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Rollers lose low-scoring cracker

It’s been an up-and-down 2009/10 campaign for the Rollers, and Sunday’s game against Noordhoek was one that epitomized the rollercoaster nature of the season perfectly.

Halfway through the first innings we looked a good bet for the win, then six overs later we looked certain to lose. That remained the case for the early parts of the second innings, before our fortunes transformed to certain victors, only to lose by one wicket.

On another sweltering hot day, the Rollers lost another toss and were put in to bat on a pitch which looked more like an outfield than a batting strip. Maybe they ran out of petrol halfway through mowing, maybe someone doesn’t know how to prepare a wicket – either way, it was a dog show.

Still, the Cooper brothers braved the conditions – both sporting helmets too. And it proved a good move as Ryan’s second delivery thudded into his gloves in front of his face … ominous signs.

Neville was the first to go, walking across his stumps to be bowled for 2, before Jacques Laubscher was spectacularly caught at slip for 11 after a 53-run second-wicket partnership.

Ryan, struggling to middle the ball all day, eventually caught one on the meat with his score on 37. Unfortunately the ball went straight to short mid-wicket, who took a stunning catch.

66/3 soon became 70/4 as debutant Ross Kennedy skied a slower ball to cover, and then started the roll. The two Rheeders – the younger sporting a smart new pair of glasses – took the score to 81 before Nico was bowled.

The last seven wickets then fell for just 20 runs as Jack someone-or-other took his third scalp, with two more to follow. Hannes Engelbrecht looked good for his second-ball duck, as did Charl Viljoen, who also failed to trouble the scorers.

Nicky eventually departed for a classy 11 – including one lovely lofted drive – before Wayne Boom Boom Moore picked out cover with his score on four, and another debutant, Thirsten, followed suit, leaving the confident Jakes Oberholzer stranded on 7 with eight overs to go.

So a paltry 102 all out, and Noordhoek set about it with some intent – and fortune. Paul was bowled second ball by Ryan, but the veteran Robbie and Herschelle Gibbs lookalike (looks wise, not batting) Elton put on a big partnership to all but take the game away from the Rollers.

Cue Nico Rheeder, whose combination of flighted leg-spin, fast deliveries and attempted stumpings at the non-striker’s end bamboozled the hosts. Slang eventually finished with 4/23 from his seven overs, dragging the Rollers back into the game.

Elton eventually departed for 46 (thanks to four dropped catches), before Jakes returned to pick up to quick sticks and Scooter another to leave Noordhoek at 72/9, still 30 runs adrift and in deep shit.

However, Ryan returned to bowl three rubbish overs, before their captain, Wesley, decided the game with two towering sixes off Scooter to seal a one-wicket win (notwithstanding the absolutely stone-dead LBW that was turned down two overs earlier).

Nonetheless, again we fell short in the batting, and once again we were made to pay for not managing to bat out 35 overs. It was something that was spoken about quite extensively afterwards at Red Herring over a few cold ones, and a new way forward which we will discuss at the end-of-season function.

Still, we have two games remaining in the season – against Fishhoek and MLS – as well as the tour, so plenty of time to finish 2009/10 on a high note.

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