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Oh so close for Rollers

With the euphoria of the previous day’s Wellington Sixes victory still fresh in the minds, bodies and livers of seven Rollers, it was an understandably tired-looking team that arrived at Alma Marist for the game against Squirrels.

The last time we played Squirrels was about five years ago in Pinelands and that match ended in a heavy defeat. It was a similar outcome this time around, though much, much closer.

The Rollers took opted to bowl first on an up-and-down wicket, and it proved a great decision as Squirrels soon found themselves 60-odd for 6, with Cornell Keulder the chief destroyer. He bowled with fierce pace into a strong south-easter, picking up 4/27, including the scalp of a former Province B player who later remarked: “It’s been a while since I faced a delivery like that!”

However, we let it slide a bit towards the end and eventually allowed the hosts to post 140 – by no means a massive target, but a lot more than they should have got.

Ryan Cooper chipped in with 2/21, while Nicky Rheeder, Nico Rheeder and debutant Daryn Geldenhuys all picked up one apiece.

The chase looked a foregone conclusion after Neville Cooper and Louis Pretorius got the Rollers off to the perfect start – posting more than 50 for the first wicket. And then the wheels came off.

Neville was the first to go for 24, before Cornell (4), Ryan (0), Hannes Engelbrecht (0) and Louis (29) followed in quick succession.

Daryn tried to keep one end up, but when he was bowled by a ‘coolie-creeper’ for 14, the writing seemed to be on the wall. Jacques Laubscher came in and played an aggressive innings of 14, but his dismissal, along with that of Ross Kennedy and Nico for a first-baller spelled the end – or did it?

Hannes Carlson dispatched the hat-trick ball over square-leg for four to signal his intentions, and along with a solid-looking Nicky put on 40 for the last wicket. But with four runs and 10 balls to go, Casper set off for a single, was sent back, but slipped in turning back, resulting in him being run out.

So a three-run defeat as the Rollers chalk up yet another one in the ‘loss’ column, adding to an already poor season.

Fines were a bit muted from our side afterwards as Squirrels revelled in their unlikely victory, but we will bounce back – starting with Kelvin Grove on February 20 I hope.

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