If there’s one fixture that draws particular attention from the Rollers at the start of every season, it’s the game against Western Province Cricket Club.
We’ve been playing Neil Watson and his troops for the better part of a decade now and, much like a Bulls vs Stormers game, bragging rights is foremost in the mind.
So it was with some excitement that we made the trip down to WPCC on Sunday, where we were met by a blustery wind and a difficult pitch with inconsistent bounce.
Still, the Rollers decided to take first strike and Andrew Young and Ryan Cooper took the cautious approach to start with, crawling our way to 62 at drinks, with Andrew getting his first run after 7.2 overs!
However, with wickets in the bag the two set out to up the rate, getting to 126 before Andrew was caught in the deep for a well-played 40.
The say ‘one brings two’, and that was again the case when Ryan (79) hit a short ball straight to cover with a 100 beckoning. Still, he managed to break a long-standing Rollers record of 490 runs in a season.
From 126/0 we crumbled to 154/5 as Michael van Dewenter (6), Hennie de Villiers (1) and Hannes Carlson (13) went in quick succession – Big Mike not only losing his wicket, but very nearly his manhood as well after being struck a painful blow on his middle-stump.
However, as he has done so often this season, Cornell Keulder came to the rescue with a brisk – if not lucky – 29, which included a first-ball six over extra-cover, and into the wind.
Along with debutant Phil Coetsee (11*) he took the score to 189, while consecutive first-ballers for Ruan de Jongh and Francois Siebrits meant a great five-for for WPCC’s Ian Fraser.
The hosts’ hope of achieving the 190 for victory took a huge blow while in the field – leading scorer Shane Eglinton taken to hospital with a broken finger.
Their task was made even tougher by some excellent new ball bowling and sharp fielding, with Cornell stingy as always with his 5-1-9-0, while Claude Louw bowled brilliantly into the strong wind to finish with 2/32 in his seven overs.
Andrew Young continued the trend with a great spell of 1/15 in his five overs, while Jacques Laubscher followed suit, picking up 1/29 in his six.
And any thoughts WPCC had of an unlikely victory were erased when Casper bought himself on to bowl, getting the dangerous Kitshoff out for 27 in his first over to eventually finish with 3/21.
Two run-outs sealed the deal before Siebrits bowled Neil for a breezy 14 to leave the hosts all out for 133.
So a comfortable 56-run win for the Rollers, and once again a great time had socialising afterwards. Thanks again Neil and your team for a very enjoyable day.