The stars aligned for Groot Drak and Scorpions as some last-minute changes-of-plan saw both teams without opposition for the weekend. This worked out extremely well as our scheduled game against Scorpions earlier in the season was cancelled.
After inspecting the pitch and winning the toss, Scorpions skipper, ‘Kloppies’, opted to bowl first in some pretty brutal Boland heat.
The Groot Drak openers put on a strong introductory stand before Quintin offered a simple caught and bowled chance, which saw him depart for his usual 40 runs.
Tim Whitfield went without troubling the scorers and brought Jono Boulton to the wicket to stabilize things.
Jono and Rikus settled into their work nicely, before Rikus fell just after drinks for a run-a-ball 52.
Alan Sherratt (18 from 15), Claude Chantler (16 from 21) and Charl Ackermann (8 from 7) all pitched in with some valuable runs in the latter stages of the innings, getting Groot Drak close to the 200 mark.
Herman Fourie joined Jono at the crease and bludgeoned a quick-fire 33* from 16, while Jono finished up with a very respectable 36* from 66. A solid team effort saw Groot Drak post a competitive total of 231 for 6 from their 35 overs.
With sunlight threatening to fade, both teams enjoyed a quick lunch and promptly got back on to the field.
Craig McNaught (0/8 from 3) opened the bowling with Bruce Taylor (0/20 from 7) and both set the tone with some ultra-economical bowling. Both bowlers were unlucky not to pick up a few wickets between them.
A sharp run-out from Charl Ackermann at backward point saw the end of the dangerous run-machine, Andre Geldenhuys for 13.
Alan Sherratt took the first-change responsibilities and gave a leg-spin masterclass, while taking 2 wickets for just 18 runs in his 7 overs. The second of his wickets saw Bruce Taylor in the covers take a spectacular diving catch to dismiss Leonard Willemse for a duck.
Claude Chantler picked up two wickets for 21 runs in his 5 over spell after drinks, which also included a great catch – this time from from Charl Ackermann, to see the back of Johan Klopper.
Scorpions number 4 bat, Dave Bakker (62*) got to a well-deserved half-century as wickets tumbled around him.
The death overs from Herman Fourie (0/21 from 5), Charl Ackermann (0/10 from 1) and Tim Whitfield (0/23 from 3) were good enough to see Groot Drak victorious by 93 runs at the end of the day.
Drinks on the pitch were followed by a fines session for the books, with the braais burning well into the night.
Thanks to Scorpions for making themselves available at short notice and for always putting on a great game, with a wonderful bunch of cricketers. We look forward to welcoming Scorpions back in January to settle the scores.
Man of the Match: Rikus Walters.
Match report by Craig McNaught