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Groot Drak vs Royal Artillery CC – 16 November 2023

It was exactly four years ago to the day that Groot Drak were last visited by Royal Artillery CC.
The skippers inspected the pitch and our visitors from the north decided that they would honour our age-old tradition and bat first.

On loan from Boland, young speedster Achille Cloete opened the bowling for Groot Drak. His devastating pace caused all sorts of trouble for the batters who did well to survive the early barrage. Morne Maritz (0/39 from 6) was forced to push up the hill and was unlucky not to pick up a wicket or two in his spell.

Three of RACC’s top four fired with good scores of 71, 46 and 48, putting the pressure squarely on Drak early on.

Achille ended his seven over spell with very tidy figures of 2/13, including two maidens.

Second-and-third change bowlers Ian Nel (0/66 from 8) and Zak Barnard (1/46 from 6) toiled hard with limited success before the first drinks break.
After 20 overs, the visitors were cruising at 121/2.

Desperate for a breakthrough, Groot Drak opted for some leg-spin. Queue Mike Devine and Alan Sherratt.
Mike’s first ball was a long-hop down the leg side, which was paddled straight to square leg, where Alan took a good catch to earn Mike his first wicket of the day. The two bowled beautifully in tandem, with Mike nabbing wickets at regular intervals and Alan strangling the middle order batters. Mike ended up agonizingly close to a five-for, thanks to a dolly being dropped at short fine leg. Nevertheless he posted handsome figures of 4/35 from his six overs. Alan too got amongst the wickets, picking up 2 for just 29 runs in his spell of 7.

The Drakies had brought the game back into contention, having restricted RACC to 234 for 9 after 40 overs.

After lunch, the Royal Artillery gents saluted the Groot Drak flag with a customary brandy and took to the field for the run chase.

Groot Drak’s openers, Claude Chantler (27 from 25) and Chad Ayford (17 from 24) both looked the part, but failed to contribute serious runs as they fell victim to Nick Schofield’s lethal swing and pace.

In at number 3, Alan Sherratt could only muster 14 runs from 19 balls before being gunned LBW, precipitating a middle-order collapse. This saw Jono Boulton, Craig McNaught, Morne Landman and Morne Maritz only contribute 14 runs between them.

The lower order of Ian Nel (22 from 26), Achille Cloete (17 from 10) and Zak Barnard (17 from 23) posted a few useful runs, but at the end of the day, Groot Drak were bowled out for a paltry 151 in the 31st over. It’s worth mentioning that Nick Schofield took a very well-deserved five wicket haul, that could very easily have been 6 or 7 wickets.

Outplayed in every department, the home team was fortunate to only lose by 80-odd runs. RACC were, quite simply, too good on the day. The one-sided result didn’t dampen the spirits however, as everyone enjoyed a beverage on the pitch while listening to Richard von Hoesslin recount the club’s history for our visitors. Fines were dished out in the shade before all were treated to a braai for the books. Special thanks to Hugo Brink and Morne Landman for their contribution to what was a very special dinner.

We wish the Royal Artillery the best of luck for the rest of their SA tour, but more importantly best of luck to all that they play against!

Man of the match: Mike Devine
Match report by Craig McNaught

Groot Drak vs Battersea Badgers – 11 October 2023

Saturday the 11th of October 2023 saw The Battersea Badgers descend on Groot Drak. A first time direct booking from this London club had everyone hugely excited. The weather was 10 degrees cooler than the day before, much to the UK visitors’ relief as they strode out to inspect the pitch.

After a short and well received explanation, the toss was foregone and the tourists happily settled into the shade and sent out their openers.

Johann Agenbag opened the bowling coming down the hill and was simply unplayable. Bowling his spell of 8 on the trot, he went for only 9 runs taking one wicket. Our young debutant ringer, Nick Van Woerkom charged up the hill and fired them down, finishing an impressive 7 over spell for 2 wickets and going for just 18 runs.

The Badgers started exceptionally slowly and the Drakies might have been forgiven for premonitions of an early finish and beers in the pool, until the Australian pair of Cornish and Knight came to the wicket. Bravely recovering from food poisoning, these antipodeans living South of the Thames weren’t going to let a dodgy seafood pasta at the V and A Waterfront get them down. They went to town on the balance of our bowlers. Regulars Claude Chantler and Bruce Taylor bore the brunt of the onslaught, going for more than 10 an over, seeing the visitors post a very respectable 226 after their 40.

