The West Coast Rollers officially got their 2017/18 season underway this past weekend, travelling up the N7 to take on Citrusdal.
Expectations were perhaps not at its highest as we managed all of one net session between the match and the end of the last season, and quite a few of our regulars missing in action.
Our fears were further compounded when, on the Friday, we made the mistake of drinking brandy with opposing captain John Sinclair and some of the locals, with our star opening bowler in particular a bit brittle towards the end of the day.
But a few hangovers have never kept us off the field, and so we arrived at the Citrusdal Sports Club, a brilliant venue with all the facilities you could ever need.
John won the toss and opted to field on a brand new wicket, and it proved a decision of Bangladesh proportions as they soon found themselves in heaps of trouble.
Michael van Dewenter took the first wicket of the season — and then two more — while Cornell Keulder took another to leave the hosts reeling at 8/4 after six overs, with Big Mike in particular swinging it like a Waterkloof couple.
But any hopes of an early afternoon were dashed by a counter-attacking fourth-wicket stand between Dean Nigrini (61) and Albert du Plessies (29), who peppered cow corner to take the score to 99/4 at drinks.
However, the return of Cornell changed the game as he took 3/6 in three overs to finish with figures of 4/9 off his seven overs.
Spin twins Izak de Beer and Mark Haselau then wrapped up the tail as the Rollers were set 119 for victory.
And the reply got off to the prefect start as Ryan Cooper (62) and Nico Rheeder (11) put on 70 for opening wicket — Slang’s calming influence and years of experience keeping his slightly younger partner in check.
The two fell in quick succession, but any hopes of a Rollers ‘roll’ were put to bed by a flawless 45-run partnership between Neville Cooper (19*) and Hannes Moore (20*), back after many years in the wilderness in Springbok.
So a comfortable eight-wicket win to start with, and great fun was had in the fines session as the Rollers introduced Citrusdal to ‘The Hammer’.
A massive thanks to John and his team for the hospitality, hangovers and great food. We’ll definitely be back next season!
Ryan Cooper 62 (2×6, 10×4)
Nico Rheeder 11 (1×4)
Hannes Moore 20* (3×4)
Neville Cooper 19* (2×4)
TOTAL: 119/2 (22 overs)
Cornell Keulder 7-3-9-4
Michael van Dewenter 4-2-10-3
Duanne Louw 2-0-19-0
Hannes Moore 2-0-23-0
Nico Rheeder 2-0-34-0
Ryan Cooper 4-1-15-0
Izak de Beer 2-0-2-1
Mark Haselau 1-0-6-1