The Rollers’ winning start to the 2018/19 season came to an abrupt end on Saturday following an eight-wicket defeat to Scorpions at Distell.
The men from Stellenbosch beat us time and again in the early days of our involvement in the FCA, but for the last few years the Rollers had been chipping away at that lead.
Some of the games have been mighty close, like last year when, chasing 100 for victory, we slumped to 60-odd for nine, yet still won by one wicket.
There was no such sphincter-clenching this time around though, with Scorpions dominating from start to a very swift end.
Batting first, Neville Cooper (4) elegantly cut the first ball to the boundary, but four quick wickets – Michael van Dewenter (5), Hannes Carlson (1) and Johann Roux (0) – left us floundering at 18/4.
However, Claude Louw made a welcome return to the side and, along with dad-to-be Cornell Keulder, put on an easy-on-the-eye 55-run partnership for the fifth wicket.
Cornell (27) and Tom Stapylton-Smith (0) then went in quick succession, before Claude was caught for 34 to leave the Rollers at 106/7.
However, some late-order heroics from James Lamprecht (17), Hannes Moore (18), Mark Haselau (5) and Ryan Cooper (15*) ensured we scraped our way to 149 – not a great target, but at least something to bowl at.
But it very quickly became apparent that 150 was not going to be enough. After Johan van Tonder limped off with a hamstring injury, Danie van Tonder and Nico Ras set about the bowling with some vigour.
They took the score to 64 before Tom (2/25) bowled Danie (26) and Wayde (1) in quick succession, but Nico was in no mood for niceties and duly smashed us all over the park.
He finished unbeaten on 73, and along with Hayden Trollip (27*) cruised past the victory target with some time to spare.
A tough loss on the Rollers, but as always good times were enjoyed after the game. Special shoutout to Riaan van der Rheede who popped round for a beer – good luck with the SA team!
Batting Neville Cooper 4 (1×4) Michael van Dewenter 5 (1×4) Hannes Carlson 1 Johann Roux 0 Claude Louw 34 (2×4) Cornell Keulder 27 (5×4) Tom Stapylton-Smith 0 James Lamprecht 17 (2×4) Hannes Moore 18 (2×4) Mark Haselau 5 (1×4) Ryan Cooper 15* (2×4)
Extras: 13 TOTAL: 149/10 (34 overs)
Bowling Ryan Cooper 4-0-20-0 Michael van Dewenter 4-0-15-0 Cornell Keulder 4-0-18-0 Tom Stapylton-Smith 4-1-25-2 Hannes Carlson 4-0-29-0 James Lamprecht 3-0-20-0 Mark Haselau 0.4-0-13-0