Always a highly-anticipated fixture for Groot Drak is the occasional visit by the Forty Club from the UK.
After the visitors were stuck on the N1 for over 2 hours, the game’s start was delayed by an hour. Mercifully, the game was also reduced to 35 overs from the intended 40, which was a blessing because of the scorching heat!
The Forty Club were asked to bat first and against a rare new-ball combo of Craig McNaught and Jacques Viljoen.
Craig picked up two wickets for 13 runs from 5 overs, while Jacques was forced to bowl his quota, finishing with 1 wicket for 47 runs from his 7.
Ian Rippongal was dropped on 0, which proved costly as he went on to score 79 from 71 before being bowled by Claude Chantler, who claimed 2 wickets for 27 from his 7 over spell.
Angus Simmers kept things very tidy with his offies, going for 23 from his 6 overs, while debutants Darren Pilz (1 for 24 from 2) and Paul Hogginbottom (0 for 29 from 2) tried to wash off the rust while donating some big runs.
Groot Drak’s secret weapon, Bruce Taylor, was saved for the end of the innings and bowled a really impressive 6 over spell, claiming 3 wickets for just 22 runs – without a doubt the pick of the bowlers.
The Forty Club managed 4 ducks in their innings, but still got to a competitive total of 188 for 9 from their 35 over allotment.
After a quick gourment roll and some hydration, our guests saluted the flag and headed out to bowl.
Christo la Grange and Angus Simmers were tasked with opening the batting for Groot Drak and were resolute in their defense, handling the new ball with aplomb. Both batters timed their innings to perfection and took the Drakies to the first drinks break without losing a wicket. Christo managed 41 from 39 before being stumped just short of his first 50, while Angus retired on 50 from 63, bringing Bruce Taylor and Shayne Ayford to the crease.
Shayne smahsed a quick 20 from 16, followed by Darren Pilz and Claude Chantler who were both dismissed quickly.
Paul Hogginbottom only had to face one ball to knock off the winning runs, leaving Bruce Taylor, who batted brilliantly, stranded on 47 at the non-striker’s end. Bruce did more than enough to earn himself ‘Man-of-the-match’ for Groot Drak.
A particularly humourous fines meeting was enjoyed after a dip in the pool, before both teams donned their dinner gear and enjoyed a lovely lamb on the spit with some red wine. Some wonderful memories and friends were made before having to say goodbye to the Forties, while wishing them well on the rest of their tour.
We hope to see them back very, very soon!
Match report by Craig McNaught