In response, our opening bats did not trouble scorer Ken Lumb too much at all. Our second debutant, young Matt Hughes, batted beautifully, smashing 34 off just 20 runs in his stylish 70s white bucket hat. Father and son duo, Jono and James Boulton (11 yrs old) spent some family time at the crease adding on 18 runs before James was left to bat for a total of 36 balls, maturely defending his wicket and giving the strike to number 7, Nick Van Woerkom. Nick attacked the ball from the get go, hitting cleanly and sweetly timing the ball to the boundary with ease. I must say, one of the better batting displays I have ever seen at the club. Joined by Bruce Taylor, focused on needing to make up for his very expensive bowling, he poked and prodded, slowly coming out of his shell, until he too was nonchalantly dispatching half decent deliveries to the rope. Well done to Nick (98* off just 76) and Bruce (48* from 47) getting us over the line with 4 overs to spare.

The visitors enjoyed pitch drinks and the historical talk by Richard Von Hoesslin. Fines were a hit and the lamb on the spit went down almost as well as Robbie Frater’s complimentary red wine on the tables. A massive thanks to all involved in organizing a very, very special day.

Match report by Jonathan Boulton

Groot Drak vs Kleinmond CC – 22 October 2023

After our nerves had been rattled for the second week in a row thanks to the Springboks’ last minute antics in the World Cup, we were greeted with glorious weather on Sunday the 22nd of October. It’s a long drive from Kleinmond to Groot Drak, so it was great to see the friendly faces of the Kleinmond CC players already waiting for us when we arrived at the club.

Kleinmond skipper, Dannie Gerber, won the toss and opted to bowl first on an out-of-sorts Groot Drak pitch.

In only his second game for the club, Marko Combrink was asked to open the batting with Ian Nel. Both batters got off to very cautious starts, with Ian being dismissed for 14 from 26 balls.

Marko was joined by club-debutant Justin Barnes, who settled into his work nicely. The two put on a healthy partnership, with Justin chipping in with a valuable 34 from 41 before a sharp stumping opened the door for Kudu Kotze at number 4.

Having not played cricket for nearly 3 years, Kudu let us all know that he was very rusty and that we should not expect too much. His first ball disappeared into the swimming pool area for six. This started a trend of rapid-fire boundary striking for the big all-rounder. Kudu fell just 4 runs short of what would have been a memorable 50, considering he had only faced 16 balls before nicking off.

At the other end, Dr Combrink was diligently going about his business and racked up his first half century for Groot Drak, finally being caught behind on 78 from 85 balls.

The next five wickets fell very cheaply, but Groot Drak somehow managed to avoid being bowled out, posting 210 for 9 from their 35 overs.

After a short break, Kleinmond were ready to start chasing down what felt like a par score on the day.

Another Justin making his debut for Groot Drak, Justin Laubser was asked to open the bowling with Ian Nel (0/14 from 3).
Justin’s pace and swing caused plenty of headaches for the opposition, being retired from the attack after five overs. He picked up two wickets for just 17 runs.

With a surfeit of bowling options, the attack was rotated at regular intervals.

Wessel van Deventer (30/0 from 3) and Hugo Brink (27/1 from 2) were somewhat wayward, but Hugo landed a perfect inswinging yorker to castle the ever-dangerous Christiaan Jordaan.

Justin Barnes showed his all-rounder capabilities landing the ball in consistently good areas, bringing the run rate down a touch.

At the drinks break, Kleinmond were bossing the game – comfortably ahead of the 8-ball at 120 for 5 from 17 overs.

Groot Drak turned to their destroyer-in-chief, Bruce Taylor, who dished up some lovely flighted deliveries, which Kleinmond could not resist. Two stumpings and a slip-catch from Bruce’s bowling had the opposition in all-sorts shortly after drinks. The leggie ended up with figures of 3/30 from 5. Even more impressive were Justin Barnes’ figures of 3/28 from his five overs.

With the result firmly in the bag, Christo van Deventer was tasked with nabbing the last wicket, which took him just seven balls, allowing both teams the opportunity to grab a beverage and catch some shade.

Kleinmond were bowled out for 157 in 25.1 overs, a remarkable comeback by the local boys.

The visitors showed good form and all stayed to share a few hard earned fines and many hearty laughs. Thanks to Dannie and the Kleinmond lads for what is always a memorable day with great human beings.

Man of the match: Marko Combrink
Match report by Craig McNaught