Cricket Results

Groot Drak vs Spin Doctors – 14 January 2024

Our fixture against the Spin Doctors is one that all Groot Drak players look forward to immensely each year. Partly due to their fantastic banter, but also because they have been gracious enough to allow us to win in our last several meetings.

After tossing twice, Groot Drak opted to bat. The team, on paper anyway, was definitely stronger on the batting front.

Opening with Christo la Grange, Marko Combrink elected to shoulder arms to Martin Tucker’s first ball, which cannoned into his off stump. Christo ground out 15 off 29 before copping a ball in the groin and then capitulating the very next delivery.

Making a welcome return to the fray, MC Uys (35 from 41) joined Mark Nel (39 from 49) at the crease. The two batted sensibly and put on a 60-odd run stand for the third wicket, which wrestled some much-needed control back for the Drakies.

Sensing the chance to put on a good total, Alan Sherratt, got stuck in to the bowling with his partner in crime, Nick van Woerkom. Alan’s sweet timing provided him with multiple boundaries as he cruised to his half century at a good lick. Nick too started to accelerate, but ended up getting caught out in his efforts to move things along, being dismissed for a respectable 33 from 24.

Just a few balls later, Alan was clean bowled for an outstanding 71 from 57, leaving Craig McNaught (9* from 4) and Claude Chantler (3* from 5) to see off the last few deliveries.

After 35 overs, Groot Drak had posted 226 for 6, leaving the Doctors needing 6.45 an over for victory.

The run chase started particularly well for the visitors, with a tough chance going down early on in the piece. Nick van Woerkom (1/24 from 7) picked up his only wicket for the day with a well directed bouncer that found the edge of opener, Arno for 18.

For the next 15 overs, the bowlers took a fair amount of punishment. Claude Chantler (0/42 from 6), Zak Barnard (0/35 from 5), Craig McNaught (0/23 from 3) and Bruce Taylor (0/44 from 5) bore the brunt of it before Sean Petzer and Alan Sherratt came on to bowl.

While Sean’s economy rate left a bit to be desired, he was able to dismiss Mike Law for a solid 44 from 65. Andrew Sheals (41 from 32) gave a chance with his first ball, but knuckled down and capitalized on the mistake.

All the while, Rodney Brown at number 3 for the Doctors was stamping his authority on the game. He hardly gave away a chance and made the bowlers pay for any wayward bowling… of which there was plenty. Once Rodders had reached the 50 mark, he found another gear as the game swung massively in the visitors’ favour.

Alan (0/22 from 4) managed to control the run rate, but was probably turning it too much to take a wicket, while Sean picked up a second wicket to finish up on 2/35 from 4.

In the end, Rodney’s 93 not out with contributions from the rest of the top order proved too good for the Drakies. Spin Doctors won the game with 3 overs to spare, having only lost 3 wickets.

After the game, both teams put the draught machine to work and shared some well-earned fines in the shade. A lovely day turned into a hugely festive evening among mates, just the way it should be.

Man of the match: Rodney Brown and Alan Sherratt.

Match report by Craig McNaught

Groot Drak vs Ulster Grasshoppers – 06 January 2024

One could hardly pick a more predictable time of year to have bright sunshine and perfect cricket weather than January in the Boland, but the dreaded rain cloud icon was all over the various weather apps for Saturday the 7th. Covers were deployed on Friday evening in anticipation of rain overnight… which, naturally, didn’t materialize.

Our stand-in groundsman, Salmo Cilliers, prepared a beautiful green-top pitch, which promised some spice for the seam bowlers. When our Irish visitors arrived, they inspected the surface and were more than happy to honour the tradition of batting first.

The Ulster Grasshoppers got off to a sedate start, going at around 3 an over for the first 10. This was largely thanks to some super tidy bowling from the pacey openers, Liam Carruthers and Nick van Woerkom, who each picked up a wicket in their first spells.

Taking a chunk of pace off the ball, Craig McNaught and Ian Nel took the first-and-second change duties and both bowled a reasonable line and length to keep the run rate respectable during their seven over spells. Craig (3/28 from 7) managed three wickets, including a diving caught-and-bowled, while Ian (1/38 from 7) trapped Aaron Wright in front as he was looking to kick on.

