When the FCA fixtures were drawn up at the start of the season, there was one game that every Roller highlighted as a ‘must-win’ – that against Western Province Cricket Club.
Last year we took a beating of note at the hands of Neil Watson and his troops, so revenge was most definitely top of mind yesterday at the Gary Kirsten Oval.
With that in mind, the Rollers’ openers set out to lay a solid foundation on a pitch that was anything but easy to bat on – staying low at the one end and popping from a length at the other.
Andrew Young and Michael van Dewenter gave us just that with a 33-run opening stand before the former was castled for 10, but Ryan Cooper and ‘Big Mike’ set about continuing the good work.
The two put on 92 for the second wicket, with Ryan recovering from a nasty blow to the hand from New Zealand import Shane Eglinton to get to 48 (off 51 balls) before once again falling to Watson’s trickery.
Michael followed soon after for a hard-fought 41 off 78 balls, setting the stage for Cornell Keulder and Francois Siebrits to launch a late blitz on the bowlers.
Francois finished on 19 from 12 balls, including two big sixes off Watson, while Cornell got a season-best 38 not out off just 28 balls, including a massive six off the Kiwi – into the wind!
So a formidable 197/6 in 35 overs meant WPCC would need to get off to a good start, but after three overs they were 10/2, with Cornell (6-1-18-3) removing both Ian van Riel and Eglinton.
Fourie and Alexander steadied the ship with a 35-run partnership, but when the former hit a Jacques Laubscher (5-0-22-1) long-hop straight to Andrew, the writing was on the wall.
Alexander fought a lone battle for the hosts, but when he was run out for 41 thanks to some spectacular miscommunication with the white Brian Lara, it became a steady progression.
Rollers debutant Ruan de Jongh (4-0-14-1), George Kamfer (2-0-19-1) and Mark Haselau (1-0-3-1) also got among the wickets, with Neville Cooper the only one not turning his arm over on the day.
So WPCC eventually fell 39 runs short in their chase, but were well up to the fines challenge after the match, where the Rollers managed to briefly take the clubhouse status down from five stars to three.
Thanks again to Neil and the WPCC guys for a very enjoyable match, and to former Roller Tim Sant for stopping by.
And thanks to chairman Dave Hillman for coming down and leading a fitting moment’s silence for former Roller Fred Sevenoaks, who passed away last week. RIP…