The Topklasse goes gently into hibernation

Rod Lyall 27/08/18

It was the time of year on Sunday when new names appear in Topklasse scorecards and established names appear in new roles as with all the major issues settled clubs give younger players a chance to demonstrate what they can do.

As luck would have it, every match pitted teams against their nearest rivals, and the result was a couple of adjustments in the final ordering of the table.

VRA Amsterdam’s victory over champions VOC Rotterdam in the Amsterdamse Bos may not have produced any change in the rankings, but it did confirm that with a little more consistency the home side could have run the Rotterdammers closer than in fact they managed.

Batting first, VRA took full advantage of the absence of Fred Klaassen and the decision of Pieter Seelaar not to take the ball himself or to give it to Max O’Dowd, and ran up a resounding 273 for five. Vikram Singh (74) and Dan ter Braak gave them an excellent start with a stand of 97, and after Singh departed having made his highest Topklasse score Ben Cooper contributed 75 and Eric Szwarczynski an unbeaten 49.

There were two wickets apiece for Umar Baker and, remarkably, international wicketkeeper Scott Edwards, who completed a useful 10-over spell.

Quirijn Gunning removed Max O’Dowd in his first over and Sebastiaan van Lent in his second, but then Dirk van Baren (41) and Edwards (78) contributed a third-wicket stand of 107. Both fell to Adeel Raja, however, and thereafter the innings fell away quickly as with two batsmen absent through injury VOC were dismissed for 151, Raja finishing with three for 29.

At Craeyenhout, HBS claimed third place with a comprehensive 175-run win over Excelsior ‘20, who ended their season with another dramatic collapse.

Chasing an HBS total of 244 in which Tobias Visée contributed a characteristic 31-ball 69 and Wesley Barresi, again batting at eight, a 46-ball 65, Excelsior were routed by seamer Navjit Singh, who took six for 17 in just 28 deliveries as the Schiedammers were dismissed for 60.

Earlier, Tom Heggelman had a season’s-best return of four for 37 and Lorenzo Ingram claimed three for 56, but the batsmen had no answer to Singh, who ensured that his side jumped ahead of the former champions.

HCC,, too, leaped over of their nearest rivals, Dosti United Amsterdam with a 142-run victory at De Diepput, and moved into fifth place.

Their total of 272 for six, built on a 129-run second-wicket stand between Ryan Ninan (73) and Tonny Staal (68) and extended by 45 from Bryce Street and 32 not out from Hidde Overdijk, always seemed likely to be beyond the reach of Dosti, for whom Mohammad Hafeez took four for 41 and thus confirmed his position as the season’s leading wicket-taker.

Rahil Ahmed led the chase with an aggressive 48, but once he and Hafeez (32) had gone the innings folded fairly quickly, and Dosti were all out for 130. Reinier Bijloos was another who achieved his best figures of the season with five for 35.

The pattern of chasing sides falling short was repeated in both the remaining matches, with ACC beating Sparta 1888 at Sportpark Bermweg and Quick Haag inflicting a final defeat on already-relegated Punjab Rotterdam at Het Zomercomplex.

Opener Rehmat Zulfiqar capped a fine season with 77 and Sikander Zulfiqar and Shirase Rasool chipped in with 35 and 30 respectively as ACC posted 211 for eight, Faisal Iqbal the best of the Sparta bowlers – who were missing both Mudassar Bukhari and Warren Bell – with four for 50.

Only Atse Buurman batted with any conviction for Sparta, and despite his 71-ball 74 the home side were all out for 120, with Chris Knoll taking four for 23 for ACC.

Punjab did rather better against Quick Haag, but their total of 175 was still 58 runs short of Quick’s 233 all out.

Sean Davey top-scored for Quick, and he and Geert Maarten Mol (41) put on 120 for the third wicket, while Punjab skipper Suleiman Tariq took three for 41.

Davey’s dismissal of Stef Myburgh off the first ball of the Punjab reply was a huge blow, and although Ali Raza made 35 and Momeen Latif 31, the Rotterdammers never seemed likely to mount a successful chase.

Veteran returnee Edgar Schiferli claimed three for 22, taking his tally of wickets in the top flight to 469 and proving that he is still a force to be reckoned with.

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