As if we needed more reason to hate the English, the Rollers’ recent winning run was brought to an abrupt end by one man as Groot Drak romped to a five-wicket victory in Franschhoek on Sunday.
Playing the first game of the year and under the expert leadership skills of new captain Hannes Engelbrecht, the Rollers headed into the game in confident mood after successive victories against Gardens and WPCC.
The mood was further boosted when we saw a 15-year-old opening the bowling, but that soon came crashing down when the in-form Neville Cooper was sent packing fourth ball by the Justin Bieber lookalike.
The new skipper took it upon himself to rectify the situation and together with Louis Pretorius put on a 44-run partnership for the second wicket. But both Haas (21) and Louis (18) departed within a few balls of each other and, with Hannes Carlson (6), Nico Rheeder (8), Hannes Moore (8) and Cornell Keulder (2) falling in quick succession, the Rollers were precariously placed at 96/7.
Former captain Ryan Cooper and Jakes Oberholzer then combined for a 64-run partnership, with ‘Coach’ smashing the bowling to all parts to finish on a quick-fire 32. Ryan finished unbeaten on 62 and Jacques Laubscher on 5 as the visitors reached a very competitive 174/8.
Confidence was up, especially after four overs with the visitors struggling on 9/1 after a Cornell near broke the opener’s toe with a inswinging Yorker which made a mess of the stumps.
Enter Hugh Jones, some Pommie who is playing for Coronations’ first team. After seeing off some Cornell thunderbolts, he quickly showed his class, especially his strength on the leg-side, in sending the Rollers to all parts.
Ryan came on and got the other opener (remarkably caught by Neville), while Casper accounted for some youngster who thought he could smash him over the top into the blistering south-easter.
Jones was still making merry, but the wicket of former Boland player Elton Buziak (LBW to Cornell for a duck – one of four LBWs on the day) gave the Rollers a sniff of victory.
However, the Englishman had the last laugh, finishing on 91 not out as Groot Drak got the runs with six overs to spare.
So the game was lost, but again the Rollers won the post-match activities – boosting bar sales until near midnight when we finally decided to call it a day.
So not the ideal start for the new captain, but an opportunity to bounce back this Sunday against Squirrels.