Stubbs steers Excelsior to victory as HCC and HBS set out their stall

Rod Lyall 02/05/2021

Excelsior’s new South African (and Dutch passport-holding) recruit Tristan Stubbs announced his arrival on Saturday with a mature knock of 79 not out to guide his side to a six-wicket victory over Voorburg at Thurlede.

Coming to the wicket with Excelsior perilously placed at 39 for two (effectively for three because Tom Heggelman had been forced to retire with a hamstring injury), Stubbs soon lost initial partner Joost Kroesen, but then shared in a stand of 75 with Sanjit Shankar (28) which turned the game the Schiedam side’s way.

Unfazed by an attack which included five Dutch international bowlers, he scored at better than a run a ball for much of his innings, and was well supported by Niels Etman once Shankar had gone with 55 still required.

Etman’s solid 19 not out was a vital contribution, but it was Stubbs who ultimately decided the issue, twice hitting Philippe Boisevain for six and then, with the scores level, smacking another off Logan van Beek; in all, he faced 75 deliveries and hit five fours and four sixes.

Excelsior’s target was a relatively modest one, as Voorburg had found the Thurlede going tough after being put in to bat and could only manage 172 for six off their 50 overs.

Against a steady attack they struggled to get the scoring rate up towards three an over, and it was only in the closing stages, as Tom de Grooth and Boissevain added 52 for the seventh wicket, that they looked like setting a challenging total.

Sybrand Engelbrecht top-scored for Voorburg with 31 before he was bowled by Umar Baker, the most successful of Excelsior’s bowlers with three for 29.

On a day of generally one-sided encounters last year’ title-winners-that-weren’t, HCC, made their intentions clear by overpowering a youthful ACC at Het Loopveld.

Skipper Tonny Staal and fellow-opener Musa Nadeem Ahmad raced to 45 off the first five overs, and they had reached 74 in the twelfth before Mies van Vliet removed Ahmad for 25.

This brought little relief for the ACC attack as Staal continued in tandem with Boris Gorlee, making a 63-ball 69 before edging a Chris Knoll delivery to keeper Stephan Hannema.

Gorlee went on to make 60, Hidde Overdijk (33) in another half-century stand, and although ACC fought hard to contain the visitors in the closing stages a total of 254 for six always seemed likely to be beyond the Amsterdammers.

The task became impossible when they quickly found themselves on 8 for three, and despite a dogged captain’s innings from Anis Raza, last man out for 36, they could do no better than 77, Clayton Floyd picking up the first five-wicket haul of the season with five for 18.

At Craeyenhout, HBS made even shorter work of Sparta 1888 after new skipper Ferdi Vink won the toss and inserted the visiting side.

He further seized the initiative by removing Craig Ambrose with the first ball of the second over, and thereafter HBS never took their foot off the pedal, dismissing Sparta for 102 and then knocking off the runs for the loss of just one wicket in 19.4 overs.

Another South African with a Dutch passport, pace man Ryan Klein, took three for 17, his victims including the dangerous Ali Raza and Mudassar Bukhari, and there were two wickets apiece for Vink, Sander Geenevasen and Julian de Mey.

It seemed at one stage that Sparta’s total might have been a good deal lower, but rearguard action from Manminder Singh, Joost-Martijn Snoep and Usman Saleem at least got them past the hundred mark.

Tobias Visée started in his most destructive mode, making 29 from 18 deliveries with three fours and two sixes before falling to Bukhari, but Reece Mason (41 not out) and Navjit Singh (26 not out) saw their side home without further alarums.

A damp pitch caused a delayed start at Hazelaarweg, and with no hour’s grace under the KNCB’s COVID regulations, the match between VOC Rotterdam and VRA Amsterdam was cut to 47 overs.

Young Ashir Abid gave his side a perfect start by bowling Max O’Dowd before he had scored, but Scott Edwards and Tim de Kok then set about the attack, racing to 73 for one by the end of the 13th over.

When De Kok had made 38 he went after left-arm spinner Luke Hartsink and was caught by Ben Cooper at mid-on, and when Edwards followed in the next over, caught behind for 43 by Mitch Lees off Peter Borren’s bowling, VOC were forced to rebuild.

Pieter Seelaar and Dirk van Baren steadied things for a time, but it was left to Arnav Jain to marshal the lower order, and his 33, supported by Corey Rutgers and Jelte Schoonheim, enabled the Rotterdammers to reach a fairly testing 192 for nine.

Helped by some wayward bowling from Pierce Fletcher and Bobby Hanif, Vikram Singh and Zamaan Khan gave VRA a promising start, but once Singh had fallen to Hanif with the total on 39 an experimental and pretty inexperienced batting line-up struggled against Hanif’s seam and Jain’s spin.

When Singh, Cooper and Borren manage 18 between them VRA generally fall short, and as the score slid to 67 for seven it seemed that VOC were on their way to a thumping victory.

Hanif had picked up four for 31 and Jain, bowling unchanged, took three for 31 from his ten-over spell, but by this time Lees and Leon Turmaine had set about lending some respectability to the VRA reply; they added 53 for the eighth wicket before Seelaar, belatedly bringing himself into the attack, removed Lees for 27.

Turmaine stayed to the end, top-scoring with an unbeaten 29, but the introduction of O’Dowd into the attack to claim the last two wickets with successive deliveries, saw VRA dismissed for 142 and VOC claim a 50-run victory.

The KNCB’s testing regime proved its worth during the week, when a positive test among Dosti’s squad led to the players going into quarantine and Sunday’s scheduled match against Punjab Rotterdam being postponed until 9 May.

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