Tuesday the 20th of Feb 2024, saw a bus load of enthusiastic veteran Aussie cricket players dropped at the Groot Drak main gate! The earliest fine for the day was allocated before anyone bowled a ball, the tour organiser Andrew had an early beer logged for not insisting the bus driver head up our shady entrance to deliver the well traveled passengers.
The skippers strode to the middle to discuss the toss and admire a magnificent deck prepared by club manager Daryll Cullinan. The discussion was a short one, highlighting the host’s tradition of taking to the field first which they gleefully did as the mercury pushed past 35 degrees.
Everyone bar three had a trundle, the exceptions were two shoulder injuries and the keeper who was enjoying throwing himself around in the heat under the helmet after the plethora of wides too much to give up the gloves. Exceptional bowlers were Colin Myburg, bowling 6 overs, 2 maidens, taking a wicket for just 13 runs. “Young Rob” Izzard was virtually faultless in his full spell of 7 going for just 28 runs and taking a wicket. While Angus “Gussie” Simmers in just his 4 overs went for only 13 runs, snatching 2 sticks and a rarity of a an empty wides column.
Outstanding grabs were were made by Wessel Lourens and Gus Simmers, breath taking stuff, more so the sound of escaping air as they hit the deck at full stretch.
The Aussies dug deep, keeping the score board ticking over, they put on 151/9 after 35, top scorer M. Ridge on a handsomely hit 19 retired.
Gourmet rolls, a plunge in our crystal clean pool and a refreshing amber nectar had many feeling that they might have been on a Southern Sun summer break. Our flag salute and warm brandy toast in the baking African sun was remarkably well received by the hardened Aussies before they strode out to take the field.
Our top order headed out to bat knowing they were only to face 20 balls each, something our visitors did. With just about everyone that batted getting into the runs; Wessel Lourens hit a neat 27 runs of his 20 balls, but Robbie Frater, calypso cricket inspired possibly from something in the lunch break lambasted the ball around to all corners. Hitting the match-winning runs with a crowd-motivated glorious six, he walked our man of the match with a Viv Richardsesque 35 off 20 balls.
Players and wives alike enjoyed Richard von Hoesslin’s historical talk about the club and surrounds. The concept of fines was explained and the reception somewhat vanilla until we got into the swing of things. The Australians loved it, peer fines became something akin to stand up comedy on the last day of an Oktoberfest and it was the Drakies that ironically had to eventually call the show to an end. Dinner and formalities were wonderful, Daryll the club manager was presented with the team’s drinking shirt which he immediately donned with pride, next he was presented with an Aussie Baggie green, this as I am aware is still on the coffee counter where it was left should anyone want one. Captain Jono Boulton was given a team shirt and a small square of folded yellow sandpaper, yet another round of drinks ordered and friendships for life were forged.
What a day of friendly cricket…!
Match report by Jonathan Boulton