At Groot Drak, we count ourselves incredibly lucky to play most of our cricket at home, but travelling to Claremont Cricket Club is a special outing for everyone. We were welcomed at the stunning ground, promptly lost the toss and were sent in to the field.
Struggling into the wind, Andri le Roux (0/14 from 2.5) was unceremoniously expelled from the attack after his third beamer, exposing an already stretched bowling unit.
Craig McNaught (0/24 from 6) kept things more or less tidy, while Claude Chantler finally got amongst the wickets for the 2021/2022 season. Even though he got smashed for 23 in one over, he dislodged 4 Gents batters for 44 runs in his 6 over spell.
Francois ‘Frenchy’ Vermaak made a welcome debut with the ball, getting rid of Steve Palframan for a duck and posting returns of 1/38 from 7. With similar figures from the other end, Hugo Brink (1/35 from 7) found fantastic rhythm late in his spell and pulled off a spectacular caught-and-bowled chance on the stroke of the drinks break.
With limited bowling options, young debutant Tristan Harley (son of Groot Drak legend, Conrad) was tossed the ball and asked to bowl towards the death. At just 14, the schoolboy turned many heads with his fiery pace and accuracy, leaking only 32 runs from his 6 over spell.
At the end of their 35 overs, the Gents had posted 211/7 – a total that felt just about par on a good wicket.
Gary Seaman (22) made a welcome return to the Drak side, opening the batting with Charl Ackerman (4) against a classy bowling attack.
Batting at number 3, Rikus Walters looked to steady the ship with Andri le Roux. Both players batted extremely well and played their shots before Andri was sharply stumped on 19.
Claude Chantler pitched in with 5 from 13 before making way for Francois Vermaak.
Frenchy and Rikus, having battled together many times before, put on a show for the crowd with a veritable batting clinic.
Neither gave any chances up as Rikus breezed past yet another 50 and Francois found boundary after boundary, giving Groot Drak a real chance towards the end of the match. Making the bowling look very easy, Francois (52* from 39) got to his 50 just as Groot Drak toppled the total, with Rikus not out on 84.
One more wicket and the game could have been very different, but as it was, the visitors recorded a 3 over victory over their great friends, Claremont Gents.
A few fines on the field surrounded by the awesome Cape Town vista was the perfect way to end a classic day of cricket.
Thanks to the Gents for their wonderful hospitality.
Match report by Craig McNaught.