The West Coast Rollers have broken some unwanted records in an up-and-down season (more down than up), but on Sunday at the picturesque Vineyard Oval against Western Province Cricket Club we finally delivered the kind of performance that's been so elusive in recent times.
Opting to bat in overcast and windy conditions, the visitors got off to an unbelievable start through James Lamprecht and debutant Nick Gailey. James proved the initial aggressor on a good track and quick outfield, with 26 of his first 27 runs coming in boundaries, allowing the new kid on the block to find his feet, having last picked up a bat two years ago.
And find his feet he did …
Having clearly played some decent cricket along the line, Nick dusted off the cobwebs and delivered a batting exhibition, scoring all around the wicket as he reached 50 in no time. At the other end, James himself was in fine form, with many of his 'picture perfect' cover drives on display as he too got to 50, his first for the Rollers.
But the carnage was just starting. Nick pushed into another gear and got stuck into all the bowlers, putting two successive sixes into the road as he brought up an incredible century, only the fourth scored by the Rollers.
The pair took the score to 209 (the previous record partnership being 149) before James was bowled for a superb 84 off 73 balls, and Nick followed shortly afterwards for 125 off 93 balls, eight runs shy of the club record.
There were still six overs left, and Ryan Cooper (50 off 23 balls) made sure the Rollers surpassed their highest ever score as well, beating the famous 272 chase against Claremont Gents by two runs.
So a fairly stiff target then, and the chase didn't start well for WPCC, who were three down with only 11 runs on the board thanks to some feisty bowling by Cornell Keulder (1/46) and Tom Stapylton-Smith (2/16).
However, any thoughts of an early retreat to the bar were quickly smashed away by Curtis Fourie and Ian Hopton, who found the boundary with alarming regularity in a 107-run partnership, which was only broken through Man of the Match contender Nick's fine catch on the ropes. Michael van Dewenter was the man who got the wicket, bowling a fine spell up the hill and into the wind to finish with 2/34 off his seven overs.
After that came a steady procession of wickets, with Ryan (1/12), Ruan de Jongh (1/24) and Cameran Young (1/47) all getting in on the act as WPCC fell 83 runs short of the target. Curtis was unlucky to miss out on what would have been a well deserved 100, being caught and bowled in the final over.
A brief fines session followed, with FCA chairman Neil Watson joining for a few beers afterwards. To Trevor, Curtis and all the WPCC players, thanks for a great day out, and also for the privilege of playing on a ground as beautiful as the Vineyard Oval.
Batting James Lamprecht 84 (1x6, 13x4) Nick Gailey 125 (2x6, 18x4) Cornell Keulder 10 Tom Stapylton-Smith 0 Ryan Cooper 50 (2x6, 6x4) Michael van Dewenter 2* Hannes Moore 0*
TOTAL: 274/5 (35 overs)
Bowling Cornell Keulder 7-0-46-1 Tom Stapylton-Smith 5-0-16-2 Michael van Dewenter 7-0-34-2 Cameran Young 7-0-47-1 Ryan Cooper 3-0-12-1 Ruan de Jongh 4-0-24-1 Hannes Moore 2-0-10-0