Cobras StormersWow, a good sporting weekend this past one has been! Started off with the brilliant Cape Cobras versus the Chevrolet Warriors Pro20 game and then ended off with the Stormers vs. Saracens rugby clash at Newlands!

Friday night’s Pro20 game was the season opener for the Nashua Cape Cobras and their opponents for the evening was the Chevrolet Warriors, the traditional whipping boys of the competition. Sahara Park Newlands was the venue, thus a nice change of direction following work for me. However, traffic across Main Road turned out to be a bitch as always, so the end was result that after finally securing parking, I only arrived at the stadium just after the first couple of balls had already been bowled, much to the dismay of Ryan who had to come out to hand me my ticket of course!

The stands were pretty packed (11 952 people in fact!) and the game got off to a quick and brilliant starts, with the Cobras literally smashing the ball around left, right and center! Fielding from the Warriors was a little lax, a couple of catches dropped here and there, and by the end of a scintillating 20 overs (well okay, the last two overs weren’t exactly scintillating) our boys had posted an impressive total of 207 on the board, with the loss of only two wickets! Henry Davids put in a superb 112 off only 48 balls, leaving everyone in the stands under the impression that at half time, this game was already well and truly over!

But boy were we wrong.

The Warriors came out blazing just as hard as we had done, with Robin Peterson smacking a quick 51 off 29 balls, Colin Ingram weighing in with 84 off 52 balls and then Davey Jacobs following ship with 49 off 27 balls, setting us up for a nail biting final over in which the Warriors only needed 14 runs to win with a LOT of wickets still in hand. However, thankfully Langeveldt had managed to take the two big hitters out in successive balls the previous over, meaning that by the time we arrived at the last ball of the match, Warriors still needed six runs to win, a doable but slightly harder feat now that there wasn’t a batsman with his eye in on the pitch.

And that’s how it ended, with the warriors only managing a run off the last ball and ending up with 203 for 5, giving our boys victory by four runs.

It was an absolutely fantastic evening of big hitting with sixes and fours being hit everywhere you looked, making it one of the better Pro20 games I’ve seen in quite some time. Oh, and if that wasn’t enough entertainment, we then still had the pleasure of seeing two fully grown men in bunny rabbit suits invade the pitch and lead the security staff in a mad hat chase that seemed straight out of a cartoon show. :)

(Oh, and Graeme Smith made an appearance too, but he hardly counts as entertaining now does he? Which brings me to another point. What’s the point of employing dancing girls if every time they stand up after a boundary has been hit or a wicket taken if you are just going to blow smoke in their faces and blind them with flashing lights. Peculiar, I know. At least Craig de Sousa made up for it by entertaining us on the decks – not he got all that much play time in of course…)

Oh, and talking of dancing girls, I was understandably disappointed to learn that on Sunday, for the Stormers vs. Saracens clash, no dancing girls were to partake, something pretty strange in my opinion because surely just like the rugby players, these girls too have to warm up?

Oh well, no loss because the rugby proved to be just as scintillating in the end. At the beginning we were a bit nervous about the local boys’ chances seeing as Saracens are coming off a mid-season break, meaning the English buggers under old Eddie Jones and Jake White are pretty much match fit and hungry for the ball, whereas our boys have yet to even sniff a bit of real competition. However, those fears were soon laid to rest as right from the get go, our boys went in hard and although they conceded a lucky first try to a rather unfortunate bounce of the ball, they went on from there to easy control the game, taking it in the end by 43 points to Saracen’s 33.

Place kicking from both sides were spot on, and the pre-game injury to Jantjies meant that much to my appreciation, Newlands’ original prancing pony, Percy Montgomery took center stage in the starting lineup for the Stormers for a change. However, I did kind of miss the incredible Schalk’s presences, so I can’t wait for him to get match fit again. Oh, and Luke ‘Puke’ Watson was there as well, and let me tell you, the crowd certainly didn’t let up on their boos whenever he laid hands on the ball, changing the familiar battle cry of ‘Luuuuuuuuke’ to something far more befitting, ‘Puuuuuuuke’. (That said, he did actually have a blinder of a game mind you. Still you can’t hide the fact that he seems intent on digging his own grave here at Newlands.)

All in all the game was a surprisingly hard affair for a practice match, with a lot of bone crunching tackles and little scuffles off the ball. The starting lineup for the Stormers played an absolutely excellent game, but I am a little worried in the rather apparent dip in strength once the reserves start coming on.

Oh, and someone had better teach our boys to scrum and fast! :)