Excelsior take the title as the relegation battle goes all the way

Rod Lyall 19/08/19

Excelsior ‘20 clinched their third national championship in four years – and the twelfth in the club’s history – at Sportpark Drieburg on Sunday, and they did it in utterly convincing fashion, bowling out a greatly weakened Dosti United side for 61 and going on to win by 7 wickets.

Tom Heggelman’s side had fought their way to the brink of the title in recent weeks by defending modest totals, but this time they took immediate command of a match after Vinoo Tewarie had won the toss and elected to bat.

The game had been reduced to 45 overs after a morning of rain, but Excelsior needed only 31 and a half overs to run through a Dosti team in which Kuldeep Diwan was the only survivor of four overseas players and which was further depleted by the absence of injured key allrounder Anees Davids.

Rens van Troost did much of the early damage, taking four wickets for 11 in nine overs, and then Heggelman himself ran through the tail to finish with three for 11.

Only three Dosti players – Rahil Ahmed, Saber Zakhil and Waheed Masood – managed to reach double figures, Masood top-scoring with an unbeaten 16.

There was a brief stumble when Excelsior replied, two quick wickets followed by a third when 23 were still needed, but Brenton Parchment and Lenert van Wyk saw their side safely home with more than 27 overs remaining.

HCC consolidated their position as runners-up by beating VOC Rotterdam at De Diepput, but they had some nervous moments as they chased a seemingly-straightforward target of 158 and finally won by just two wickets.

Olivier Klaus, who had earlier taken three for 32 as VOC were dismissed for 157, was the hero at the end, hitting a four and a six to steer his side to victory.

Corey Rutgers top-scored for VOC with 46, while Matt Hay and Bharat Itagi picked up two wickets apiece.

The latter pair then shared a half-century partnership for the sixth wicket after HCC were in difficulties at 89 for five, Itagi matching Rutgers’ score and Hay making 35.

VOC were kept in the game by a surprising spell of bowling from Scott Edwards, better known as the national team’s wicketkeeper, who removed both Itagi and Hay and claimed three for 14 despite Klaus having the final word.

Apart from Excelsior’s title-winning effort the most significant match of the day was at Nieuw Hanenburg, where relegation-threatened Quick Haag were at home to their nearest rivals, Sparta 1888.

Batting first, Quick were given a great start by Jay Bista, who hit a 35-ball 54 which included five fours and four sixes.

Bob van Gigch was almost as effective, making 58 from 43 balls with four fours and four sixes, and a third half-century, from Jeroen Brand, saw the home side to 218 for four at one stage.

But then Sparta skipper Joost Martijn Snoep struck back, taking four for 21, and with Mudassar Bukhari claiming four for 47 Quick subsided to 258 all out.

Sparta’s response began steadily, and the innings was largely held together by Andrew Fletcher, whose 92-ball 78 was his best score of the season, but with wickets falling at the other end he was unable to keep his side up with the required rate.

Then Bista, having previously had Atse Buurman caught behind, settled the issue, bowling Fletcher and taking four more wickets, three of them outstanding catches off his own bowling to finish with six for 30 as Sparta were all out for 194.

The most exciting finish of the day came in the Amsterdamse Bos, where it took a two off the final delivery to give Voorburg a three-wicket victory over VRA Amsterdam in a match they had seemed certain to lose.

They were chasing VRA’s total of 218 for seven in a game reduced to 43 overs, a total which the Amsterdammers owed very largely to opener Vikram Singh’s 51 and captain Peter Borren’s 72-ball 87 not out.

When Haseeb Gul Mia ripped through Voorburg’s vulnerable top order and Borren chipped in to reduce the visitors to 47 for four a VRA win appeared the likely outcome, but Nic Smit answered Borren’s innings with an unbeaten 87 of his own, taking just five more deliveries, and sharing a stand of 77 with Philippe Boissevain (37).
Boissevain fell with 31 still needed, and although Smit and Viv Kingma stood firm 16 were needed from Borren’s final over.

Smit took nine off the first three balls, and then, unperturbed, Kingma hit a succession of twos to see his side home by the narrowest of margins.

At De Diepput’s second ground ACC moved back into third place by virtue of a 15-run victory over HBS Craeyenhout, thanks to 57 by Brady Barends, promoted to open the innings, and a stand of 108 between brothers Saqib and Sikander Zulfiqar, who made 80 not out and 70 respectively.

This took ACC to 249 for four from their 44 overs in another rain-reduced game, and that proved just enough to hold off HBS, who had Tobias Visée back in the side but missed Wesley Barresi.

Aryan Kumar removed Visée for 17, and although Zac Elkin made 34 it was left to Navjit Singh to keep HBS’s hopes alive with his 59.

But then Devanshu Arya clinched the game for ACC by removing Singh and running through the rest of the batting, ending with four for 36. Sikander Zulfiqar took three for 29 and HBS were dismissed for 234 in the 40th over.

The highlights of next week’s final round will be the matches between Sparta 1888 and HCC at Sportpark Bermweg and between Voorburg and Quick Haag at Westvliet, the outcomes of which will determine which of Sparta and Quick will play in the Hoofdklasse next season.

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