On Sunday the 20th of November, Groot Drakenstein hosted Coastal Strikers for the home team’s fourth league game of the season. Both teams arrived at the ground looking fit and energetic for what promised to be a great day of cricket and sunshine.
As per the long-standing tradition, the visitors were asked to bat on an expertly-prepared pitch by the groundsman and barkeep, Vitalis.
A nervous start from the opening batters saw very few runs on the board before the first wicket fell. The opening bowlers, Roydon Adams (0/13 off 4) and Craig McNaught (2/11 off 6), were assisted by the breeze in getting some lateral movement, not allowing the batsmen to free their arms during the day’s opening spell. Two new inductees to the club, Hennie Bosman (0/10 off 5) and Devin Whelan (1/9 off 2) were asked to replace the openers and kept the batsmen under constant pressure, forcing a loose shot and a spectacular caught-and-bowled effort from debutant, Whelan.
At drinks, Coastal Strikers had only managed 48 runs, but had plenty of wickets in hand – crucial when looking to accelerate and post a big total at Groot Drak. The spinners, Jaco Swarts (2/10 off 6) and Angus Simmers, bowled in tandem to continue the strangle, while aided tremendously by an inspired fielding unit. Two remarkable, diving catches at cow corner from Roydon Adams (both worthy nominees for ‘catch-of-the-season’ thus far), allowed Simmers to bag a hugely influential five-wicket-haul, finishing with 5 for 16 off 6. This was followed by some smart work behind the sticks from Jono Boulton, resulting in two stumpings, as the visiting side collapsed to 78 runs all out.
It looked like an achievable target, but, as we’ve seen at the club many times before, any runs on the board require good batting to be chased down.
After a short lunch break, Gary Seaman (12 off 16) and Jaco Swarts (28 retired off 16) put on a blistering opening stand, which caused the visiting team to chop-and-change their bowlers, preventing any chance of settling down. Mark Kirstein (24 off 17), watched by Andrew McNaught (4 off 12), played some great cricket shots to end the game with a convincing win for Drak, who reached the 78 run target in just the 10th over.
Although the game was ended somewhat prematurely, a deserved drink on the pitch and a swim after the game had both teams ready to face the inevitably gruelling fines meeting in good spirits. There was plenty of give-and-take during fines, before Hennie Bosman and Devin Whelan were officially welcomed to Groot Drak via the club’s induction ritual, which is equal parts dizzying and entertaining.
The braais burned well in to the evening, while both teams celebrated a game of cricket that was played in a wonderful spirit by 22 ambassadors of the sport!
MATCH REPORT FROM CRAIG MCNAUGHT