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Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory

It’s been one of those seasons for the West Coast Rollers – either we thoroughly destroy the opposition, or we suffer the closest of defeats.

Unfortunately, Sunday once again proved to be one of the latter – managing to lose a game in which we held the upperhand for most of it.

The lucky recipients of our capitulation this time was Old Mutual – a side we have not lost to in eight years. Admittedly, their victory had an air of controversy about it, but regardless, we should have wrapped this one up earlier.

Playing at the new home ground in Constantia, Mutual offered the Rollers the toss and we decided to bat on a second day wicket with one particular bad patch just back of a length.

Not that it seemed to bother our openers, Neville Cooper and the babelaas Jakes Oberholzer too much. They put on 48 for the first wicket, with Neville continuing his rich vein of form to race to 27 before he chipped a catch to midwicket.

Jakes followed soon after for 19, skipper Hannes Engelbrecht was run out by Ryan Cooper for just five, and Hannes Carlson got a jaffer off the above-mentioned patch to be caught behind for two, leaving the Rollers at 60/3.

Ryan was joined by Andrew Young, playing just his second game for the team, and together they set about restoring the innings with some aggressive running on the MCG-size field. An indication of that was that just seven boundaries were hit in a partnership of 100.

Ryan eventually retired on an unbeaten 52, with Youngster departing for a well-played 42. Cornell Keulder added 11 as the Rollers posted a very competitive 168/7.

The Mutual openers did a great job in keeping out some hostile bowling from Cornell, but they were helpless against what was to follow.

With Jakes taking the opening wicket and keeping things tight at the other end, Casper weaved his magic in a great spell which saw him end up with 5/28 in his seven overs.

Unfortunately, there was not too much coming from the other bowlers, with the exception of Nicky Rheeder, who bowled four tight overs to finish with 1/23.

So Mutual needed six per over with four wickets left in the last 10 overs, but the Rollers were confident of defending that, especially with Colin McGaw, who had been smashing us around for most of the afternoon, soon to retire on 50.

But there came the controversial bit – apparently a ‘miscommunication’ between the skippers meant that they supposedly did NOT retire at 50, so Colin went on to take the game away from the Rollers. Going into the last over needing seven to win, he knocked it off in three balls for a famous victory for his side.

So a bit of a sour taste in the mouth given the circumstances of the win, but a great game nevertheless. And, as always, Gary Smith and his team thoroughly entertained us afterwards with some boerie rolls, cold beers and good stories.

It has been proposed that we try and fit in two games against Mutual next season – something everyone seemed really keen on. Providing we draw up the rules of the game beforehand…

So next game is against Scorpions in two weeks’ time, followed by the tour the weekend after that.

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