Cricket Results

Groot Drak vs Oxford University – 19 March 2024

Groot Drak had the honour of hosting the illustrious Oxford University back in 2019, where the game went down to the wire and resulted in a tie. Both teams were keen on going one-up when Oxford revisited Pickstone Oval on Tuesday the 19th of March.

After a brief pitch inspection, Oxford skipper Ben – who was part of the setup five years ago – was more than happy to accept the offer of batting first. Having arranged a fifty-over-per-innings match, the local (and far older) hosts were anxious to see what was in store for them.

The first over was bowled by local paceman Achille Cloete, who settled into his work well after finding some rhythm. Even though he managed two maidens in his first spell, the wickets column remained empty for now. Opening the bowling from the south was Groot Drak’s captain, Craig McNaught (1/33 from 6) who started with a maiden and picked up an early wicket to see Oxford 13/1 in the fourth over.

The visitors took advantage of the bowling changes and were looking set before the first drinks break. Conrad Schultz (0/33 from 6) and Alan Sherratt (0/69 from 10) created some half-chances and were both unlucky to not pick up a wicket.

Robbie Hardwick, batting at 3, looked a little shaky for Oxford to start, but eventually started to time the ball – he chalked up a fifty and shortly after that a century, which saw him retiring in the comfort of the clubhouse.

In his second spell, Achille Cloete (2/63 from 10) forced a very necessary breakthrough, but Oxford were firmly on top at 196/2 after 34 overs.

Having played countless matches at Groot Drak, Angus Simmers (0/37 from 6) and Colin Myburgh (0/44 from 7) bowled better than their figures might suggest, as the youngsters from Oxford started to accelerate, sensing a big score.

Unfortunately, Quintin van der Westhuizen was asked to bowl towards the end of the innings and was taken for 51 runs from his 5 overs as the students amassed 343/4 from their 50 overs, with a run out from the last ball. Three of Oxford’s top five had put on scores of 90 or more.

At almost seven an over required, Daryll decided that the young visitors should be dealt double shots of brandy as they saluted the Groot Drak flag and made their way back on to the field after a short lunch break.

Groot Drak’s most successful opening pair for quite a few seasons, Quintin van der Westhuizen and Rikus Walters were asked to face the music first up.

While the duo did their job in seeing some of the shine off the new ball, both Quintin (16 from 26) and Rikus (8 from 27) got starts but couldn’t convert.

A further flurry of wickets saw Mark Nel (4 from 22) and Jaco Carstens (13 from 11) depart early, bringing Conrad Schultz to the crease with the score on 40/3 after 14 overs.

While Conrad dug deep, wickets continued to fall cheaply around him; Alan Sherratt (7 from 22), Morne Landman (0 from 4), Achille Cloete (1 from 3) and Colin Myburgh (9 from 12) succumbed to a combination of good bowling and poor shot selection as any hope of a close game sailed swiftly out the window.

Groot Drak were 102/8, with 22 overs still remaining when Craig McNaught joined Conrad at the crease to start picking up the pieces. The two managed a 59 run stand before Conrad was finally adjudged LBW for a hard-earned 70 from 59.

Angus Simmers, batting about 7 places below his usual spot, walked in at number 11 and looked in fine form as he carved two boundaries behind point in successive balls. Unfortunately Groot Drak’s skipper, Craig was clean bowled for 36 from 29 bringing the game to a close, leaving Angus stranded on 13 not out.

The fairy tale ending was not meant to be for the veteran Drak side, succumbing to the superior fitness and skill of the Oxford clan, losing by 167 runs in the 40th over.

After the comprehensive result, both teams gathered on the pitch for a beverage and Richard von Hoesslin’s ever-informative walk down memory lane. A few well-deserved fines were enjoyed in the shade before wishing Oxford all the best for the rest of their tour with a promise to be in better shape for a rematch down the line.

Match report by Craig McNaught

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *