The Rollers continued their fine start to the 2017/18 season on Sunday, cruising to a 63-run win against Squirrels at the revamped Alma Marist grounds.
It’s a fixture that has caused us a few headaches in years gone by, and after winning the toss and batting on a testing wicket and a slooooooow outfield, it seemed more misery was in store.
Phumba (7-1-23-2) and Homer Gomez (7-2-17-0) got the hosts off to a brilliant start, picking up the wickets of Nico Rheeder (2) and Neville Cooper (14) with a fine display of line and length bowling.
And any hopes of seeing off the new ball pair and getting stuck into the rest proved unfounded as well, with Striker showing Glenn McGrath-like accuracy (and a follow-through) to finish with figures of 7-3-9-1.
The Rollers were struggling at 53/2 after 17 overs, but Ryan Cooper and Hannes Moore kept chipping away, putting on a 53-run stand for the third wicket before the latter was bowled for 20.
Ryan then found his range, going 6,4,6,2,6,6,4 after a few clubhouse beers before Shimmy got the last laugh, bowling the captain on the day for 60.
Mark Haselau (9), James Lamprecht (9*) and Jarryd van Wyk (13) all contributed at the end, but it was Andrew Young who stole the show with a quick-fire 29, including a massive six off his hip that sailed into the house adjacent to the field.
So a very competitive 170/7 in 35 overs, probably worth in excess of 200 on a faster outfield.
Squirrels’ reply didn’t get off to what you would call a great start – six wickets down inside seven overs as Ryan (3/12) and a fiery Cornell Keulder (3/23) ripped through the top order, leaving the home side reeling at 24/6.
But any thoughts of an early fines sessions were dashed by a determined Brad van Beuge, who showed all the class in the world to stand firm in the onslaught before launching a counter-attack of his own.
He found the same backyard as Andrew a few hours earlier and threatened to pull off an unlikely victory, but Ryan came back to end his knock (55 off 56), bending his elbow just enough to finish with figures of 4-17 off five.
Ruan de Jongh (1/7) and James Lamprecht (1/3) cleaned up the tail as the Rollers claimed victory with eight overs remaining.
It was a game played in true FCA spirit, and a great time was had in the fines session, with Phumba (and outgoing Sankie) in fine form.
Special shoutout to the groundsman, who worked a miracle in producing a pitch that, at the first time of asking, played remarkably well.
Neville Cooper 14 (1×4) Nico Rheeder 2 Ryan Cooper 60 (4×6, 5×4) Hannes Moore 20 (1×4) Mark Haselau 9 (1×4) James Lamprecht 9* Andrew Young 29 (1×6, 2×4) Jarryd van Wyk 13 (2×4) Cornell Keulder 3*
Extras: 12 TOTAL: 170/7 (35 overs)
Cornell Keulder 7-1-23-3 Ryan Cooper 5-017-4 Andrew Young 6-026-1 Jacques Laubscher 3-0-22-0 Hannes Moore 2-0-12-0 Ruan de Jongh 2-0-7-1 James Lamprecht 1.3-0-3-1