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Rollers edge last-ball thriller

On a topsy-turvy afternoon which included two recalled LBWs, last-ball drama and fighting with dog people, it was the West Coast Rollers who emerged victorious against Squirrels in the tightest of fashion.

The morning had got off to a pretty poor start - Van der Stel double-booking the field we had secured, prompting an interesting stand-off with the dog trainers who had taken over all of the off-side.

Fortunately a few of the Squirrels boys knew peeps in the area, and the D-field at Maties was eventually annexed, if not necessarily prepared. Although the pitch played just fine, the outfield had not seen a cow or a mower in a while, so a day of running was on the cards.

The Rollers took first strike and got off to a decent enough start, with Ryan Cooper (21) and Peter Muller (27) putting on 48 for the first wicket in just under eight overs, but a middle-order collapse - Bryan Bowler (10), Tom Stapylton-Smith (10) and Neville Cooper (0) - left us in a precarious position at 85/5.

Jarryd van Wyk, who is finally beginning to realise some of his talent, strode to the crease at No 7 and looked untroubled until the aforementioned Tom gunned him LBW off the middle of his bat. Credit to the Squirrels though ... they spotted the error and called Jarryd back, though it would prove costly as he went on to score an unbeaten 65 off 44, with Michael van Dewenter providing decent support (20 off 19) in a 65-run seventh-wicket partnership.

And, crucially as it turned out later in the day, Ruan de Jongh scored a brilliant one not out off the final ball …

Squirrels’ reply started disastrously, with Tom (7-1-25-3) clearly looking to atone for his shitty umpiring with a fiery spell of bowling, getting both Sankie and Shimmy in his first two overs.

Enter Wesley and Brett, who took a liking to the rest of the bowlers in a 103-run third wicket partnership, but not before Wesley was also called back for a shoddy leg before call.

Jarryd (1/34) eventually broke that partnership when he bowled Brett for a run-a-ball 54, before Ruan (3-0-18-2) took care of the middle-order with some sublime line and length stuff. 

However, Wesley found some support in the form of Ryan, and they looked to have taken the game away from the Rollers before a broken Wesley was run out (thanks long grass).

However, the game was still in the balance as Squirrels needed 12 off the last over to win, and Ryan (Cooper this time), very nearly gifted that to them with some rubbish bowling. But needing four of the last ball, Chicken Push could only edge it for two, leaving the squeaky-bum Rollers hanging on for the one-run win.

Special mention must go to Charl Bester, who ran a virtual half-marathon and familiarised himself with almost every blade of grass on the on-side in a energy-sapping fielding spell which played a major part in the victory.

And, to Van der Stel’s credit, they invited us back to their clubhouse for some free prego rolls to atone for the earlier mistake. The majority of the Squirrels boys pulled through and some decent fines were had and many a world problem solved.

Rollers vs Squirrels 2024 Scorecard
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