Rod Lyall 01/05/2023
The weekend’s feast of near-walkovers continued on a sunny Sunday as several sides powerfully asserted their claims to be front-runners for slots among the Topklasse top six, if not for the play-offs in August and a possible title.
The most decisive victory of the day came at Het Loopveld, where VOC Rotterdam hammered hapless ACC to the tune of 260 runs.
Much of the mayhem was caused by Dutch international opener Max O’Dowd, who clubbed a career-best 186, made from just 157 deliveries and including eight fours and eleven sixes; after taking a relatively sedate 52 balls to reach fifty, and bringing up his century from 116, he needed only another 41 to add the final 85, repeatedly bombarding the pavilion with powerfully-struck sixes.
He was ably assisted by Lane Berry, who contributed a stylish 35 before holing out to long off off the bowling of the hard-working Aryan Kumar, and then by Scott Edwards in a third-wicket stand of 205 which only ended with O’Dowd’s dismissal just two balls from the conclusion of the innings.
Edwards’s 74 not out, which displayed his full range of audacious shot-making and some very enterprising running, came from 60 deliveries with five fours and two sixes.
VOC’s other Max, pace bowler Hoornweg, now proceeded to rip through the top of the ACC batting order, claiming three for 14 from five overs, while Arnav Jain took two for 19 at the other end and the home side subsided to 26 for five.
Only Ammar Zaidi, batting at nine, was able to achieve double figures, and with Asief Hoseinbaks taking three for 9 and Burhan Niaz and Jelte Schoonheim picking up one apiece ACC were all out for 61 in just 22.5 overs.
The other outstanding individual effort of the day was at Westvliet, where Shariz Ahmad took five for 17, bringing his figures for the weekend to eleven for 30 in 17.4 overs and enabling Voorburg to dismiss Excelsior ’20 for just 90.
Lorenzo Ingram top-scored for the Schiedammers with 20, and although he removed Musa Ahmad when Voorburg replied, Noah Croes (47 not out) and Sybrand Engelbrecht (19 not out) saw their side to an eight-wicket victory with more than 27 overs to spare.
The most significant result was perhaps Sparta 1888’s 59-run defeat of Punjab Rotterdam at Sportpark Bermweg, an outcome which signalled strongly that this Sparta side is capable of mounting a serious challenge for the play-offs.
Sulaiman Tariq took two early wickets after Sparta won the toss and batted, but then Garnett Tarr’s 41 and 72 from Mudassar Bukhari laid the foundation for their total of 211 for eight; Khalid Ahmadi’s 26-ball cameo for 34, 24 of them from sixes, kept the momentum going, and only Sikander Zulfiqar’s three for 8 in three overs prevented the target from being even greater.
It proved to be big enough, however, as Ahsan Malik’s four for 35 and Ahmadi’s four for 42 cut through the Punjab batting, only an unbeaten 91 from Mohsin Riaz, batting at three, enabling his side to reach 152 before he ran out of partners; there were four ducks among the top and middle order, two of them golden.
Joining VOC and Sparta on two wins out of two – and two points behind Voorburg who have played a game more – were VRA Amsterdam, who secured a seven-wicket victory over HBS Craeyenhout in the Amsterdamse Bos.
Put in by Leon Turmaine, HBS owed their total of 203 for seven very largely to a fourth-wicket stand of 86 between Tayo Walbrugh (42) and Wesley Barresi (47); both were eventually removed by Turmaine himself, who finished with two for 39.
Without openers Shirase Rasool and Vikram Singh, both of whom were carrying injuries, VRA might have been in trouble when Swapnil Pote removed Jack Balbirnie early, but Aryan Dutt (59) and Johan Smal (72) put the home side back in control and Teja Nidamanuru and Tyler van Luin completed the job.
At De Diepput HCC posted their first win of the season, beating Salland by 124 runs.
Opener Ratha Alphonse, who had fought a lone battle against VOC on Saturday, enjoyed the support of Jonathan Vandiar this time, as the pair put on 161 for the second wicket.
Alphonse made 57, and after he had departed Vandiar went on to complete his ninth Topklasse century and his sixth for HCC, finishing with a 114-ball 109 which included eight fours and six sixes.
Hidde Overdijk struck four sixes in a brisk 33, but Fraser Bartholomew hit back for Salland, taking four for 43 as the home side reached 278 for eight.
Overdijk then removed both openers to put Salland on the back foot, and although most of the top order got a start only skipper Victor Lubbers with 46 was able to resist for a prolonged period and with spinners Clayton Floyd and Daniel Doram collecting two wickets apiece and Overdijk finishing with three for 34 Lubbers’ side were all out for 154.