Although we had never played against the Somerset College Old Boys before, we had met a few of the lads when we squared off against Elgin earlier in the season. Everyone was amped for not only some good cricket, but also the exceptional company that we knew would be on offer.
After a quick chat on the pitch, the captains agreed that Groot Drak should bat first, with some serious fire power in their top-and-middle-order.
Quintin van der Westhuizen and Rikus Walters got things underway, putting on a solid opening partnership of 64, before Quintin (45 from 29) was castled for his fifth 40-something score in a row, after bludgeoning 9 boundaries. Rikus too, fell just a few runs short of a half-century with a solid knock of 41 from 36.
Starting his innings slowly, Cassie Carstens accelerated after getting his eye in, with support from Alan Sherratt at the other end after drinks. Alan smashed a quick 40 from 20, including 3 sixes and 3 fours before finding the hands of backward square on the pull.
Next in was Claude Chantler, who could only manage 2 runs from 5 deliveries, making way for Tim Whitfield at number 6.
Cassie and Tim went after the bowling in spectacular fashion, with Cassie notching up his first 50 for Groot Drak and showing no signs of slowing down. It only took 26 more deliveries for him to convert his 50 into a century – retiring after an epic knock of 100 runs from 64 balls.
Craig McNaught (13 not out from 18) joined Tim in the middle, as Tim smashed his way to yet another half ton, bringing the Groot Drak innings to a close with a superb 63 not out from just 32 deliveries, continuing his rich vein of form.
The home side had amassed a mammoth total of 340/4 after their 35 overs.
After a short break for lunch, Johann Agenbag and Bruce Taylor opened with an unconventional pairing of seam and leg-spin bowling.
Johann (0/52 from 7) toiled hard from the top but couldn’t manage a breakthrough, while Bruce took 2 overs to find his line and length.
The College boys started exceptionally well, as Allister and Rob put on a very healthy opening stand of 60 before Allister helped himself to one too many pies, becoming Bruce’s first victim for the day.
Bruce turned one into two, picking up Andre for a duck in his next over and ending his seven over spell with 2 wickets for 37.
While the openers took a well-deserved breather after bowling their quota on the trot, relief arrived in the form of Hugo Brink and Angus Simmers as the first-change bowlers.
Struggling to control the prodigious swing, Hugo’s first three overs went for 31 runs. Angus’s ‘offies’ from the other end caused several headaches for the batters as he created a multitude of chances early on, having two simple catches dropped off his bowling. Undeterred, Gussie soldiered on and picked up 3 wickets for 35 in his 7 overs, while Hugo got the radar working and only conceded 12 more runs in 4 overs, ending with figures of 0/43.
A brilliant throw by Cassie from the boundary saw a rare run-out for Groot Drak, as the opposition slumped to 153 for 6 after 28 overs.
Craig McNaught and Claude Chantler (0/7 from 3) turned their arms over at the death, with Craig picking up 3 wickets for 11 in his four overs and having no fewer than three catches dropped in the process.
Somerset College Old Boys were bowled out for 171, but the result was neither here nor there, as the spirit on the field was, without a doubt, the winner on the day.
The incredibly-prepared pitch was honoured with a frosty beverage, having provided us with more than 500 runs. Some hard-earned fines were dished out while we thoroughly enjoyed the company of our new friends from Somerset West.
We look forward to the next time we get to share the field with this bunch, who taught us that “cricket is life”!
Match Report by Craig McNaught
Player of the match: Cassie Carstens