After a disappointing loss and nail-biting tie in their previous two games, the Rollers returned to winning ways on Sunday with a hard-fought 23-run win against Cape Town Cricket Club.
On a blustery day at the legendary Boon Wallace Oval, the visitors won the toss and opted to bat on a wicket which had some variable bounce, hoping to avenge a big loss the year before.
The early signs were not encouraging though – after six overs we were 29/3, with George Kamfer (2), Cornell Keulder (7) and Francois Geldenhuys (0) all back in the hut.
But our new specialist batsman, Andrew Young, joined the veteran Jakes Oberholzer at the crease and got the ship back on track with an excellent 70-run fourth-wicket partnership.
‘Bruce’ was eventually dismissed for 31, but ‘Coach’ showed all the experience in the world to keep batting on a difficult wicket, mixing some solid defence with aggressive hitting over the top to eventually finish on an unbeaten 52.
However, a middle-order collapse which included Neville Cooper (14), Ryan Cooper (3) and Claude Louw (1) meant we ended up at least 30 runs short on 145/7 after the 35 overs.
Up against a strong opening partnership of Ritchie and Thornton, the Rollers needed something special, and Cornell provided with a fiery spell of bowling that was as quick as anything seen in the FCA.
Ritchie copped a bouncer on the helmet, leading to some chirps and questionable calls from the square-leg umpire but, true to form, the batsman told said umpire to ‘fuck off, we play hard on the field and drink hard off it’.
His comment commendable, he soon saw his middle-stump flying courtesy of Cornell (7-0-20-2), but Thornton and Roger Moult were resilient, taking the score to 79 before the wheels started coming off.
Claude (7-1-14-1) got Thornton caught at midwicket and Eadie spooned a fulltoss from Coach (6-1-25-1) to short-cover, before Roger became the first of three run-outs, departing for a gutsy 31.
Former Koeberg CC man Melloks (26) fought a lone middle-order battle, but some tight bowling, with Jacques Laubscher (2/22) particularly impressive, and sharp fielding meant CTCC finished well short of the target.
Beaten on the field, the hosts then showed us a thing or two about fines in a massively entertaining session (‘But we’re not here for that …’). To Roger and his team, thanks again for the great hospitality afterwards – looking forward to next year!
Rollers, we have one more fixture before Christmas – next week against Bellville Willows.