On Saturday the 29th of February, Groot Drak were visited by the seniors from Surrey.
Kindly honouring the Groot Drak tradition of batting first on what looked like a great pitch, the Surrey lads padded up and got the game underway.
Craig McNaught (0/19 from 7) and Colin Myburgh (2/12 from 8) opened the bowling, both keeping the batsmen very quiet. Colin picked up both the openers for 3 a piece, putting immediate pressure on the visitors.
Newcomer, Brendan van Zyl picked up a wicket coming on first change for 21 from his 5 overs, while Matthew Tracey made his welcome return to the club and bowled 4 overs for 24. Handro Slabber toiled hard in his 5 overs – bowling well for 28 runs. Robbie Izzard (0/28 from 4) also joined in on the action, bowling some very tidy away swing in his spell.
Wickets were hard to come by in the middle overs, but Surrey had not yet experienced Groot Drak’s secret weapon, The Bruce.
While a touch expensive, Bruce Taylor (5/53 from 7) managed to deceive plenty of batters, snatching a five-for from the last ball of the innings, with a sharp stumping from keeper, Jono Boulton. It could easily have been 7 wickets, if a few more chances had been taken in the field, but this is friendly cricket after all.
Surrey had posted 193 for victory from their 40 over allotment.
A quick lunch break and Surrey were ready to salute the flag with the mandatory Brandy shot to lubricate the joints before taking the field once again.
A promising start from Colin Myburgh saw 3 balls from the first over get dispatched to the boundary, before missing a straight one, precipitating a top order collapse from Groot Drak, with Paul Higginbottom (6 from 8), Jono Boulton (8 from 22) and Darren Pilz (0 from 3) departing far too early in the game.
Matthew Tracey looked like he hadn’t in fact taken an 8 year break from cricket as he blitzed a very valuable 38 from 29 in an attempt to stabilize the innings somewhat. Craig McNaught joined him at the crease and was determined to not give his wicket away.
Morne Landman got bowled past the outside edge for a duck, bringing Bruce Taylor to the crease to join the skipper.
Bruce played an out-of-character innings, showing great restraint from the good balls and punishing the loose deliveries. Bruce scored a very well-played 30 from 36 before opposing skipper, Ken Mead (6/22), brought himself back in to the attack and trapped Bruce LBW. Ken would go on to wrap up the innings, claiming Rob Izzard, Brendan van Zyl and Handro Slabber for ducks, leaving Craig McNaught stranded on 56 not out at the other end.
Groot Drak were bowled out 31 runs short of victory in what could have been a much tighter game had there not been 5 ducks from the Drakies, as there were still 10 overs left in the innings! However, the bowling from Surrey was just too good!
Both teams enjoyed a quick beer on the pitch before retiring to the clubhouse for some highly entertaining fines. After a lovely quintessential South African braai, the captains shared a last word of thanks, a few glasses of wine and some memorabilia to close out what was a hugely enjoyable day for all involved.
We look forward to hosting the wonderful men (and ladies!) from Surrey again in the very near future!
Man of the Match: Bruce Taylor (Groot Drak), Ken Mead (Surrey Over 50s)
TFC: Morne Landman
Match report by Craig McNaught