Our fixture against the Spin Doctors is one that all Groot Drak players look forward to immensely each year. Partly due to their fantastic banter, but also because they have been gracious enough to allow us to win in our last several meetings.
After tossing twice, Groot Drak opted to bat. The team, on paper anyway, was definitely stronger on the batting front.
Opening with Christo la Grange, Marko Combrink elected to shoulder arms to Martin Tucker’s first ball, which cannoned into his off stump. Christo ground out 15 off 29 before copping a ball in the groin and then capitulating the very next delivery.
Making a welcome return to the fray, MC Uys (35 from 41) joined Mark Nel (39 from 49) at the crease. The two batted sensibly and put on a 60-odd run stand for the third wicket, which wrestled some much-needed control back for the Drakies.
Sensing the chance to put on a good total, Alan Sherratt, got stuck in to the bowling with his partner in crime, Nick van Woerkom. Alan’s sweet timing provided him with multiple boundaries as he cruised to his half century at a good lick. Nick too started to accelerate, but ended up getting caught out in his efforts to move things along, being dismissed for a respectable 33 from 24.
Just a few balls later, Alan was clean bowled for an outstanding 71 from 57, leaving Craig McNaught (9* from 4) and Claude Chantler (3* from 5) to see off the last few deliveries.
After 35 overs, Groot Drak had posted 226 for 6, leaving the Doctors needing 6.45 an over for victory.
The run chase started particularly well for the visitors, with a tough chance going down early on in the piece. Nick van Woerkom (1/24 from 7) picked up his only wicket for the day with a well directed bouncer that found the edge of opener, Arno for 18.
For the next 15 overs, the bowlers took a fair amount of punishment. Claude Chantler (0/42 from 6), Zak Barnard (0/35 from 5), Craig McNaught (0/23 from 3) and Bruce Taylor (0/44 from 5) bore the brunt of it before Sean Petzer and Alan Sherratt came on to bowl.
While Sean’s economy rate left a bit to be desired, he was able to dismiss Mike Law for a solid 44 from 65. Andrew Sheals (41 from 32) gave a chance with his first ball, but knuckled down and capitalized on the mistake.
All the while, Rodney Brown at number 3 for the Doctors was stamping his authority on the game. He hardly gave away a chance and made the bowlers pay for any wayward bowling… of which there was plenty. Once Rodders had reached the 50 mark, he found another gear as the game swung massively in the visitors’ favour.
Alan (0/22 from 4) managed to control the run rate, but was probably turning it too much to take a wicket, while Sean picked up a second wicket to finish up on 2/35 from 4.
In the end, Rodney’s 93 not out with contributions from the rest of the top order proved too good for the Drakies. Spin Doctors won the game with 3 overs to spare, having only lost 3 wickets.
After the game, both teams put the draught machine to work and shared some well-earned fines in the shade. A lovely day turned into a hugely festive evening among mates, just the way it should be.
Man of the match: Rodney Brown and Alan Sherratt.
Match report by Craig McNaught