Bertus de Jong & Bertus de Jong 21/08/21
nb. the first half of this preview was written prior to the announcement of VOC’s withdrawal from the match in question.
Well the circumstances leading to this orphaned match are not uncontroversial, but the Commissie van Beroep have in their ineffable wisdom decreed that last weeks aborted game between HCC and VOC Rotterdam must be replayed before we can get to the business of the playoffs, so having scrapped our preview for those games we’re left with this final league phase encounter at de Diepput as the day’s only game.
BdJ: Realistically, given the forecast and the difficulty of getting de Diepput to dry out in reasonable time, the expected rain is likely to be the decisive factor tomorrow. A washout would give HCC the single point they’ve been after for the last couple of weeks to make the top four and leave VOC rueing missed opportunities. Should we get a game in however, the hosts are well placed to claim their playoffs spot by traditional means. VOC will of course be without Dirk van Baren, who despite an inconsistent summer has put in some crucial performances under pressure this season, and likely without skipper Pieter Seelaar, whose fitness stuggles have reportedly returned. Their absences leave the VOC batting card looking a little thin, though in a shortened game (which is likely the most we can hope for) they still have the top-order hitting power in Max O’Dowd and Scott Edwards to take advantage, while the returning Corey Rutgers has been in superlative form since shedding the responsibility of marshalling our neighbours to the South and VOC’s remaining middle order bats are arguably better suited to shorter contests. That said, HCC’s home advantage will likely prove a significant factor even in an abbreviated match. Their attack remains the league’s most balanced, and while the HCC batting lacks the hitting power of their opponents they make up for it in depth. The most probable outcome tomorrow remains a wash-out, which would see VOC eliminated and HCC claiming fourth place behind VRA by virtue of the latter’s total league phase win-count (or, equally likely, third place by virtue of the KNCB’s entirely arbitrary attitude toward the priority of tie-breakers). The Board’s limited understanding of the rules of their own competition likewise make it difficult to predict what an HCC victory would imply; according to the rules that have been in force all season they would finish in third place behind VCC – again on the basis of the latter’s superior win-count – but it’s equally possible they will be adjudged to have finished in second on the basis of a superior net run rate, head to head record against VCC, tasseomancy or the dictates of a monkey with a Ouija board. A convincing VOC win meanwhile would put them unambiguously in third ahead of VRA on most traditional metrics, while a close win ought to leave them in fourth but at this point who knows?
BdJ (2 hours later): VOC have just announced they’re not going to play the game that likely would have been washed out anyway, and are conceding the points to HCC. As a moral stand it is marginally less convincing than that of their intended opponents last week, but barring another bizarre and baseless decision from the game’s administrators it is likely to prove decisive. What this means is that we now have a weekend without any Topklasse cricket at all for absolutely no good reason, and HCC are through to the playoffs, in third position according to the actual rules but quite possibly in second place because “reasons”. So the farcical close to the league phase continues, having left us with four playoff contenders but relatively little idea of what order they might be in or why. Next weekend will see Punjab and VRA take on VCC or HCC in the preliminary final and de facto quarter final respectively, but the two will likely have to wait on a decision from the board as to which tiebreaker they intend to apply this week before finding out who their opponents will be. We’ll bring you news of that decision as soon as we get it. In the meantime we imagine that you, dear readers, like all of us at TK, will be on edge of your seats.
BdJ’s pick: Rain.
BdJ (2 hours later)’s pick: Nonsense.