It was a tense affair on Sunday as the the West Coast Rollers travelled to Somerset West to take on the Oaks in a match that ended in a tie, but could have gone either way right to the last ball.
Rollers skipper Hannes ‘Cassie’ Carlson won the toss and elected to bat on a slow, low deck, and despite some excellent bowling by Oaks’ openers – in particular left-arm seamer Biff – he and opening partner Neville Cooper set a solid base; the latter falling for 19 while the skipper was out caught for 44 off a full-bunger bowled by a relieved Bobby Londt.
Claude ‘Medic’ Louw (17), Andrew ‘Bruce Banner’ Young (14) and Cornell ‘Mr Cricket’ Keulder (22) all made handy contributions in the middle overs, with James ‘Die Prokureur’ Lamprecht (19*) and Hannes ‘Kepler’ Moore (10*) playing some fine attacking shots to close out the Rollers’ innings for 166.
With an ‘above par’ but not-unachievable target, the Rollers’ bowlers (down one cylinder due to the absence of Ryan ‘I’m In New York’ Cooper) knew that disciplined lines and lengths were required.
Mr Cricket (0/22 in 7) and Big Mike van Dewenter (1/29 in 7) didn’t disappoint, restricting the Oaks’ opening pair of Ally Simpson (24) and Jacques to 3.3 an over, with first change bowlers Medic Louw (2/28 in 7) and Steamtrain Moore (1/27 in 7) bowling excellent spells to keep the pressure on.
At drinks the odds were definitely in favour of the Rollers – Oaks were sitting on just 57 runs, needing a further 110 for victory at a testing 6 runs per over.
To balance things, however, was the fact that despite a few half-chances, the Oaks still had 9 wickets in the bank…
Post-drinks the fun really started – some regular wickets (D Saayman for 4 and J Senekal for 6), excellent catching by Young and Keulder, and sharp fielding all round prevented the Oaks from building any momentum.
But two problems loomed for the visitors…
Firstly, despite some balls going nearly to hand (or in the case of Izak ‘Yitzchak’ De Beer and Mark ‘Hoff’ Haselau – to hand and then to ground), Oaks’ opener Jacques passed 50 and started to look ominous, while skipper Bobby Londt played with freedom from the outset to mount a sturdy assault on the target of 167.
Secondly, in the absence of Ryan ‘I’m In New York’ Cooper, the Rollers needed to find a solution to the 7-over void the aforementioned normally fulfills from one end…
Cometh the hour, cometh a procession of bowlers who struggled for line and length…
Ruan ‘Jack Rabbit’ de Jongh (0/18 in 2), Hoff (0/15 in 1) and Cassie (0/14 in 1) were unable to contain the runs, with Oaks now confidently bearing down on the target despite losing opener Jacques for 65 to an excellent catch in the deep by Mr Cricket off the bowling of Big Mike.
With 3 overs to go and Oaks needing just 18 runs, veteran but retired seamer ‘Bruce Banner’ Young – who hadn’t bowled a ball in anger since last season – made an on-the-spur decision to request the ball, prompting Oaks’ skipper Bobby to say, “Just don’t go and take three wickets now, hey…”.
Young’s first over produced his first wicket for just 5 runs, with the penultimate over a pearler by part-timer De Beer, who conceded just 5 runs to leave the Oaks needing 8 off the last over, and skipper Londt on strike…
Two runs and two singles off the first 3 balls of the final over brought Bob back on strike, and needing 4 off 3 balls, the skipper holed out to deep long off with a fine diving catch by Mr Cricket Keulder for an excellent 48.
With 2 balls to go, 4 runs needed and the danger batsman gone it seemed everything was falling into place for the Rollers. Another wicket off the fifth ball (Juan bowled for 7) seemed to seal the deal, but alas it was not to be…
A leg-side ‘wide’ closed the deficit to 3 runs needed for victory, and with Oaks’ veteran Frosty ever calm at the crease, two leg byes off the re-bowled last ball brought the scores level and a fair conclusion to an excellent match.
As always the game was played in excellent spirit, with the usual boerie rolls and great fines rounding off a brilliant day out in the sunshine. Many thanks to Bob and the team, we look forward to seeing you again next season!
Hannes Carlson 44 (4×4) Neville Cooper 19 (2×4) Claude Louw 17 (1×4) Andrew Young 14 (1×6) Cornell Keulder 22 (1×4, 1×6) James Lamprecht 19* (2×4) Hannes Moore 10* (1×4) Extras: 22 TOTAL: 166/5 after 35 overs
Cornell Keulder 7-3-22-0 Mike van Dewenter 7-0-29-1 Claude Louw 7-0-28-2 Hannes Moore 7-0-27-1 Ruan de Jongh 2-0-18-0 Mark Haselau 1-0-15-0 Hannes Carlson 1-0-14-0 Andrew Young 2-0-12-3 Izak de Beer 1-0-5-0