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Groot Drak vs Melkbos Fellows – 07 October 2023

We were finally able to get our 2023/2024 season underway, after our last 6 FCA fixtures were rained out. Even though the wind pumped throughout the day, everyone was just happy to be playing cricket for a change.

The toss was offered to Melkbos Fellows, who gladly accepted the opportunity to bat first. The wicket looked like it had sweated a bit under the overnight covers, but it still felt like a track that could produce plenty of runs.

The bowlers were understandably rusty after the 7 month break, but were nevertheless fairly tidy at the start. Jannes Mouton finished his 6 over spell wicketless for 20 runs, with Zak Barnard (12/1 from 4) producing an edge in his third over, taken by Jonathan Boulton standing up to the stumps.

Claude Chantler made a welcome to return to the bowling attack and bought 2 wickets for 45 in his 7 over spell, but was not nearly as expensive as his skipper, Craig McNaught, who had the common sense to remove himself from the attack after his 3 over spell gifted the opposition 21 runs.

At drinks, Melkbos were looking on par for a decent total, at 98/4 after 17 overs.

It took Bruce Taylor 3 overs to find his mojo, while the opposition were looking to accelerate. His first two overs travelled for a whopping 23 runs, but the seasoned campaigner bowled his full spell, conceding 47 runs for 3 wickets.

Groot Drak’s best bowler of the day was without a doubt Wessel van Deventer, who showed his class by picking up three valuable wickets for just 16 runs in a very tidy five over spell.

Plenty of the Fellows batters got good starts, but no one was able to get a big score, resulting in the visitors being bowled out for 172 in the 33rd over. The total was hardly a reflection of the batting performance, as the lush, early season outfield prevented countless boundaries and probably saved 40 runs or more.

A quick bite to eat and a few refreshments later and most of the players were ready to start the run chase. Quintin van der Westhuizen got stuck in the changeroom, obviously watching AB de Villiers batting highlights, as he arrived to open the batting 5 minutes later than his partner, Mark Nel. Perhaps it was the excitement of his 41st birthday, but Mark, by his very high standards, struggled for timing before being gunned LBW on 15 from 34. Quintin also had some issues early on, with only 3 runs from his first 14 balls, but he soon kicked into gear and put his foot down, breezing past 50 and finding the boundary fence regularly.

Fresh-faced and eager to show his skills on debut, Marko Combrink waltzed to the crease and was just starting to accelerate before missing a straight one, departing for 15 from 23. Quintin was eventually dismissed after a well-paced 86 and was greeted in the clubhouse by much applause.

In at 4, Gert Uys played the first three consecutive forward defensives of his life and then attempted to get stuck in to the bowling. A six, a four and a single were all he could muster before being caught out on 11.

The hard work had been done upfront, meaning that after the two quick wickets, Groot Drak needed around 40 from the last 10 overs, with Jonathan Boulton and Craig McNaught taking guard at 5 and 6.

The Melkbos lads tossed the ball to their spinners who managed some prodigious turn, causing all sorts of trouble for the two new batters. Both Jono (12* from 28) and Craig (20* from 30) pushed and prodded the ball around without too many risks, but the slowing run rate took the game into the last over. In the end, the score was probably 20 runs light, as Groot Drak knocked off the total with 2 balls remaining and 6 wickets in hand.

A great game and a super tight finish was the perfect way to kick off the new season. A few richly deserved fines were enjoyed before wishing the Melkbos Fellows the best of luck for their season ahead and safe travels home.

Man of the match: Quintin van der Westhuizen.

Match report by Craig McNaught

Fixtures 2023/2024


Date Fixture Venue
16 September 2023 President’s XI vs Chairman’s XI Pickstone Oval
24 September 2023 Groot Drak vs Bishops U13A Pickstone Oval
01 October 2023 Groot Drak vs Claremont Gents Pickstone Oval
07 October 2023 Groot Drak vs Melkbos Fellows Pickstone Oval
22 October 2023 Groot Drak vs Kleinmond CC Pickstone Oval
29 October 2023 Groot Drak vs Greenpoint Gullies Pickstone Oval
04 November 2023 Groot Drak vs Rondebosch Pumas Pickstone Oval
11 November 2023 Groot Drak vs Battersea Badgers (UK) Pickstone Oval
16 November 2023 Groot Drak vs Royal Artillery CC (UK) Pickstone Oval
26 November 2023 Groot Drak vs Claremont Gents Pickstone Oval
03 December 2023 Groot Drak vs WPCC (Alfie Cupido Memorial) Pickstone Oval
09 December 2023 Groot Drak vs Scorpions Oude Libertas
06 January 2024 Groot Drak vs Ulster Grasshoppers (UK) Pickstone Oval
14 January 2024 Groot Drak vs Spin Doctors Pickstone Oval
20 January 2024 Groot Drak vs Citrusdal CC Pickstone Oval
28 January 2024 Groot Drak vs Black Batts Pickstone Oval
04 February 2024 Groot Drak vs Newlands Squirrels Pickstone Oval
11 February 2024 Groot Drak vs Somerset Oakes Somerset West
18 February 2024 Groot Drak vs Elgin CC Pickstone Oval
20 February 2024 Groot Drak vs Australia Over 60s Pickstone Oval
24 February 2024 Groot Drak vs Scorpions Pickstone Oval
02 March 2024 Groot Drak vs Craig Matthews Band Pickstone Oval
19 March 2024 Groot Drak vs Oxford University (UK) Pickstone Oval
24 March 2024 Groot Drak vs Kelvin Grove Kelvin Grove
30 March 2024 Ken Strable Double Wicket Pickstone Oval

