The West Coast Rollers were left to reflect on what might have been after a middle-order collapse saw them fall just five runs short of the target set by Somerset West on Sunday.
Well placed to chase down the 196 set by Bobby Londt’s team, the visitors lost five wickets for three runs in one of the more spectacular collapses seen at Radlof Park.
SSW had won the toss and opted to bat, having no doubt read about the Rollers’ disastrous outing at Distell the week before and not keen to waste their time.
They got off to a solid enough start through Ali and Schalk, but were never allowed to get going against some disciplined bowling from Michael van Dewenter and Tom Stapylton-Smith (7-1-25-0). Tom, in particular, was near unplayable at times, prompting Schalk to comment “I feel like I just have a handle in my hand” after a fourth consecutive play and miss.
At the other end, Michael (7-1-20-2) picked up two wickets in quick succession to leave SSW struggling at 47/2 after 14 overs.
The rest of the bowlers didn’t have quite as much success though. Dion Welman (4-0-30-0) struggled with direction in the heavy wind, while Sean Cooper was forced off after just two overs after hurting his elbow.
That left Ryan Cooper (7-0-35-1) and Ruan de Jongh (7-0-53-0) to do more bowling than they would have fancied, with Ruan in particular the victim of some sloppy fielding and dropped catches which ruined an otherwise fine spell.
The 89-run fourth wicket stand between Schalk (83*) and Ethan (46) was eventually broken by Charl Bester (1-0-12-1) in the final over, leaving the Rollers chasing a target of 196 for victory.
Ayden Cooper (10 off 6) made a breezy start before being undone by an absolute ‘jaffa’ from Stoffel, but Ryan and debutant Bryan Bowler (he’s a wicket-keeper ...) looked more than comfortable as they put on 84 for the second wicket before the latter was trapped LBW for a classy 27.
Dion was cruising at 14 off as many balls before he smashed a full toss straight into backward point’s hands but, at 168/3, with the two senior Coopers at the crease and needing less than 30 at five an over, it seemed but a forgone conclusion. And then the wheels came off something spectacularly ...
Ryan (80) was bowled by Lloyd (4-0-17-3) who, along with Bobby (5-0-14-1) and Louis (7-0-25-3), proved the difference. Neville (19), Craig Haird (0), Tom (1) and Ruan (0) all fell with the score on 171, leaving Michael and Charl to try and rescue the game.
They combined for an unbeaten stand of 20 and needed a boundary off the last ball for the tie, but it wasn’t meant to be as Somerset West claimed the four-run win.