Two years ago we lost by three runs, and it was another close affair against Squirrels this time around as we lost on the second last ball of the game.
On a windy day at the famous Alma Marist cricket ground, the Rollers were looking to get the new year off to a positive start – and new captain Neville Cooper and English import/veteran Tim Sant certainly ensured that.
Batting first on a wicket offering quite a bit, Neville spent the first four overs tripping over his own feet and looking as though he had only just discovered this beautiful game of ours. But the first boundary bought about some semblance of normality as the skipper climbed into the Squirrels bowling attack.
Together Neville and Tim put on 70-odd for the first wicket before the former retired unbeaten on 51 from just 53 balls. Tim departed just an over later for a well constructed 28 off 46 balls.
Ryan Cooper and Bernie Nel then came to the crease, but if the hosts were hoping the two new batsmen would mean an ease up in the run-rate, they had another thing coming. Together the pair put on 90 in double-quick time – Ryan eventually retiring unbeaten on 50 from 33 balls, while Bernie fell six runs short of a well-deserved half-century, scored off 52 deliveries.
The scoring slowed down in the last few overs, but we were still confident of defending a score of 205, especially after the way we started the second innings.
George Kampfer induced an early run out of The Neb, before Ryan trapped captain Figjam plumb in front, reducing Squirrels to 29/2.
Some lusty blows from Flatley and Sir brought the hosts back into the game, before Jakes Oberholzer came on to work his magic. ‘Coach’, nearing 50 and in his first bowling spell in more than a year, took three quick wickets to reduce the opposition to 113/5 and in dire straits.
As Tim pointed out after Jakes’ third scalp, “It’s the first time I’ve seen you play mate, but I really think you should take up this game!”
The Rollers were in control, but we had not counted on some big hitters coming in down the order, especially the lanky ET. Along with Dinky (26 off 18 balls), he smashed an unbeaten 46 off 36 to all but win the game for Squirrels.
Ryan came back and picked up two wickets to put the cat amongst the pigeons, but Vin Diesel hit 12 off the penultimate over to set up victory, before closing out with a boundary off the second last ball to secure a three-wicket win.
A great game of cricket played in excellent spirit, a special word on mention must go to the likes of George, Ross Kennedy, Bernie and Mark Haselau for some excellent commitment in the field. It will take some washing to get your whites white again.
Next game is on SATURDAY, against Scorpions in Stellenbosch.
BATTING Neville Cooper 51* (53 balls) 10×4 Tim Sant 28 (46 balls) 3×4 Ryan Cooper 50* (33 balls) 1×6, 8×4 Bernie Nel 44 (52 balls) 6×4 Ross Kennedy 0 (5 balls) George Kamfer 6* (9 balls) Jacques Laubscher 4 (5 balls) 1×4 Michael van Dewenter 8* (5 balls) 1×4
Extras 12 Total 204/4
BOWLING Andrew Young 7-0-40-0 Ryan Cooper 7-0-21-3 Tim Sant 4-0-29-0 Jakes Oberholzer 7-0-27-3 Jacques Laubscher 5-0-37-0 Michael van Dewenter 3-0-31-0 Bernie Nel 1.5-0-13-0