Groot Drak vs Southern Cavaliers – 01 March 2023

After 3 years since we last had the pleasure of hosting the Southern Cavaliers from Washington DC, we recently had one of the most enjoyable games played at the Pickstone oval in a long time.

With normal touring side traditions upheld, the visiting side was put into bat and after very tight spell from the two opening bowlers – Craig McNaught (2/19 from 6) and Ian Nel (1/20 from 5), wickets began to fall quite regularly. Special mention needs to be made of the spectacular catch down the leg side by Jono “eat your heart out Klaasen” Boulton – an effort that really got the Drakies’ tails up.

A great effort put in by all – albeit that this author may have or may not have dropped their highest scoring batsman when he had just open up his account – the limited spread of bowlers all did well,with Eddie Cloete and Bruce Taylor pitching in with 2 wickets a piece.

There were some easy let-offs by Groot Drak with a number of misfields and dropped catches, yet Groot Drak kept the Cavaliers to a respectable, yet chasable score of 206 runs from 40 overs.

What should’ve been a reltively easy target to chase down by normal Groot Drak standards, did not go as planned with a few cheap wickets falling quite early on. Making a guest appearance, Dave Bakker carved out a well played 32 runs for the Drakies. But once again, Captain courageous, Craig McNaught, walked in and put on a magnificent score of 71 runs not out off 88 balls, well supported by Jono “eat your heart out Klaasen” Boulton (12 from 35), giving the entire team hope of actually achieving the target.

However, some of the most spectacular wrist spin from the Cavaliers was enjoyed more from the umpire’s position than that of the batsman’s crease, while the seamers supported with some great line and length. Groot Drak fell short by 25 runs. The result was the first time that the Cavaliers had beaten Groot Drak and the overall tally now stands at 2-1.

The camaraderie was enjoyed by all in the pool with a few frosties, after which a very festive fines meeting was held.

The lamb on the spit dinner topped off the evening of old friendships being renewed and new friendships being formed. Testament to this was how both teams enjoyed each other’s company well into the night, along with the all important lesson of “champ” was learnt.

We look forward to the Cavaliers touring South Africa again and hopefully we can put Groot Drak back on a winning streak.

Man of the Match: Craig McNaught
Match report by Sean Petzer

Groot Drak vs Cheshire Seniors – 26 February 2023

It was an absolute pleasure to welcome back the Cheshire Seniors, with a lot of familiar faces piling out of the bus on a perfect summer morning in the Boland.

The visitors were asked to bat first and had a tough time against the Groot Drak openers Colin Myburgh (0/2 from 3 overs) and Craig McNaught (0/3 from 3 overs). Cheshire managed just seven runs from the first six overs, but without losing a wicket, largely thanks to two dropped chances off Colin’s bowling.

Mike Devine clearly felt the scoring rate was out of control and bowled a first change spell that began with 3 maidens and 2 wickets. Unfortunately Mike was hit for a boundary and completely ruined his figures: 5 for 2 from 4 overs. Making a welcome return, Nic Addison pitched in with 0/12 from his four over spell.

Introduced just before drinks, in a rare occurrence, Bruce Taylor failed to pick up a wicket and was carted for 22 runs from his 5 overs.

At the 17 over drinks break, Cheshire Seniors were 49/2.

A new face at Groot Drak, George Ware turned his arm over for the first time in many years. A number of extra’s saw George go for 31 runs from his 4 overs.

There was some tidy left-arm orthodox from Claude Chantler (0/13 from 4) and a mixed bag from Ian Nel, who seized the opportunity to pocket 3 wickets for 26 runs.

Looking to give the entire team at least one over, Jono Boulton (0/7 from 2), Mark Nel (0/1 from 1) and Hugo Brink (0/3 from 1) tidied things up at the end of the innings.

Thanks to a plethora of extras (34 of them!), the target was set at 130 for victory.

After a quick lunch break, the Cheshire lads toasted the flag and made their way out to the field with Hugo Brink and Mark Nel opening the batting for Groot Drak.

Mark managed a run-a-ball 26 before being caught and bowled, introducing Jono Boulton at number 3.

Having not had many opportunities to show off his batting talents, Hugo got stuck in and was brutal on anything short of a length. At a strike rate of nearly 200, Hugo got to his first ever half-century and had to be retired after a very well played 65 from 39 balls.

Jono was uncharacteristically aggressive with the bat, smashing 27* from 19, including a six into the clubhouse. George Ware needed to score just 2 runs as the home team coasted to a comfortable victory in the 16th over.

