The West Coast Rollers finished the 2021/22 season with a nail-biting five-run win against Melkbos in a low-scoring game at the Rondebosch B-field on Sunday.
The match lasted just over 40 overs, and for the majority of that it looked like we were on a hiding to nothing, destined to lose our first ever encounter against the team where the Rollers have their roots.
Choosing to bat first on a spicy wicket, we were soon reduced to 19/4, with Neville Cooper (2), Nicky Rheeder (6), Ryan Cooper (6) and Michael van Dewenter (1) the men back in the hut thanks to some tight bowling from Kevin Ralph (2/24) and young Maddox Kennedy (2/16).
Recently married Tom Stapylton-Smith (16 off 29) showed off all the patience a successful relationship needs as he proved the anchor to Jarryd van Wyk’s heroics, with the pair putting on 49 for the fifth wicket before Pinky Prawn was bowled.
Charl Bester (1) didn’t trouble the scorers, and when Jarryd middled one onto his pads and was gunned LBW for a classy 43, the writing was on the wall, despite Mark Haselau’s (9 off 19) best efforts. Nico Rheeder, playing his 59th consecutive year of cricket, was bowled for 2, before Hannes Moore (2) was last man out.
So a paltry 100-run target set against a batting line-up featuring some big hitters on a relatively small field, it was going to take a Herculean effort to get a result.
The Rollers were helped by Michael Lemin running himself out without scoring, before Tom struck twice in quick succession to leave Melkbos reeling at 7/3 after five overs. He also picked up the big wicket of Brendan Pieterse to finish with fantastic figures of 7-1-20-3. Married life clearly agrees with his cricket, even if his new bride was nowhere to be seen …
One of the aforementioned big hitters, Ian Combrink came in and smashed Ryan around before being bowled for 26 off 15, and two more wickets in the 12th over left Melkbos in a precarious position at 54/7.
A 20-run partnership followed before Michael struck to get Brian Kennedy, but the problem was still the other big hitter in the line-up - Wihan Reyneke. He was smashing it at a 200 strike-rate, but when he was caught and bowled with the score on 76, it was all said and done.
Only, the fat lady had not sung yet.
Ryan bowled a heap of shit as the number 10 smashed him for three consecutive boundaries, but captain Mike saved the day when he had Maddox trapped dead in front with five runs still needed.
A close, close game played in a fantastic spirit; a fitting end to another exciting season - by our estimation the 27th year that the Rollers have played social cricket.