The West Coast Rollers capped a memorable season with a comprehensive six-wicket win against the ‘old enemy’, Western Province Cricket Club, on Sunday.
Five months and ten matches after moering Fish Hoek in the opening game of the season, the Rollers recorded their eighth win in emphatic style on the windswept YMCA fields in Newlands.
Asked to field first on a seeming deck, we got off to the perfect start thanks to some Vernon Philander-like bowling from Andrew Young. In his opening spell of five overs, he conceded just four runs and picked up two wickets –both unplayable deliveries caught behind the wicket.
Ryan Cooper was a lot more expensive, but weighed in with the wicket of our old friend Voldemort, before captain Hannes Engelbrecht slowed things down by introducing Nico Rheeder (7-0-22-0) and Hannes Carlson (7-2-24-2), severely slowing down the scoring rate in the process.
Cornell Keulder picked up his customary two wickets for just 16 runs and Andrew returned to complete a wonderful ‘five-for’ (7-5-15-5) as WPCC limped to 129, helped massively by an unbroken 30-run last wicket stand.
Still, a target of 130 on a fast wicket and even faster outfield was never going to be a problem, though Neville Cooper (sporting a fighter pilot helmet after his duck last week) did try his best to set the cat amongst the pigeons, looping a catch to short cover with only one run on the board.
However, Ryan and young Dion Wellman steadied the ship, putting on 77 runs for the second wicket to all but secure the victory.
Ryan smashed his way to 31 before losing his wicket to (yep, you guessed it) Voldemort, before Cornell did the exact same thing, but not before bludgeoning a quickfire 32, which included a six which ended up in someone’s front garden.
With all the fireworks happening at the other end of the pitch, Dion kept his composure and finally recorded his maiden 50 for the Rollers – a very mature and untroubled knock which belied his age and proved again what a massive talent he is.
George Kampher handed Voldemort his third wicket before Brett Gradwell hoiked one over mid-wicket for the winning runs – with all of 13 over to spare.
The early finish meant some quality time spent at the bar and the pool, with the Rollers left to reflect on an excellent seasons which produced some thrilling matches and massive milestones.
We’ll go into more detail at the end-of-season awards at Jacques Laubscher’s Pizza Palace at a date yet to be decided but, in the meantime, a well-deserved pat on the back as the Rollers complete another campaign.
PS: Good to see Dave ‘Gunsmoke’ Hillman back on the field, albeit in an umpiring capacity. Nice to have you back skipper, and thanks for keeping your hands in your pocket while I was batting!