In sport, as in life, there is a first time for everything. On Sunday, the Rollers recorded three in one day en route to a famous six-wicket victory over Somerset West.
On arguably the hottest day this writer has ever endured on a field, Ryan Cooper managed the first individual hundred for the Rollers, Nico Rheeder held onto his first catch of the season, and Neville Cooper had his first ‘old person’s injury’.
With the mercury passing 40 and Murphy’s Law dictating that the wind, for once, decided to bypass this hellhole, stand-in captain Neville (because regular skipper Hannes Engelbrecht showed up eight overs late) lost the toss and we were put into the field.
That said, it all started well enough as Hannes Moore and Andrew Young kept it tight in the first few overs, with Kepler getting the first wicket when Dewalt straight drove the ball to mid-on, where Slang looked composure personified to hang onto a sharp catch.
Most of the Rollers were still in a sense of disbelief when the second wicket went down; Andrew rewarded for a good spell by having John caught behind for a big round zero.
Speaking of big and round, that’s when our problems started. SM (yip, really) and debutant JP (team of abbreviations) put on a 45-run partnership for the first wicket before Hannes Carlson held onto a sharp catch off his own bowling to send the latter packing for 32.
Casper eventually finished with excellent figures of 1/19 in his seven overs – an amazing achievement considering the carnage around him.
SM was joined by the even bigger Leslie, and these two burly boys took a liking to all the bowling, putting on 70 for the fifth wicket before Kepler picked up his second wicket to finish with a very good 2/33 in seven overs.
Still, the Rollers were set a very imposing 199 to win in 35 overs.
Nicky Rheeder and Neville opened the batting, but after just two balls the senior Cooper was limping down the wicket – apparently at his age you pull quad muscles. He was out soon after for four.
Ryan joined Nicky at the crease and put on 50 for the second wicket, with the latter building on his good form at Kelvin Grove before smashing one straight to Leslie at cover, heading back to the stands for an aggressive 32.
Casper was well caught behind for 10 before Ryan and Andrew got into the swing of things, putting on another 50-run stand. Andrew was run out for 15 with the score on 150, leaving the Rollers needing 49 off the last six overs.
Ryan was joined at the crease by Haas, and together they ran the fielders ragged; to the point where we needed just four runs off the last over to win. With five balls remaining, that target was down to one, but then flashbacks of Allan Donald and Lance Klusener at the 1999 World Cup.
However, after three dot balls Haas held his nerve to paddle one around to short fine-leg, leading the team to victory with one ball to spare. Ryan finished unbeaten on 113 to record the first-ever century for the Rollers.
Next game up is a goodie … against Claremont Gents at Constantia on February 19.