If it were runs you were after, Kelvin Grove was the place to be on Saturday as the West Coast Rollers took on Western Province Cricket Club in a hugely entertaining game.
Given that we had packed our kitbags away some time ago due to the cancelation of matches, it was a wonder we managed to be competitive against a strong WPCC side, let alone emerge as winners.
As it turned out, we not only scored our highest ever total, we also made it five wins in a row against Neil Watson’s troops – an unheard of achievement according to the FCA chairman.
With the match taking place on a Saturday, it meant a bit of a patch job for the Rollers, who had four debutants in the starting XI.
One of those, Marcell Hattingh, got us off to a flyer, hitting 6 sixes (including one which almost killed some unsuspecting tennis players) and 2 fours in a brisk unbeaten 50, with Michael van Deweter (19) slightly more sedate at the other end.
But from a solid 50/0 after six overs, we soon slipped to 60-odd for four as Neville Cooper, Jarryd van Wyk and another debutant, Tom Stapylton-Smith, all fell without scoring.
However, Ryan Cooper and new guy Robbie Carlson – the nephew of Rollers veteran Hannes – managed to restore parity, and that parity came at a rapid rate.
Robbie blasted his way to an impressive 43 while Ryan retired on 50, but the respite was non-existent for the WPCC bowlers as next-man-in Andrew Young peppered the square boundaries, also reaching an unbeaten half-century.
The last debutant, Leon Theron, hung around for 19, while Cassie was run out for 5, leaving the retired batsmen to return and benefit from the wisdom and experience of our number 11, Jacques Laubscher.
Marcell added only one more run, but Ryan got stuck into the off-spinners, hitting five sixes before getting caught in the deep, 10 runs short of his century.
Still, the damage had been done as WPCC were set an imposing 315 for victory.
Not that the run-rate was an issue at the start, with Zaaiman and Gersner taking a particular liking to Big Mike (5-0-48-0). Andrew also took some tap, but he made three crucial breakthroughs, getting both openers and the dangerous Dyson in the space of three overs to finish with 3/52 in seven.
Tom came on for his first bowl for the Rollers and impressed straight away, eventually ending up with 3/37 off five overs, before Cassie cleaned up the tail with 2/26 as the ‘hosts’ were dismissed for 221, 93 short of victory.
As per usual, drinks were enjoyed following a game played in true FCA spirit, while the four ‘stumps’ by the debutants was a hoot. Neil, thanks again for organising, and for an excellent day out.