It was a case of third time lucky for new skipper Hannes Engelbrecht as the Rollers ended their recent losing streak with an emphatic victory against Kelvin Grove on Sunday.
A thumping defeat to Groot Drak and a heartbreaking loss at Squirrels was quickly forgotten as we produced a clinical performance against the rich kids from the southern suburbs, chasing down 177 with 10 overs to spare and six wickets remaining.
Haas had been prepping for the game with some Black Labels at breakfast, so his decision to field first after the winning the toss wasn’t as much of a surprise.
And after the first 15 overs it seemed the Black Labels had indeed won the day as the hosts made use of the small field to race into a commanding position, with their opening batsman Greg retiring on 50 and captain Dave smashing us to all parts.
But Haas is catching onto this captaincy lark and soon played his trumpcard, bringing on Jacques Laubscher. Admittedly, after Scooter lost two balls to the Newlands Rugby Stadium roof in his first two overs we were a bit worried, but then some magic – Scoot taking four wickets in his last three overs to finish with figures of 4/26 in five and completely changing the match as the hosts lost five wickets for two runs.
Ryan Cooper (1/18), debutant Andrew ‘Sticks’ Young (1/43), Hannes Carlson (2/41) and Daryn Geldenhuys (1/10) took the other wickets, though it could have been better but for a lackluster display in the field – catching and ground fielding.
Still, we were happy with the target of 177 – especially with Kelvin at one stage sitting pretty on 150/2.
And a mere eight overs later, the game was all but over, with Neville Cooper and Louis Pretorius hitting the ball as crisply as any Roller ever in an opening stand of 71. It really was a partnership you would pay good money to watch – Louis the aggressor, with his first seven scoring shots consisting of six fours and a huge six, while Neville looked like Jacques Kallis on 150 not out, cover driving and square-cutting straight of the MCC textbook.
Louis was eventually dismissed with a peach of a delivery and catch at first slip for 36, while Neville (or ‘the machine’ as the opposition dubbed him), retired unbeaten on 53.
And despite the wickets of Casper (6), Daryn (7) and Ross Kennedy (11 – with his first Rollers six ever), the Rollers were never in any danger of throwing this one away, with Ryan (56*) hitting the winning runs in the 26th over after taking a liking to off-spinner Pierre’s bowling and putting one through the Newlands Stadium window (top).
So a great victory and some great celebrations afterwards as Sticks and Hannes Moore (above), fined for getting engaged after just two months, flew the flag with some fine stumps.