Rod Lyall 17/02/20
Although there were suggestions a few weeks ago that the Topklasse might be in for a radical overhaul, in the end wiser counsels appear to have prevailed – for now, at least – and the 2020 season will be for most part closely resemble its immediate predecessors.
The schedule released by the KNCB last week provides for an 18-round round robin among ten teams, with no play-offs or finals.
The only differences from last season (apart from the obvious one that Quick Haag will be playing in the Hoofdklasse and will be replaced by Hoofdklasse champions Punjab Rotterdam) are comparatively minor: for the first time in many years there will not be a full Topklasse round on Pentecost Monday, although Dosti Amsterdam will be at home to Voorburg on that day.
The other innovation is that there will be a game between VOC Rotterdam and HBS Craeyenhout on Liberation Day, Tuesday, 5 May, an arrangement necessitated by the fact that both clubs will be engaged in the European Cricket League at La Manga on 6 June, the day their Topklasse fixture would otherwise have been in the programme.
As usual, top division matches will generally be played on Saturdays for the first seven weeks of the season, allowing youth competitions to run on Sundays until the schools break up for the summer holidays, and will then move to Sundays from 21 June.
No allowance has been made for the Dutch national side’s commitments from mid-June until the second week of July: three rounds of Topklasse matches are scheduled to be played during that period.
The competition will kick off on 2 May, with champions Excelsior ’20 at home to Voorburg, while VRA Amsterdam will entertain HCC, Dosti Amsterdam will play promoted Punjab, HBS Craeyenhout will take on Sparta 1888, and VOC will play ACC.
The transfer market appears to have been unusually busy over the winter, and with new overseas signings and a few retirements it will be as difficult as ever to predict the sides’ strengths and weaknesses.
That, however, is a matter to which we shall return in due course.