Rod Lyall 06/05/19
The opening weekend of the 2019 Topklasse campaign turned out to be as incident-filled as some seasons might not manage in the first month, as freezing cold, intermittent rain and occasional bursts of sunshine provided the context for some thoroughly entertaining cricket.
It also revealed the true extent of the New Order created by the collapse of the KNCB’s attempts to limit the number of foreign players per team, which is less than some may have feared but still more than many will have hoped.
With three matches played on Saturday and the remaining two on Sunday, only one game proved free of the influence of Messrs Duckworth, Lewis and Stern, with ACC dismissing Amstelveen rivals VRA for 139 at Het Loopveld on Sunday and knocking off the runs in 36.4 overs for the loss of three wickets.
Here it was two local youngsters who made all the difference: seamer Aryan Kumar took four for 28 as VRA collapsed to 38 for six at one stage, and then Shirase Rasool hit a maiden Topklasse half-century, making 56 on the way to ACC’s comprehensive victory.
Top-scorer for VRA was former national captain Peter Borren, whose 81 constituted an almost single-handed attempt to rescue his side; keeper Mitch Lees, who shared in a 59-run seventh-wicket stand, was the only other player to reach double figures.
The other Sunday game was a fluctuating affair which featured contrasting unbeaten centuries by opener Adam Wiffin for HCC and Wesley Barresi for HBS.
Batting throughout his side’s innings, Wiffin made 135 not out from 128 deliveries, hitting 11 fours and three sixes. Farshad Khan claimed three wickets for HBS and Julian de Mey two, and at 135 for five it seemed as if HCC might struggle to get far past 200.
But then Matt Hay chipped in with 30 in a sixth-wicket stand of 64, and as Wiffin cut loose in the closing stages he was well supported by Ali Ahmad Qasim, and HCC finished with 246 for seven.
Qasim and Hidde Overdijk grabbed three early wickets when HBS replied, but with the target reduced to 236 from 45 overs after two brief interruptions for rain, Navjit Singh (55) shared a partnership of 138 with Barresi, who dominated the bowling from the time he arrived at the crease, hitting a match-winning 93-ball 126 not out, which included 11 fours and five sixes, and HBS took the points with eight deliveries remaining.
The closest match of the weekend was at Hazelaarweg on Saturday, where overnight rain caused the match between VOC and Dosti to be reduced to 31 overs before the start. An interruption during the VOC innings caused a further reduction to 28 overs, from which the home side made 143 for seven.
Max O’Dowd gave them a solid start with 45, and Pieter Seelaar contributed a not-out 38 from just 23 balls, while Kuldeep Diwan, one of Dosti’s four overseas players, took four for 16.
The Dosti target was adjusted to 150, and VOC appeared to have the upper hand when Rahil Ahmed and Taruwar Kohli were both dismissed by the time 20 was on the board.
But skipper Vinoo Tewarie anchored the innings with 47 not out, and with smaller contributions from Amitoze Singh and Diwan, they had reached 129 for five in 25.1 overs when further rain brought an end to proceedings.
That was just one run ahead of the DLS par score at that stage, and thus Dosti were the winners by the narrowest of margins.
Fielding a side with no fewer than six overseas players, three of them the bearers of Dutch passports, Voorburg demonstrated the power of their batting line-up by compiling 229 for three in their 47 overs, with opener Matt Smit making 110 before he fell to the final ball of the innings.The rain also brought a premature end at Westvliet, but in this case promoted side Voorburg had established an unambiguous advantage over Sparta 1888.
He shared in stands of 124 with Noah Croes (59) and 77 with Steve Nottle (39 not out), while the only successful Sparta bowlers were Joost-Martijn Snoep with two wickets and Usman Saleem with one.
Pace man Brandon Glover then removed Andrew Fletcher in the first over of Sparta’s reply, and although Ali Raza hit a brisk 32 and Tim de Kok a patient 33, and the target was eventually reduced to 225 off 44 overs after another shower, it was only former international Mudassar Bukhari who showed any real sign of keeping his side in the game.
When he was bowled by Smit for 47 to make it 176 for seven the game was effectively over, and at 190 for nine after 42 overs when the rain descended again, Sparta lost by 25 runs. The wickets were shared, with two apiece for Glover, Yasir Hamid, Stef Mulder and Clayton Floyd.
The rain had also left its mark on Thurlede, where the match between Excelsior ’20 and Quick Haag was reduced to 37 overs before the start.
Put in to bat, Quick struggled against the Excelsior attack, with West Indian international Brenton Parchment taking three for 35 on his Topklasse debut and only Geert Maarten Mol (22) among the top order showing any real resistance.
New skipper Daan Vierling (24) and Thijs van Schelven (29 not out) managed to get their side up to 146 for seven, but this never seemed likely to be enough, even in difficult conditions for batting.
At 56 for four, with key batsman Lorenzo Ingram among those back in the dug-out, Excelsior were making heavy weather of the chase, but Parchment’s 77-ball 49 was the decisive factor, and in a low-scoring game his 55-run stand with David Woutersen (31) laid the foundation for the win.
By the time Parchment fell to Van Schelven only five runs were needed, and Rens van Troost and Gijs Kroesen saw their side home by four wickets with 14 deliveries to spare.