It’s been several years since our last game against our most distant FCA opposition. The weatherman predicted temperatures just south of 40 degrees for our fixture against Citrusdal, so the rates of sunscreen-application and beverage-consumption were bound to be high.
Winning a seemingly important toss, Groot Drak opted to bat first.
Seeing that it was in fact the Chairman’s birthday, Jono Boulton was given the option to open the batting with Nic Slabber on loan. It was a tough day at the office for Nic, who could only manage 11 from 17 before rolling his ankle and retiring hurt.
The opening bowlers were zippy and accurate, causing headaches for Jono Boulton (18 from 61) and debutant, Albert Booysen (16 from 32) in at number 3. The pair toiled hard for their runs, and unfortunately found the fielder more often than the gap.
Two more debutants for Groot Drak were Matt Butcher and Toby Marriott (of Cricket District fame). Both batters looked solid, but failed to get meaningful starts and fell cheaply, despite their impressive credentials.
Groot Drak were looking very scratchy at 62 for 5 after 24 overs, with the decision to bat first becoming questionable. Fortunately, Matt Hughes and his floppy hat strode in at number 6 and made the bowlers look like they were offering throw-downs. This was not the case for the remaining batters in the lineup.
While Matt smashed his way to a first Groot Drak fifty, Craig McNaught (0 from 6), Gavin Stander (10 from 15) and Bruce Taylor (7 from 13) tried to offer some tail-end support.
Citrusdal’s Dirk Thuynsman finished the innings by dismissing Nic Slabber (in his second chance at bat), followed by both van Deventers for golden ducks, resulting in a spectacular hat-trick to close things out.
Groot Drak had been bowled out for a dismal 137, leaving Mr Hughes stranded on 54 not out from 35 – the shining light in an otherwise ordinary display of batting… not to take anything away from the Citrusdal bowling performance, which was exceptional.
Lunch was largely taken in the pool with the mercury threatening 40 degrees at the innings break.
Being allowed to sub in young Liam Carruthers for the injured Nic Slabber buoyed the Groot Drak spirits somewhat as he fired down a barrage of unplayable deliveries with the new ball. His 5 over spell went for just 13 runs, but the wickets proved illusive. Pushing up the hill, Matt Hughes’ first over got punished, but he adjusted his length and was rewarded with a wicket in his 4th over thanks to a simple catch completed by Matt Butcher.
After the openers were done, the floodgates opened for Citrusdal. Skipper, Craig McNaught brought himself on for three disastrous overs that went for a mammoth 51 runs, including three consecutive sixes struck by Barry Tredoux, as he smashed a fifty and kept going.
Our usual remedy for either slowing the run rate or taking a few wickets is the golden arm of Bruce Taylor. That theory went out the window as he too got dispatched for 13 runs in his solitary over. Gav Stander (0/28 from 3.5) was, given the circumstances, fairly tidy, but still travelled at nearly 7 an over as Citrusdal cruised to victory in just the 17th over. Mercifully, all 22 bodies were able to cool off in the pool before slinking into the shade for a highly entertaining fines meeting in front of the clubhouse.
It was great to see Citrusdal at their very best, claiming what many believe to be their first victory against Groot Drak.
Congrats to; Matt Hughes for being Groot Drak Man of the Match and Lifesaver, Barry Tredoux on his unbeaten 81 and to Dirk Thuynsman on his man of the match award and hat-trick.
Match report by Craig McNaught