The Rollers were left wondering 'what if' after they dropped five catches in their narrow defeat to the Coastal Strikers at the YMCA field on Sunday.
Charl Bester was given the new ball for the second time this season - this time there was no brandy-fuelled bet involved - and it showed as the Strikers got off to a fast start, aided by Tom Stapylton-Smith’s (7-2-25-1) propensity to bowling wides.
Young Sean Cooper then took matters into his own hands as he ran out Rudi with a direct hit and then caught Tim for Tom’s only wicket.
The Rollers were able to keep the rate down through Peter Muller (1/39) finding some form and a good area, but Hermann and Francois’ partnership was unbroken at the end of his and Tom's spells.
The pair put together an 83-run partnership which consisted of some strong strokes, some sloppy fielding and a number of dropped catches until Jarryd van Wyk (4-0-34-1) eventually bowled Hermann for a well played 65.
Hannes Carlson marked his return to the Rollers with the important wickets of JP, Andre and Bruwer to finish with figures of 5-0-34-3.
Still, it wasn't enough to stop Francois as he amassed 90 (67) before the Rollers eventually held a catch, but a late flourish from Riaan (17 off 7) - much to his teammates’ surprise - saw the Strikers post an imposing 232.
The Rollers' chase didn't get off to an ideal start as we lost Hannes Carlson for 4 before Jordan Corfe (26) and Neville Cooper (26) dug in for a 57-run partnership against some quality opening bowling from Wayne and Eugene.
Neville was eventually bowled by Eugene which allowed the ever-aggressive Peter to free his arms, but the run-out of Jordan, who slipped in the middle of the pitch, sparked a classic Rollers collapse. Jordan, Peter, Charl and Sean were all dismissed for just 8 runs in the space of 2 overs, with Francios the chief destroyer (6.5-0-52-5) as the hopes of a competitive chase diminished.
But Jarryd was yet to have his say. With the required rate rising, he hit the Strikers all over the park and was aptly supported by Ruan de Jongh (21 off 42), who played a captain’s knock in their 87-run stand.
By the time Jarryd was dismissed for a whirlwind 70 (43), all hope rested on the shoulders of Tom and Drew Bartlett batting at 10 & 11 respectively.
Drew played and missed his first seven balls as the Rollers had all but given up, but he eventually saw the ball and widely celebrated his two boundaries which brought the Rollers to 222 - just 10 runs short.
Despite a few words on the field (from both sides) beers flowed afterwards and some festive fines were consumed in great spirit. Thanks Riaan and the Strikers for a competitive game and a great day out!
By Tom Stapylton-Smith