten the Franschhoek boys in many years, but the short-term cure of fines and a brandy special meant the post-match session was massively enjoyable.
Thanks again to Morne and his team for their hospitality – we’ll try again next year!