The West Coast Rollers made a first visit to Groot Drakenstein in five years on Sunday, and it turned out to be well worth the drive - for the batsmen at least.
On a hot and blustery day, it was the hosts who won the toss and decided to bat first on a beautiful track. As it turns out, they could have batted on an absolute mamba and it would have made no difference as the Rollers’ bowlers got off to an … interesting start.
Peter Muller (2-0-25-0) set the tone with a 10-ball first over which included two beamers that our keeper took above his head, while his replacement, captain Michael van Dewenter, didn’t fare much better (4-0-31-0), no doubt the after-effects of a long, hard netball season.
Tom Stapylton-Smith (5-0-32-1) battled bravely into the wind, but it was the introduction of JP de Bruyn (7-0-29-3) which changed the visitors’ fortunes as his two wickets in an over - including the big one of Quinton (59 off 46) - saw Groot Drak slump from 89/1 to 90/3 in no time. Special mention to Neville Cooper for a one-handed ‘blinder’ behind the stumps.
However, it proved but a brief respite as Claude and Ian combined for an 83-partnership off just 10 overs, with Claude at one point hitting five consecutive fours en route to a brisk 53 off 33 deliveries.
Ruan de Jongh (5-1-25-1) and Ryan Cooper (4-1-14-1) managed to put on the brakes to some extent, while Mark Haselau got the big wicket of Jannes (26 off 26) to keep the score to a very challenging 241/8 off 35 overs.
The Rollers needed a fast start to have a chance, but it wasn’t to be. Hannes Moore (14 off 29) and Tom (16 off 25) saw off the considerable threat of Jannes (7-0-21-2), but the further losses of Neville (1) and JP (0) left us in a precarious position at 72/4 after 14 overs.
Enter Jarryd van Wyk. ‘Juice’ hit the first two balls he faced for boundaries and showed little in the way letting up as he bludgeoned 42 off just 20 deliveries before - true to form - throwing his wicket away.
Still, he had given us a platform, and Ryan and Peter’s 87-run sixth-wicket partnership got us ever closer. Peter eventually holed out to long-off for a brisk 47 off just 36 balls, before Ryan’s brainfart on 66 meant it was left to the tail to score 30 runs off the last four overs.
Mark (5), Mike (12), Ruan (4*) and Izak de Beer (3*) tried, but ultimately the opening 10 overs with the ball cost us as we fell six runs short of the target.
Still, a brilliant return to Groot Drakenstein, made all the better with ice-cold Devil’s Peak draughts, the swimming pool and a proper fine session. Thanks again to Craig and his team for a lovely day out!