In a much-anticipated midweek special, the Pumas hosted the touring English Royal Artillery Gunners this past Thursday at Rondebosch Cricket Club. Some serious discipline was shown by both teams in the pre-match warm ups, with the Gunners running all manner of drills in the field (for what felt like days), and the Pumas very admirably showing restraint in avoiding the brandy and restricting their "day off work" pre-match liquid intake to beer only. Top class from both sides.
The toss was had and the Pumas opted to head out into the midday sun, giving the visitors the start with the bat. Having the fear of The Empire properly put in them by witnessing the Gunners' warm-up drills, something must have clicked in the Pumas bowling attack, as they bowled dot after dot, over after over, forcing the visitors to steal sneaky singles where available and ultimately restricting them to 50 odd for 3 at drinks, with opener D. Lee (36) being the only steady run scorer for the Gunners up until that point. J. Macrae (26) stepped in a little later and got the board ticking nicely until falling to a catch of Garth. With the visitors on 114 for 6 in the 27th, the Pumas figured they had it in the bag. Out strode K. Murphey, battle hardened gaze, guns tattooed like murder weapons. The rest of the Gunners innings is perhaps too violent to post here, so we'll simply leave it at them ending on 197 for 8 after the 35, including a stunning 59 off 24 balls by Murphey and a flamboyant 5 wicket haul by Garth.
As it turned out, the wicket on the day was very much a bowler's dream, which the Pumas opening bats quickly realised as the Gunners ticked the overs column 6 times without conceding anything more than a bye, scalping two Pumas along the way. Cries for damage control resounded from the Pumas camp, and it was up to Shukri (43) and Michael (42) in the middle to hunker down and get the Pumas back on track, which they did in sterling form, culminating in a solid 80 run partnership. The 28th over saw G. Wiseman trim the Pumas attack by 3 and very similar to the visitors the Pumas found themselves on 104 for 6 in the 28th (revenge is a bitter pill indeed). A quick and classy smash by Gareth (24) had the Pumas standing, cheering and spilling their drinks from the side-lines, but with not much wag in the tail the last of the runs came slow and the wickets tumbled quickly, leaving the hosts on 143 for 9 after 35, 50 odd short of the prize.
N. Schofield 6-2-16-1
S. Booth 7-3-16-3
W. Keyser 7-0-22-0
G. Wiseman 3-1-4-3
The game was followed by a fantastic fine session with plenty of banter and story-telling of the Gunners "night before" at a well-known Cape Town establishment and the debauchery that followed. The Pumas would like to give a special thanks to the Gunners for fitting us into their tour and for playing with such class. All the best with the remainder of your tour, perhaps we'll meet again across the pond 😉🏏 Match Summary courtesy of P.J Fisher.