After two brilliant run-chases to secure victory against Somerset West and Claremont, the Rollers showed the other side of their game on Sunday against Gardens to secure a memorable and nail-biting two-run win.
On another blistering hot day in Cape Town, we were asked to take first strike on a ground where we hadn’t lost in many, many years.
And the start seemed to suggest that another big total would be on the cards. After Ryan Cooper’s purple patch came to an early end, bowled for just seven, Hannes Carlson and Neville Cooper took to the bowling in some style.
Casper – “only a legside hacker”, according to some tit from Gardens – played an aggressive innings to put the hosts on the backfoot, while Neville showed glimpses of what we have come to expect every weekend, smashing two huge sixes en route to 32.
The two put on 55 for the second wicket before Neville was trapped plumb in front, but that hardly meant an end to the carnage as Hannes Moore took over the mantle, playing some elegant shots as he notched up 33 – and the Rollers reached 90/2 at drinks.
But Casper’s retirement brought about a spectacular Rollers ‘roll’, with none of the last five batsmen reaching double figures as Gardens veteran Dave ripped through the battling line-up. He eventually finished with 5-18 from his six overs as we only managed 157.
Still, given the nature of the pitch and the bowlers at our disposal, we were pretty confident of defending the below-par total.
Gardens though, had different ideas and their two openers really took to the bowling, putting on 71 runs for the first wicket to put their team firmly in the driving seat.
Cue a fantastic spell from Cornell Keulder. Captain Hannes Engelbrecht unleashed the Tasmanian Devil at the perfect time as he tore through the top order, removing both openers in a spell of 7-2-28-3.
Casper was also doing the business at the other end, but Gardens were still odds-on favourites. However, some more clever changes from Haas turned the game as Ryan and Jacques Laubscher found the pitch to their liking and got among the wickets.
Still, with three overs and two wickets remaining, Gardens needed just seven runs. Scooter turned his golden arm one more time, picking up Ebert, meaning the hosts needed four to win with one wicket in hand.
Clive clipped one off his legs for two, but the Rollers had the last laugh as Ryan swung one back in which clipped the top of offstump.
It was a great site seeing all the players rushing in from across the field to celebrate this famous two-run win – and the victories continued in the fines sessions afterwards, the Rollers winning the down-downs 6-3.