Rod Lyall 26/08/19
While Topklasse champions Excelsior ’20 performed their lap of honour at Thurlede on Sunday, most of the interest outside Schiedam centred on Capelle aan den Ijssel and Voorburg, where Sparta 1888 and Quick Haag were fighting to avoid relegation.
Having lost the toss at Sportpark Bermweg, Sparta made a great start against HCC, removing Tonny Staal and, crucially, Bryce Street with just 19 runs on the board.
But Adam Wiffen and Boris Gorlee restored HCC’s fortunes with a third-wicket stand of 71, and after Gorlee departed for 34 Wiffen (64) and Bharat Itagi (51) carried the total on to 174.
Even so, it looked as if HCC might struggle to get past 200 until Douwe Walhain and Olivier Klaus added a brisk 40 for the ninth wicket to get their side up to 237 for eight, a pretty imposing target at the Bermweg.
Martijn Snoep took three for 40 for Sparta, including the key wickets of Street and Itagi, while Andrew Fletcher claimed three for 59.
Sparta needed a solid start in reply, but Street and Ali Ahmed Qasim quickly accounted for the openers, and it was left to Tim de Kok and Mudassar Bukhari to work the side back into the game with a third-wicket stand of 72.
Once De Kok departed for 29, however, only Bukhari stood firm, taking 67 deliveries to reach his half-century as partners came and went.
The asking rate had been creeping upwards, but Bukhari now accelerated the scoring as the wickets continued to fall, Street taking four for 30 and Itagi three for 45.
Bukhari reached his century, the fourth of his career in the top flight and his first for Sparta, with nine wickets down, and when he was last out, caught by Walhain off Itagi’s bowling for 103, Sparta were still 36 short of HCC’s total.
By that time, however, it had become apparent that the relegation threat had disappeared, thanks to Quick Haag’s defeat by Voorburg at Westvliet.
The home side had reserved one of their more convincing batting performances of the season for their final game, reaching 175 for two before collapsing to 210 for nine.
Noah Croes led the way, sharing stands of 80 for the first wicket with Tom de Grooth (41) and 91 for the third with Nic Smit (46) before, with partners and overs rapidly disappearing, he was run out for 97 just one over from the end, looking to retain the strike and give himself a chance of reaching his second Topklasse century.
Quick were handicapped by the withdrawal from their attack of Prathamesh Dake, suffering from a hamstring injury, after he had bowled only three and a half overs, and it was Jeroen Brand who was the main wicket-taker with three for 43.
Jay Bista took two for 22 in ten extremely tight overs while Edgar Schiferli, back in the top flight for the first time this season, bowled a double wicket maiden at the end.
Brandon Glover and Viv Kingma produced hostile spells when Quick replied – the latter’s marred by a succession of no-balls – and even Jay Bista was unable to get his side off to its usual commanding start.
Glover eventually had him caught behind for 34, and although Geert Maarten Mol (31) and Brand (26) almost doubled the total in a fourth-wicket partnership, once Philippe Boissevain and Nic Smit came into the attack Quick seemed to have no answer.
Boissevain finished with four for 20 and Smit three for 16 as Quick were dismissed for 143, a result which ensured that they would be playing in the Hoofdklasse next season.
Far removed from any anxieties about relegation, Excelsior ‘20 completed their campaign with a 59-run victory over VRA Amsterdam at Thurlede.
The Amsterdam side had, of course, spent the first half of the season in the wooden spoon position themselves, but a rally thereafter had taken them to safety.
Sunday saw their opponents stage a rally of their own, when having been reduced to 112 for six, they were able to almost double their total thanks to a somewhat improbable stand of 90 between Sohail Bhatti, promoted to number six and celebrating the occasion with a maiden half-century, and David Woutersen, who made 32.
Bhatti was eventually dismissed by Brandon Graber for 54, but it was Ben Cooper who was VRA’s most successful bowler with three for 51.
VRA were never really in the hunt as they tried to chase down Excelsior’s 221 for nine, and although Vikram Singh made 28, Cooper 35 and Peter Borren 40, they were dismissed for 162, Lorenzo Ingram taking three for 19 for the champions.
There was another rally and another maiden demi-centurion at Hazelaarweg, where VOC Rotterdam’s tail staged a considerably more remarkable comeback against HBS Craeyenhout.
Berend Westdijk, Zak Gibson and Julian de Mey had combined to reduce the Rotterdam side, who had perhaps celebrated their previous day’s T20 Cup final victory over the same opponents a little too thoroughly, to 92 for eight, but then Bobby Hanif, in company first with Corey Rutgers and then with David Mullett, managed to get them up to 183 before Sharn Gomes removed him for a defiant 56.
Hanif then removed danger-man Tobias Visée for just three, but although two wickets for Ramdas Upadhyaya had HBS briefly in trouble at 37 for three, a fourth-wicket partnership of 138 between Zac Elkin (77 not out from 66 deliveries) and Gomes (71 from 55) took the Craeyenhout side to within nine runs of victory, and they completed the six-wicket win with more than 25 overs to spare.
At Het Loopveld ACC retained third place on the table by beating Dosti United by 35 runs.
Saqib Zulfiqar top-scored with 67, sharing a third-wicket stand of 77 with Shirase Rasool (36) and then brother Sikander held the middle and lower order together as Kuldeep Diwan cemented his position as the league’s leading wicket-taker with four for 15, bringing his tally for the season to 36 in just 14 games, and Saber Zakhil chipped in with three for 29 as ACC were dismissed for 196.
Rahil Ahmed and Vinoo Tewarie gave Dosti a great start with an opening stand of 84, but once Tewarie was trapped in front by Saqib Zulfiqar the innings again subsided alarmingly.
Four ducks, three of them the work of Brady Barends, saw Dosti slump to 101 for five, and when Ahmed became Barends’ fourth victim and departed for 58, it was left to Diwan (26) and Arief Hoseinbaks (16) to carry on the battle.
The side was eventually dismissed for 161, Barends finishing with four for 34 and Saqib Zulfiqar claiming three for 29.