A quick 10 over game was orchestrated, with two sides made up of players from both teams heading out for a bit of fun. The game, oddly enough, ended in a tie, with James Boulton, Mark Nel and Colin Myburgh the standout performers for their respective teams.

Afterwards, everyone welcomed the opportunity to enjoy a refreshment on the pitch, while Richard von Hoesslin gave his rendition of the club’s history.  A light-hearted fines meeting was held in front of the clubhouse before everyone shuffled inside for a lamb dinner, some local wine and a few presentations to cap off a lovely day.

Thanks to the Cheshire Seniors for their exceptional company and we wish them all the best for the remainder of their South African tour.

Man of the match: Hugo Brink

Match report by Craig McNaught


Groot Drak vs Saints UK – 23 February 2023

A very fit and youthful looking Saints side arrived at Groot Drak on Thursday 23 February after a 20 year absence from the club. Groot Drak’s motley crew were right to be nervous.

Honouring the age-old tradition that any touring side will always bat first at Groot Drak, Saints skipper Jamie Briant was more than happy to get his lads padded up and ready for action.

Being forced to open the bowling up the slope, Jannes Mouton (0/32 from 5) struggled for rhythm, but had the batsmen struggling when he did find a good area. Down the hill, Craig McNaught had a far easier job and bowled a very tidy line and length, conceding just 5 runs in his 4 over spell, with two maidens to boot.

The Saints opening batters were steady and gave no chances away, achieving an unbroken 50 run stand after 11 overs.

A change of bowling brought the breakthrough, with young Kaydon Cloete on debut for Groot Drak, who, while a touch expensive, bowled well for his 1/25 from 4 overs.

Veteran seam bowler, Colin Myburgh’s first over went for 12 runs, but found his mojo quickly and conceded only 5 more runs in his 4 over spell.

After drinks, spin twins Alan Sherratt and Adam ‘Eddie’ Cloete got stuck in and caused some headaches for the middle order. A quicker ball from Alan had the dangerous Ward Manning trapped LBW for 17 runs. While going at more than 8 an over, Alan somehow managed to bowl his quota of overs and posted returns of 1/58 from 7. Eddie was super economical at the other end and unlucky not to pick up any wickets, as his spell of 7 went for 37 runs.

Wickets were hard to come by, so when Claude Chantler (1/9 from 2) clean bowled Ben Hanson with a long-hop, just after going to his 50, the Drakies were feeling a bit more positive.

Also making his debut for Groot Drak was Nic Slabber who was cruelly asked to bowl at the end of the innings and gifted 19 runs in his two overs.

After their 35 over allotment, Saints had 204 runs on the board. There was consensus among the players that this was just about par for the conditions.

Changing things up at half time, Lejean Pieterse treated the players to an incredible lunch braai that saw the Brits head back several times to refill their plates with the delicious food on offer. A quick salute to the flag along with the customary brandy imbibement and both teams were ready for the second half of the game.

The run chase started slowly for the home team. Claude faced just two deliveries and was bowled out cheaply, with Nic Slabber taking his time and grinding out 19 runs from 44 balls.

In at three, Gert Uys was never going to die wondering ‘what if?’ and, by his standards, scored a very reserved 18 from 18 balls, before offering up a simple caught and bowled chance. Gert’s wicket precipitated a further collapse with Wessel Lourens and Alan Sherratt each only managing two runs, exposing both the skipper and the chairman at 6 and 7 early on.

Craig McNaught (12 from 12) was looking set before he was run out thanks to some terrific fielding at midwicket, while Jono Boulton (8 from 18) fell to a sharp catch behind the stumps.

Groot Drak were in all sorts of trouble at 64 for 7 after 16 overs.

Never one to lie down, Colin Myburgh spearheaded a terrific comeback with the bat, with Kaydon Cloete keeping him company at the crease. Colin smashed arguably his finest innings for many seasons at Groot Drak, but finally succumbed to a classic catch at backward point. Colin departed for 70 runs from just 54 balls and Groot Drak were back in the hunt.

Kaydon picked up the pace nicely, while batting alongside an injured Jannes Mouton. With 5 overs left in the game, Groot Drak needed 53 runs with only 2 wickets in hand. The game was on a knife edge.

Kaydon kept his cool and found the occasional boundary to get the home side close. The 33rd over went for 15 runs, the 34th for 14. Groot Drak had 200 on the board, needing 5 for victory from the last over. Calm as you like, Kaydon Cloete (38* from 42) tied the scores with 2 balls remaining in the game and pushed the next delivery to the fence. Groot Drak had done what seemed impossible just a few overs before and eked out the narrowest of narrow victories.

After a quick history lesson on the pitch, the teams assembled in front of the clubhouse to enjoy a fines meeting for the books. While our new friends from the UK had to depart early, we thoroughly enjoyed their company and the incredible day of friendly cricket that transpired.

Best of luck to the Saints on the rest of their SA tour – we look very much forward to welcoming them back sooner rather than later!

Man of the match & lifesaver: Colin Myburgh
Match report by Craig McNaught