The rain was gone at last, and with the sun on their backs the batters mostly celebrated on Saturday, with three centuries posted and the totals of the sides batting first generally well over 200.
The main exception was at Thurlede, where HCC, after winning the toss, were bundled out for 91 by a rampant Excelsior ‘20 and lost by 6 wickets, their first defeat of the season.
It would have been even worse but for some late-order resistance from Dietmar Hennop and Olivier Klaus, the only men apart from opener Daniël Trijzelaar to achieve double figures, for at one stage the Hagenaars were on 59 for seven.
Chief destroyer was spinner Umar Baker, whose ten-over spell yielded four wickets at a cost of 20 runs, while seamer Rens van Troost tied up the other end with two for 13.
The home side’s top order did not find conditions any more to their liking when they replied, however, and with Clayton Floyd and Reinier Bijloos collecting two wickets apiece they soon found themselves on 10 for four.
HCC saw their chance of an improbable victory, but it was steadily taken away from them by Tristan Stubbs and Sanjit Shankar who, cautiously at first but with increasing momentum, knocked off the remaining runs, Stubbs finishing it with successive sixes to end on 44 not out. Shankar made an unbeaten 35.
The highest total of the day came in Amstelveen, where hosts VRA Amsterdam posted 302 for six and beat winless Dosti United Amsterdam by 133 runs.
Foundation of VRA’s big score was a second-wicket stand of 143 between Vikram Singh (103) and Shirase Rasool (73), with Peter Borren and Eric Szwarczynski both chipping in before Mitch Lees made a 21-ball 32 not out in the closing stages.
Leg-spinner Vinoo Tewarie, who broke the big partnership by trapping Rasool in front, was the most successful of Dosti’s bowlers with two for 39 from nine overs.
The Dosti top order, reinforced by the return of Rahil Ahmed, showed signs of improvement, reaching 102 for two before Udit Nashier with three for 18, supported by Borren’s experience, caused a rapid decline, and the last eight wickets fell for 63 runs.
It seemed for a time that Punjab Rotterdam’s total against Sparta 1888 at the Bermweg would dwarf even VRA’s, as Rehmat Zulfiqar (80) and Stef Myburgh (63) put on a rapid opening stand of 147.
But the home side managed to put on the brakes, and with Nasrat Ibrahimkhil taking three for 36 and Max Hoornweg and Joost Martijn Snoep claiming two apiece, Punjab had to be content with a total of 285 for nine.
But that proved to be plenty, as apart from thirties from Ali Raza and the dependable Mudassar Bukhari Sparta’s batting again crumbled, and they were all out for 106 in under 35 overs.
The wickets were shared, with Suleiman Tariq, Sikander Zulfiqar, Mubashar Hussain and Teja Nidamanuru all picking up a couple.
The pattern was reversed at Westvliet, where Voorburg were in early trouble at 42 for three against a determined ACC, before they were rescued by a superb fourth-wicket stand of 194 between Sybrandt Engelbrecht and Aryan Dutt.
Engelbrecht’s unbeaten 129, made from 125 deliveries with ten fours, was the highest individual core of the day, and he was well supported by Dutt, who made 77 before he was run out by ACC skipper Anis Raza.
Raza had tried eight bowlers in his quest for a breakthrough, but only Sahil Kothari and Mees van Vliet with the new ball had been able to cause the batters serious problems.
Opener Kothari also anchored the ACC reply, his steadying 51 the only effort able to withstand the Voorburg attack, but once he was the seventh man out with the total on 100 the end came quickly.
Viv Kingma cleaned up the tail to finish with four for 20 as ACC, reduced to ten men by the absence of Devanshu Arya, were all out for 105 and lost by 139 runs.
The day’s closest match was at the Hazelaarweg, where HBS Craeyenhout tested leaders VOC Rotterdam more severely than might be suggested by the latter’s eventual 76-run margin.
They owed their total of 225 for seven to captain Pieter Seelaar, whose 108 not out enabled them to recover from a perilous 88 for five and was his first century for the club.
He was ably assisted by Ayaaz Durrani, who contributed 41 before being run out, while there were two wickets apiece for Ryan Klein, Julian de Mey and Navjit Singh.
HBS offered a spirited response, but only Navjit Singh (53) was able to build on a promising start, and by the time he was eighth out with the total on 129 any chance of a successful chase was long past
Young leg-spinner Siebe van Wingerden again caused the batters plenty of problems, and he was the most successful of VOC’s bowlers with three for 30.
At Sportpark Drieberg on Sunday HBS had the better of their postponed fourth-round match, beating a steadily-improving Dosti United by 39 runs.
HBS appeared to be heading for a sizable total while Tayo Walbrugh was sharing a third-wicket stand of 69 with Navjit Singh and going on to make 72, but once Tewarie had trapped him LBW the innings lost some momentum, and it took useful late contributions from Julian de Mey and Adil Ahmed to get the total up to 215.
Tewarie claimed four for 48 for Dosti, while Asief Hoseinbaks bowled economically without being rewarded with a wicket.
Rahil Ahmed led the Dosti reply, and when he and Mahesh Hans were adding 68 for the fourth wicket it seemed that their first win for nearly two years was a real possibility.
Once he was run out for 78, however, the chance dissipated, and the side was dismissed for 176, Ryan Klein taking four for 21 for HBS.