At the second drinks break, the boys from Ulster were struggling along at 117/6 from 28 overs.

Zak Barnard (2/28 from 5) managed to grab two wickets with his seam-up deliveries, which included a first class leg-side stumping from Jono Boulton behind the sticks.

Towards the end of the innings, the ball was tossed to Mike Devine in an attempt to entice some risks from the batters. Suffice it to say that it was not Mike’s day with the leather, as his array of beamers and double-bouncers got dispatched at 9.5 per over in his 4 over spell. Fortunately, Nick van Woerkom was able to relieve Mike of his bowling woes to pick up the last two wickets of the innings, ending with highly respectable figures of 3/33 from 7.5. Liam Carruthers pitched in with one more over to be Groot Drak’s most economical bowler of the day with returns of 1/27 from 7.

The Irish had been skittled out for 198. With 40 overs to chase it down, most felt the score was about 50 runs light. With a formidable top 7, the Groot Drak lower order settled in to the bar to watch what would surely be stroll in the park. This, dear reader, is where it all went wrong.

Wessel Lourens (2), Conrad Schultz (1), Nick van Woerkom (6), Ian Nel (3 in two innings), Craig McNaught (0), Jono Boulton (1) and Mike Devine (1) could only manage 14 runs between them, which put enormous pressure on Mark Nel who was forced to watch despairingly as wickets were gifted to the opposition, while he stood man alone. Mention should be made of the contributions from Claude Chantler (18), Liam Carruthers (17) and Zak Barnard (14), but the only player to score meaningful runs was Mark Nel, who put on a classy 54 not out to save at least some blushes for Groot Drak.

As it was, the home side ended up being bowled out for just 139 in the 33rd over.

With the result out of the way, the almost 40 strong touring party from Ulster were treated to Richard von Hoesslin’s recollection of the club’s rich history before being ushered towards the clubhouse for a fines meeting. This was a highlight for many as the ladies and gents from Ulster showed their prowess across multiple alcohol groups before settling in for the spit braai and some red wine.

Despite the completely lopsided result, everyone had a blast before we were able to wish the Grasshoppers all the best with the rest of their tour.

Man of the match: Mark Nel & A. Shields

Match report by Craig McNaught

Groot Drak vs Scorpions – 09 December 2023

The dawn of a beautiful day after some summer rainfall set the scene for the last fixture of the year against our long-standing friends at their home ground in Stellenbosch.

The stand-in skipper, Jono Boulton, made his most important contribution up front by winning the toss and opting to bat on a wicket that looked like it may get tougher as the day progressed.

The Groot Drak openers started well despite a few early lofted shots from Claude Chantler giving the Scorpions some early hope. Conrad Schultz (11 from 9) – fresh off a recent 150 – had only just started firing when he was trapped dead in front for LBW bringing Mark Nel to the middle. Mark (12 from 30) managed to nudge the ball around before himself being trapped in front. Claude continued to battle through some tight bowling and challenging pitch conditions before being bowled for a gritty 36 from 52 balls. Enter Nick van Woerkom who looked dangerous from the start and quickly got to 31 from 33 balls before also being sacrificed to the dreaded LBW gods. The only other Drakie to add any decent runs was Wessel (25 from 37) who kept the scoreboard ticking along with the likes of Kudu, Alan, Matt and Ian adding some boundaries here and there but not staying at the crease long enough to do any real damage. 165 was the target set by Groot Drak which seemed about 20-30 runs short.

After a quick lunch in the shade – the Scorpions opening pair came in to face Matt Hughes and Nick – both reasonably new, but vital members to the Groot Drak family. Matt bowled beautifully and managed to complete his 7 overs for just 19 runs whilst getting a well deserved wicket. Nick was firing properly from the other end and managed to up-end 3 of the Scorpions batsmen whilst only conceding 8 runs in his 4 overs. Unfortunately Nick tweaked a well worked muscle during his last over but the hard work had been done up front and the Scorpions top 5 had all returned to the hut for just 23 runs. This included a run out from Alan that was said to be reminiscent of Jonty Rhodes’ famous diving run from backward point, with neither the dive nor the electric speed.

