For the second weekend in succession, the West Coast Rollers took a game down to the last ball but, unlike in Somerset West, this time we managed to get it over the line.
In fairness, the results should probably have been reversed. A week ago we lost five wickets for three runs to choke a chase spectacularly, but against Coastal Strikers at Gardens on Sunday, we rallied to save a lost cause.
The Rollers took first strike on a beautiful day on an up-and-down deck and slow outfield, and got off to a very decent start thanks to Bryan Bowler (24) and Dion Welman (15), who put on 40 for the first wicket before the latter was run out.
Bryan followed shortly afterwards and when Jarryd van Wyk was gunned LBW for 1, another collapse looked on the cards. However, the Cooper brothers combined for a 41-run stand against some tight bowling - Neville finishing with 20 (he claims more) and Ryan bowled by Albie for 50.
Throughout the winnings we thought that 140 would be a very tough target given the conditions, but Tom Smith (19 off 20) and Michael van Dewenter (18 off 16, including two “parkie-krieket” reverse sweeps), propelled the score to 166/7 off the allotted 35 overs.
Just as well we got those extra runs then, although two quick wickets from Crinkle Cut - Pinkie Prawn flavour (Tom, 7-2-29-2) did nothing to dispel our initial assessment of the situation.
Francois and Johan threatened briefly, but an excellent spell of spin bowling from Charl Bester (7-0-27-2) - aided by a great catch from Dion on the boundary rope - and an incredible bit of variation from Izak de Beer (the one that landed on the pitch), left Strikers starting down the barrel at 76/5.
However, a sixth wicket partnership of 76 between Thinus and Louis looked to have all but won the game before some inspiring bowling changes from ‘Ag for fuck’s sake’ Mike. Jarryd (3-1-10-1) bowled Thinus with a peach, before Ryan (3-1-9-1) had Louis caught at mid-on ... two maiden wickets in a row!
So, 14 needed off the last two overs and eight needed off the last, it all came down to the last ball. Strikers needed one for the tie and two for the win but Ryan beat the inside edge, Bryan threw the ball back to the bowler for a run out, and the game was won by the tightest of margins.
A special word of mention of the Rollers’ fielding in the last five overs … incredible intensity and commitment, some great boundary saves from Kobus Muller and Ruan, and a pin-point throw from the boundary by Tom for the run out of Herman.
Suffice to say, plenty of refreshments were enjoyed after the match, with Strikers once again showing that even if they don’t win the match, they will always win the down-downs.
Thanks to Gardens for hosting us, and thanks to Francois and his team for a great game played in an even better spirit. Looking forward to the next meeting!