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Rollers throw it away vs Groot Drak

The Rollers’ up-and-down season continued apace on Sunday as we yet again lost a game when a win seemed a sure thing – this time against Groot Drakenstein.

On a beautiful – if slightly hot – day in Franschhoek, the Rollers were ‘told’ to bat on a wicket that had a bit in it for their enthusiastic and pacey Boland Under-19 player Reeve Cyster.

The youngster cleaned up Cornell Keulder (9) with a peach of an inswinging yorker, before George ‘Kallis’ Kamfer (0) was stumped by Bruce Taylor, whose floating leg-spinners would have made the late Graham ‘Boom Boom’ Wilson proud.

Gerrit Esterhuizen went in a similar fashion, leaving the Rollers struggling at 30/3 after 14 overs, but ‘roadblock’ Tim Sant and Michael van Dewenter set about restoring the innings, putting on 40 runs for the fourth wicket before the latter was bowled by Enrico Jacobs for 18.

Ryan Cooper joined Tim at the wicket and took the score to 100 before the Pommie holed out to mid-on for 49 – a pulled hammie forcing him to chase the boundaries.

Neville Cooper strode to the wicket and added another 60 in double-quick time before Ryan was caught at backward point for 51. A few late wickets slowed the scoring, but Neville’s unbeaten 29 still meant the Rollers posted an imposing 181/9.

Groot Drak gave their Boland Boy first strike with his flashy new bat, but he didn’t use much of it in the opening few overs as Cornell gave him a proper working over, arguably bowling some of the fastest deliveries ever seen in the Friendly Cricketers’ Association.

He was backed up at the other end by Andrew Young’s accurate bowling which accounted for the other opener, as well as two runs outs – one a direct hit from debutant Francois Sieberts.

The hosts were well behind the run-rate but, to his credit, the young opener stuck around (helped by some awful ground fielding and blind referees when the ball hit his pads) and guided his side towards victory. He and Angus Simmers put on 50 for the fourth wicket, and another half-century stand with Michael McCourt all but secured the game.

The Rollers managed to take the game into the final over, but a calamity of errors on the second ball (I could go into detail, but the wounds have not yet healed for my friend Andrew Young) gave Franchhoek a deserved win.

So two more games to go, including this Sunday against the old enemy … Neil Watson and his WPCC side.

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