There was still a heap of work to do with with the likes of Haydn, Gavin, Hennie and Coachie still to bat and both Kudu (0/28 from 6) and Ian (0/7 from 2) needed to make sure they kept it tidy – a job they did very well. The spinning combination of Alan and Bruce was introduced just after lunch, much to the applause of Bruce’s daughters on the sidelines, which helped Bruce to claim 3 vital wickets. Both spinners kept the pressure on and the batsmen guessing due to the track offering plenty of turn. With just 3 overs to go and a run rate of about 10 an over needed – Claude (0/6 from 2) came on and bowled seam up to hold the Scorpions side to 136 after their allotted overs.

A few cold beers and a boerie roll were enjoyed amongst friends after the game and many memory shared of the 12 odd years of these fixtures being played. Thanks to all involved and we will see the Scorpions again next year!

Match report by Alan Sherratt

Groot Drak vs WPCC – 03 December 2023 (Alfie Cupido Memorial)

Certain dates are sacred in the Groot Drak FCA cricketing calendar. Our annual December fixture against Western Province Cricket Club is arguably the most significant, as it honours our ex-club-captain, Alfie Cupido, who passed away during this clash back in 2010.

After much deliberation, Lew and the WPCC brains trust elected to bowl first, with some heavy cloud cover looking enticing for the seam bowlers. Starting to get quite comfortable with his role as an opener, Marko Combrink opened the batting with an unknown quantity – new recruit, Conrad Schultz on debut for Drak.

The two started sedately. The ball was swinging and seaming, which restricted the run-scoring, but Marko and Conrad gave up very few chances while they got accustomed to the conditions. They both found fluidity after a handful of overs and scored freely once Dutch international, Mikkie Zwilling’s initial bowling spell was completed.

Both Marko and Conrad notched up half-centuries, taking Groot Drak past the 100 mark after just 12 overs. Marko fell in the over before drinks, scoring a well-paced 53 from 49. Conrad at this stage was dealing largely in boundaries.

Having been given the perfect platform, Alan Sherratt cameoed with 22 from 21, bringing Jonathan Boulton to the crease at number 4.

Jono (14 from 36) did his best to give the bulk of the strike to Conrad Schultz, who very quickly converted his half century into a classy hundred.

With precious few deliveries left, Matt Hughes was only required to face 4 balls, putting Conrad on strike for the final ball of the innings.

Conrad, now on 146 with just one ball to go, punched a straight drive over the bowler’s head to bring up an unbeaten 150 on debut. A more impressive first outing had surely not been seen at Groot Drak for many decades.

At an imposing run rate of 7.5 an over, Western Province would need 263 for victory.

Opening the bowling with miserly Matt Hughes (0/13 from 4), Johann Agenbag (1/25 from 4) picked up a wicket in his first over. With eight legitimate bowling options, the changes were wrung quick and fast. Morne Maritz (2/26 from 4) removed dangerous batters, Nic Slabber and Adriaan Steyn, with Zak Barnard (0/20 from 4) pushing up the hill.

Leg spin was introduced just before drinks in the form of Bruce Taylor (2/26 from 6) and Mike Devine (1/19 from 4). Both bowlers took wickets and limited the runs, which pushed the chance of a successful run chase further and further out of reach for the visitors.

Despite bowling largely to the tail, Alan Sherratt (3/22 from 5) was easily the pick of the bowlers, working over three batsmen with his leggies. The FCA have since launched an official investigation, as there are allegations that the pitch was, in fact, prepared by Alan himself.

In a rare showing, Craig McNaught (1/9 from 3) turned his arm over and also took four catches during the innings, sneaking himself out of TFC contention for the day.

In the end, the runs were just too many, as Alan’s two wickets in two balls drew a close to the WPCC innings, securing an eighty five run victory for Groot Drak.

