HCC hold their nerve and take the title

Rod Lyall 11/09/2022

HCC held their nerve in another tense finish at Westvliet on Saturday, to beat Voorburg by 12 runs and claim their 47th national title, their first since 2008.

It was a bitter disappointment for Voorburg, who had led the competition throughout the season and who had beaten the same opponents by four wickets in last weekend’s semi-final, but HCC showed the same resilience and determination that had then taken them past HBS the following day and into the grand final.

Voorburg, it is true, missed Logan van Beek, called up by New Zealand A, but their squad had strength in depth, and they still went into this match clear favourites to take the second national championship in the club’s history.

It looked promising enough when, after a delayed start which led to the game being reduced to 46 overs a side, Viv Kingma bowled Damian Crowley with the very first ball, and when HCC were labouring their way to 79 for four after 27 overs.

Bas de Leede managed his attack effectively in the conditions, ensuring that runs were at a premium, and it took a fine stand of 108 for the fifth wicket between Tim Pringle and Hidde Overdijk to lift the tempo in the latter stages of the innings.

Overdijk was eventually bowled by Andre Malan for 52, but Pringle, who hit four sixes, stayed to the close, finishing with an unbeaten 64, and his side ended on 200 for five.

De Leede was the pick of the bowlers with one for 31 from nine overs, while Kingma had one for 35 and Malan two for 39.

Playing his final Topklasse match, Reinier Bijloos then gave HCC a great start, removing Malan and Mohit Hingorani in the third over of their reply and reducing them to 12 for two.

Musa Ahmad and De Leede rebuilt the innings with a partnership of 62, but after the Voorburg captain was brilliantly run out by a direct hit from Floyd as they attempted a second run, it was largely left to Musa to craft a victory.

Seamer Felix Bennett soon had Sybrand Engelbrecht caught behind, but it was now HCC’s spin trio of Floyd, Pringle and Crowley who steadily applied the pressure, and the asking rate began to inch its way upwards.

Tom de Grooth contributed 18 before he was well caught by Zac Worden at point off Floyd, but Voorburg were still in with a good chance as Shariz Ahmad settled in with his elder brother, who by now had gone past fifty for the sixth time this season.

The spinners had created the pressure, but it was the return of Hidde Overdijk which spelled the end for Musa, who holed out to Crowley at mid-off trying to hit him over the top; his patient 75 had come from 135 deliveries and included six boundaries.

Ali Ahmad Qasim made a rollicking 10-ball 17, hitting two fours and a six, but Voorburg needed 24 off the final two overs, and as he and Shariz tried to squeeze out every run he was, inevitably perhaps, the victim of a mid-pitch mix-up, and the home side were left to make 16 from the last.

Shariz had no option but to hit out, falling to a Pringle catch in the deep off Hidde Overdijk’s first ball and departing for 30, and when Stijn de Leede was bowled off the penultimate ball Kingma could only dig out a final yorker and HCC’s celebrations began.

They had gone into the second phase of the competition well off the pace, but they got steadily better as the play-offs approached, and showed great character in two very tense matches at the end.

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