We always enjoy hosting Black Batts at Groot Drak – lovely human beings who play a good standard of friendly cricket.
With a strong batting line-up, Groot Drak were hoping to win the toss and bat first. As it turns out, the Batts wanted to bowl first and the toss was never realized.
Palfers and Brendan opened the bowling for the Batts and found solid rhythm early on. The first wicket partnership for Drak was a tale of two very different batters; Claude Chantler the aggressor and Ian Rippengal (on loan from the UK’s Forty Club) the stalwart. Claude smashed his way to a fiery 41 from just 27 balls, with Ian at the other end gutsing out 33 from 78.
Wickets fell regularly, with contributions from Albert Booysen (14 from 23), Matt Hughes (16 from 9) and Liam Carruthers (12 from 15) – all getting starts but being outfoxed by the Batts bowlers. The stand-out batting performance came from Alan Sherratt at number 4. Accessing pretty much the entire field, Alan paced his innings perfectly. He deposited anything loose and looked to rotate the strike regularly.
Towards the end of the innings, Alan was joined by Zak Barnard who wasted no time in blasting 13 from 5 without losing his wicket.
Alan’s fifty went unnoticed by the scorers and hence his team-mates and spectators, but was celebrated shortly after Groot Drak’s innings drew to a close. Al finished on 54 not out from 42 and the home team had posted a par-or-thereabouts total of 203 for 6 after their 35 overs.
The run chase started sedately. Black Batts had only scored 13 runs from their first 7 overs, due to the crafty bowling of Liam Carruthers (1/18 from 6) and Matt Hughes (0/30 from 7). Matt’s figures would have looked even better, had it not been for four dropped chances off his bowling.
Bowling first and second change, Craig McNaught (1/38 from 5) and debutant Callum Woolley (0/29 from 4) were on the expensive side and had to be benched as the Batts started to accelerate their scoring rate. Gustav (74 from 65) notched up a well-deserved half century and was only dismissed thanks to a screamer of a catch on the boundary by Claude Chantler.
The game situation was poised nicely at drinks, with the visitors needing 6.5 runs an over to win.
Finally getting to bowl down the hill, Zak Barnard (0/35 from 6) kept the Batts reasonably quiet. From the other end, Alan Sherratt (1/50 from 5.3) was uncharacteristically expensive as Paul became the second Batts player to go beyond the half-century mark.
In the end, Black Batts managed a fairly comfortable win, chasing down the 203 with 2 and a half overs to go and only 3 wickets down.
After a quick pitch drink and a well-earned fines meeting, the two teams braaied meats of all sorts well into the evening while enjoying some local wines and cold beers.
Thanks to Palfers and the Batts for a highly entertaining day out!
Men of the match (GD): Claude Chantler and Alan Sherratt
Match report by Craig McNaught