It’s always counted among one of our toughest and most exciting games, and Saturday’s encounter against Scorpions again lived up to expectations as the Rollers secured a five-wicket victory with four balls to spare.
Having lost last weekend’s match against Squirrels with two balls remaining, it looked like another defeat was looming as the hosts posted a daunting 207/4 in their 35 overs, but Ryan Cooper’s century eventually got the Rollers over the line.
Having lost the toss and been asked to bowl first, there was some uncharacteristic sloppiness in our fielding as two catches went down in first 10 overs, adding to some loose bowling which was duly punished on a flat wicket and quick outfield.
Scorpions’ two openers put on 71 for the first wicket before Jakes Oberholzer struck – just reward for an incredible spell which eventually finished 7-2-18-1.
Francois Geldenhuys got their number 3 batsman out without a run being added to the total but, just as we thought we were back in the game, our old nemesis Bennie Liebenberg strode to the crease and immediately got stuck into the bowling.
He hit the fourth ball he faced into the distillery and added another three big ones before a brilliant run out from Jakes ended his innings on 64. Cornell Keulder (7-1-20-1) got the other opener for 72 with a delivery which nearly took Neville Cooper’s head off, but a quickfire 37 from Riaan Gerber Jnr got Scorpions over the 200-mark.
Some Lotto manipulation saw Ryan and Bernie Nel open the batting and they took the score to 22 before the latter, with his left hamstring gone and his right quad muscle on its way, was caught at mid-on for 14.
Neville (8) came in and hit a few out the middle, but then picked out the only fielder (and one with busted fingers) in a 130 degree radius, before Michael van Dewenter was gunned LBW for a well-played 13.
With 13 overs remaining the Rollers had not yet managed to get to triple figures, but the release over came shortly afterwards when Ryan smashed 20 off the opening bowler to set the charge on its way.
Francois (12) and Cornell (14) scored some quick runs, but we still needed 55 off the last six overs. However, Ryan was starting to find the middle of the bat and we managed to score 11, 10, 4, 10 and 13 off five successive overs, leaving us needing five off the last six balls.
Tim Sant dropped the ball for a quick single, and Ryan hooked the next ball for four as the Rollers secured a memorable five-wicket victory, with Ryan finished unbeaten on 133.
Bernie Nel 14 (2×4) Ryan Cooper 133* (8×4, 6×6) Neville Cooper 8 Michael van Dewenter 13 (1×4) Francois Geldenhuys 12 (1×4) Cornell Keulder 14 (1×6) Tim Sant 5 *
Extras 9 TOTAL 208/5
Andrew Young 7-1-52-0 Cornell Keulder 7-1-20-1 Ryan Cooper 5-0-41-0 Jakes Oberholzer 7-2-18-1 Francois Geldenhuys 4-1-27-1 Jacques Laubscher 4-0-34-0 Michael van Dewenter 1-0-6-0