The Rollers’ final preparations for the Golden Oldies tournament next week could not have gone worse – losing by a massive 104 runs to Claremont Gents in Constantia on Sunday.
As has been our problem for most of the season, runs were again lacking – and this on arguably the best pitch and outfield in all of the FCA.
The Rollers suffered a blow on the eve of the encounter when our strike bowler Cornell Keulder withdrew – something about a one-year anniversary or some such bullshit excuse.
And his absence showed early on against a strong Gents top four, who made the most of the conditions to race out of the blocks.
Following the early dismissal of Mark (2), Bertie ‘Parnell’ and Bruce Sharp got stuck into the bowling, with only Michael van Dewenter (6-1-20-2) escaping the early carnage.
Jacques Laubscher – on the day of his 29th wedding anniversary – was brought on to stem the tide and struck in his second over when he had Bruce caught behind for 23 but, if anything, it made matters worse as Andrew Stone strode to wicket and found the middle of the bat from the word go.
Stoney and Bertie tore into the bowling attack and at one stage 300 was very much on, but the introduction of Claude Louw into the attack restored some parity.
He ran through the middle and late order to eventually finish with brilliant figures of 5/39 in his seven overs and ‘restrict’ the Gents to 222.
The Rollers actually felt pretty confident about reaching the target given the conditions, especially having chased down 270-odd in 32 overs at the venue a few years ago.
But there was to be no repeat of those heroics as a steady procession of wickets meant we never built any momentum.
Ryan Cooper top scored with 37, while Andrew Young (15), Claude Louw (14) and George Kamfer (11) also managed double figures.
A special word of mention to the Gents bowlers who showed what can be done with disciplined bowling, no matter how good the pitch. Their fielding was also of an exceptionally high level.
And, as always, a brilliant time was had afterwards with Richard Gill and his team, with Gary having us in stitches with his post-match performance.
So onto the Golden Oldies we go next week where we will hopefully show the three Aussie sides what we are made of. After that we have one more match scheduled against Elgin.