Both teams paid their respects to Alfie on the pitch, before heading off to the clubhouse for fines. The evening was topped off perfectly with a braai and a few fireside beverages before parting ways.

Special thanks to Alan Sherratt, Morne Landman, Bruce Taylor and Johann Agenbag for their efforts to ensure that the game went ahead as planned.

Man of the match: Conrad Schultz
Match report by Craig McNaught

Groot Drak vs Claremont Gents – 26 November 2023

Our good mates from Claremont Gents paid us a visit on Sunday the 26th of November on a wind-still, scorcher of a day.
Groot Drak won the toss and had no hesitation in electing to bat on the club’s oldest, Western-most strip.

Some wily swing and seam bowling upfront from the Gents openers, Grant and Barry, caused all sorts of problems for the Groot Drak top order batters. Marko Combrink (9 from 4) fell early, followed shortly thereafter by Matt Hughes (7 from 11). It was looking to be a very low-scoring affair early on.

Fortunately Jaco Swarts and Ian Nel were able to hang around and see off the opening bowlers. The two put on a mammoth third wicket partnership of 133 runs and both batted superbly to steady the ship, each notching up half centuries at a good lick. With the daytime high reaching approximately 32 degrees, this was a seriously gutsy effort. Jaco played one late cut too many and eventually knicked off for a valiant 82 from 66 balls.

Ian started to score even more freely after the second drinks break, but unfortunately fell agonizingly short of what would have been a superb maiden hundred. His 91 from 81 had gone a long way to putting Groot Drak in a commanding position.

The middle-to-lower order failed to fire, with Morne Landman (12 from 16), Kudu Kotze (12 from 10), Craig McNaught (7 from 6), Jono Boulton (6* from 12) and Sean Petzer (2* from 4) never getting going. Nevertheless, the work had been done up front and Drak managed a formidable 254/7 from their 35 overs.

In just his second game for Groot Drak, Matt Hughes (0/19 from 5) opened the bowling with Joubert Kotze, who made a welcome return after a lengthy absence. Matt bowled with fire and should have picked up an early wicket as an outside edge flew through the hands of first slip. Pushing up the hill, Joubert bowled with varied accuracy, but landed a couple of unplayable deliveries, earning him two wickets for his trouble at a miserly rate of 3.25 per over.

With the sun pelting down, the spinners were introduced early to mitigate the fatigue factor. Bruce Taylor was the most expensive of the Drak bowlers, but his uncanny wicket-taking ability proved its worth for the umpteenth season on the bounce. Had he held on to a sharp caught-and-bowled chance, Bruce would have completed a spectacular five-for, but it was not to be. He would have to be content with 4/36 from 6 overs including a legendary caught-and-bowled that saw him horizontal while completing the catch.

At the other end, Sean ‘Sharapova’ Petzer bowled a solid spell of leg-spin that included a beauty of a delivery to clean bowl the dangerous Jacques at number three. Sean’s spell resulted in respectable figures of 2 for 25 from his 6 over allotment.

A hat-trick of crocodile catches snapped up by Morne Landman and a sharp run out from Matt Hughes had Claremont Gents reeling at 91 for 9 after 20 overs.

Because of the seemingly imminent end, the Groot Drak skipper opted against taking a second drinks break. This turned out to be a bad lapse in judgement. Garys, Reilly and Pentland-Smith, knuckled down and put on a grueling last wicket stand that lasted 15 overs and contributed 74 runs.

Bowling efforts from Kudu Kotze (0/18 from 4), Craig McNaught (0/6 from 3) and Marko Combrink (0/30 from 3) were fruitless. Jaco Swarts (1/13 from 3.4 overs) was the man who eventually took the final wicket, in the last over of the day, allowing the dehydrated players to, at last, quench their collective thirsts.

Even though the home team had managed a nearly 100 run victory, there were 22 happy faces on the field after the game. The bar and the pool got a good workout as the teams settled into a well-deserved fines meeting.

Thanks to Claremont Gents for what is always a memorable day with fantastic company.

Man of the match: Jaco Swarts and Ian Nel

Match report by Craig McNaught