Bowlers on top on another sunny Sunday

Rod Lyall 09/07/18

Batsmen traditionally prosper with the sun on their backs, bowlers toiling in the heat and fielders struggling on quick outfields. Yet those natural laws seemed to have been suspended in the Topklasse on Sunday, as only one of the sides batting first managed to pass 150.

The exception was on the artificial second ground at De Diepput where Quick Haag, boosted by another fine century from Jay Bista, reached 222 for six against leaders VOC Rotterdam.

Bista faced 130 deliveries in making his 124, hitting five fours and five sixes, and shared a vital third-wicket partnership of 138 with Geert Maarten Mol, who made 61. Fred Klaassen had started by snatching two early wickets for VOC, and finished with three for 22.

But Bista and Mol’s effort was matched by that of VOC’s Corey Rutgers and Max O’Dowd, who came together at 65 for two and added 145 in 27 overs to see their side to the brink of victory.

O’Dowd fell to change bowler Bob van Gigch just before the end, having made an 89-ball 85, but Rutgers saw VOC home in tandem with skipper Pieter Seelaar and finished on an unbeaten 86.

Just the width of the dividing path away, HBS Craeyenhout maintained the pressure on the leaders by holding on to take a tight, low-scoring match against HCC by just 15 runs.

Put in by Mark Jonkman, HBS were dismissed for 138, with Jaron Morgan top-scoring with 41 as the HCC bowlers worked their way through a normally-prolific top order; it may not have been as dramatic as the collapse when the two sides met in May, but Hidde Overdijk took three for 15 and Ali Ahmed Qasim, Bryce Street and Jonkman himself picked up two wickets apiece.

Wessel Coster quickly achieved a double breakthrough when HCC replied, and although opener Ryan Ninan made 29 wickets continued to fall at regular intervals. Farshad Khan was again the main wicket-taker with four for 26, and at 90 for seven the outcome seemed settled.

But Douwe Walhain and Joost van Kessel provided some late resistance, and the issue remained in doubt until Van Kessel was run out for 16 with 15 still needed. Laurens Lagas fell soon afterwards, and HBS had secured a hard-fought victory.

The bowlers were also on top, at least until the innings break, at Het Loopveld West, where ACC lost two wickets in as many overs against VRA Amsterdam and never recovered. Rehmat Zulfiqar batted doggedly for a 79-ball 31 and Anis Raza took over after his departure, but with spinners Leon Turmaine and Adeel Raja taking three for 16 and two for 10 respectively, the home side could only manage 112, made in 43 overs.

Eric Szwarczynski and Daan ter Braak gave their side a great start with an opening stand of 109 – VRA’s best of the season so far – and both posted half-centuries before Ter Braak fell for 52 with just four needed for victory, Szwarczynski finishing on 50 not out as VRA won by eight wickets.

At Thurlede, Excelsior ‘20’s unhappy run continued as they were bowled out for 81 by a determined Dosti United attack in which overseas players Anees Davids and Taruwar Kohli claimed four for 17 and four for 21 respectively.

Skipper Tom Heggelman made 18, but Waheed Masood’s dismissal of Lorenzo Ingram for a duck was a setback from which the defending champions were unable to recover.

Heggelman and Sohail Bhatti hit back when Dosti replied, however, and at 38 for four it seemed possible that the Amsterdam side, too, might crumble.

But Davids now joined Kohli and the crease, and they put on the 44 runs needed, Kohli finishing on 32 and Davids on 23 to give Dosti a six-wicket victory.

The prevailing pattern of the day was also in force at Sportpark Bermweg, where Michael Pollard contributed half of Sparta 1888’s total with a defiant 102-ball 74, sharing important late partnerships with Usman Ishfaq and Usman Saleem.

Punjab Rotterdam captain Suleiman Tariq led from the front with three wickets for 23, his victims being Warren Bell, Tim de Kok and Mudassar Bukhari, while seamer Mubashar Hussain and spinners Barend Vorster and Stef Myburgh picked up two wickets each as Sparta were all out for 147.

Openers Myburgh and Ali Raza then made light of conditions at the Bermweg, often seen as a batsman’s nightmare, as they raced to a ten-wicket victory for Punjab, taking just 29.4 overs to knock off the runs. Myburgh finished on 85 and Raza on 59, Punjab’s second victory of the season, like the first, sealed by an utterly dominant opening stand.

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