Catches win matches, the old adage goes, and that certainly held true in the Rollers’ first game of the season, away to Franschhoek.
Like a kid expecting an Xbox for Christmas and only getting underwear and socks, it proved a massive letdown, especially as we had posted a fairly competitive total and started our defence reasonably well.
As is in the norm at Groot Drak, the visitors were asked to bat first – and on a beautiful track as well. The first lotto draw of the season provided a few shocks as Neville and Scooter’s pre-game ‘arrangement’ of getting the number two ball failed to work out. Instead, Neville drew 10 … but still ended up opening the batting.
Joining him was Shaun Terblanche, who managed just two before a rush of blood saw him run down the track and sky the ball to mid-off. Neville started well enough, pulling two boundaries off the second over, but then struggled against Andrew Stamper, their very good left-arm opening bowler, who eventually produced a peach of a yorker to send the older Cooper back to the hut for 23.
Casper was in at 4 but almost managed just two before skying one to the keeper, before Ryan and Haas put on 62 for the fourth wicket, with just 14 coming by way of boundaries. Ryan eventually departed for 51, holing out to long-off.
Haas and Charl Viljoen provided some laughs with their calling between the wickets before both fell in quick succession – Charl for a career-best 11, while Haas fought hard and didn’t time many in his 26.
But if Haas was struggling to find the middle of the bat, Wayne ‘Boom Boom’ Moore had no such worries. After chalking his first and missing his second, he went about his merry way and carted a quickfire 22, including two big sixes over ‘cow corner’. The second one even drew a smile from the big man himself, with him saying “I quite liked that one”.
Casper ended his knock with a bit of ‘gun smoking’, while Slang perished in the cause as he was out for one.
Total, 155 … not great, but very defendable.
It started well enough, with the Cooper brothers keeping the runs down, though an early drop catch by Wayne Moore (while Scooter lost the ball with his 50 Cent shades on) proved a precursor of what was to come.
Ryan Goslett got the first wicket of the new season by means of a brilliant run-out, but not before the other opener – a nice enough gentleman, but not a particularly good bat – was dropped twice on his way to 45.
Still, they were well behind the run-rate and about five down when Elton Buzier strode to the wicket. A former Northerns B player, he bliksemed seven shades of shit out of us en route to a quick-fire 47 not out, effectively taking the game away from us.
Suffice to say, he was dropped along the way – one of six on the day, as well as a missed stumping from Ryan Cooper, who was behind the stumps after pulling his hammie – further indication that he has now well and truly taken over the team’s ‘medic’ tag.
Special mention to Scooter, who bowled a brilliant spell of 7-0-27-3.
So a five-wicket defeat to start the season with, but the Rollers again won in the social stakes, with basically the whole side remaining while the opposition faded. We also had a classy bit of stumps from debutant Dan Neethling, washed down with a lovely Jeripico from a plastic bottle. Classy.
A big thanks to Wilhelm, aka Bladerunner, for some more great hospitality, keeping Ryan and Casper liquored until the late evening.
Next game is this Sunday against Kelvin Grove – time to get back to winning ways.