The West Coast Rollers picked up their first win of 2020 in the most nerve-wracking of fashion - a one-run victory with three balls to spare against Pumas in Rondebosch.
We were the Pumas’ first ever opponents in the FCA and were yet to lose a game against them, despite some tight finishes over the years. But nothing - Pumas or otherwise - has come as close as Sunday’s cliffhanger.
Having won the toss, the Rollers took first strike on a quickish pitch with more than enough in it for the bowlers. Bertie and Gareth were tight to say the least, restricting the visitors to 21/1 after 8 overs, with Neville Cooper (3) having been caught behind.
James Lamprecht (29) and Ryan Cooper put on 52 for the second wicket before the former was caught behind off Marc, who was Vernon Philander-ish in his seven-over spell which yielded 1-16.
Ryan soon followed, trapped LBW for 22, but rescue came in the form of Cornell Keulder, so often the thorn in Pumas’ sides. He survived some early scares before unleashing, eventually smashing 63 off just 49 balls, including five fours and four sixes.
He was ably supported in the latter stages by debutant Dave le Roux (13*) as the Rollers posted 169/7 off 35 overs - better than we thought, but still below where we wanted to be.
And despite the early loss of David Novos - caught behind off Pinky Prawn (5-1-21-1) - it looked like Pumas would cruise to victory, with Marc and Gareth (the son of former Edgemead stalwart ‘Spanner’) smashing the bowling to all parts. It took a Cornell special to get rid of the youngster - a beautiful late inswinger which pegged the middle stump back to end the 49-run partnership.
However, there was little respite for the Rollers as Garth continued where Gareth left off, with his 44-run partnership with Marc seemingly sending the visitors to defeat.
Enter Rollers veteran Hannes Carlson…
It’s been more than a year since he last donned our colours, but he had clearly lost none of his guile, getting Marc caught on the boundary and Shukri trapped in front to finish with figures of 2-20 in his seven overs.
At the other end, Andrew Young replaced Dave (4-0-18-0) and interspersed some absolute shit with absolute champagne, picking up wickets at regular intervals - including the key wicket of Garth for 60 - to finish with 4-41 off his six overs.
With three overs left, Pumas needed 13 runs for victory with three wickets left. Ryan brought himself on and bowled Grant, before Andrew got Neil at the other end, though both overs saw boundaries being scored as well.
Going into the final over, the equation stood as follows: Pumas need two runs with one wicket remaining. The first two balls to Bertie were dot balls, but on the third he slashed at a wider one, with Cornell taking the catch at backward point.
The catch sparked wild celebrations, with the Rollers all turning into Imran Tahir as we ran in all directions, arms waving wildly and manly hugs seemingly no issue.
Post-match drinks were understandably festive, and a special thanks goes out to Garth, Dan, Novos, Shukri, Bertie and the rest of the Pumas for being incredible hosts and amazingly gracious in defeat. We can’t wait for the next instalment!
Neville Cooper 3 (16 balls)
Ryan Cooper 22 (34 balls, 4x4)
James Lamprecht 29 (42 balls, 4x4)
Michael van Dewenter 12 (34 balls, 1x4)
Cornell Keulder 63 (49 balls, 4x6, 5x4)
Hannes Moore 2 (9 balls)
Andrew Young 3 (12 balls)
Dave le Roux 13* (10 balls, 2x4)
Tom Stapylton-Smith 6* (5 balls, 1x6)
Tom Stapylton-Smith 5-1-21-1
Cornell Keulder 7-0-34-1
Michael van Dewenter 4-0-23-0
Dave le Roux 4-0-18-0
Hannes Carlson 7-0-20-2
Andrew Young 6-0-41-4
Ryan Cooper 1.3-0-5-2