Round 12 preview

Bertus de Jong & Rod Lyall 04/07/19

There’s still a good way to go in this year’s Topklasse, but already the field has split quite markedly into title contenders and relegation candidates, with four teams all within two points of the top spot, and the remaining six sides a full six points adrift. heading into round 12 there’s still time for some of the latter to stage a late surge, but they’ll likely have to make a start this Sunday.

BdJ: of the trailing teams, VOC Rotterdam are best placed to mount a comeback, last season’s champions four wins shy of ACC and Excelsior at the top of the table, but with a game against bottom-placed VRA still in hand. They travel to Nieuw Hanenburg to take on second-from-bottom Quick Haag on Sunday, boasting three key players all in excellent touch. Max O’Dowd, Scott Edwards and Pieter Seelaar are all in fine form for the national side and VOC both, and against a fairly pedestrian Quick attack will be banking on big scores from their three internationals. They will likely need all three to fire though; even if Quick’s key man Jay Bista has gone uncharacteristically cheaply in his past couple of outings there will be little to worry him or his team-mates in this VOC bowling attack, which has been more varied than effective of late, using a total of 12 different bowlers and conceding over 600 runs across their last two games.

RL: With O’Dowd and Edwards averaging over 40 with the bat and Seelaar a tad over 30, the Rotterdam Three are keeping their side even slightly in the hunt: the rest of the top seven have made barely 500 runs between them, in 39 innings. Pierce Fletcher and Ashiqullah Said apart, the bowling has also looked threadbare, although the return of Bobby Hanif has given Seelaar another experienced seamer. They will face Bista’s aggression and Geert Maarten Mol’s solidity, but the rest of Quick’s batsmen have given these two even more intermittent support than VOC have mustered for their three internationals. If Bista comes off the Rotterdammers could be looking at another day of leather-chasing on Nieuw Hanenburg’s unforgiving artificial surface; if they can get him early, they should take two very important points back home with them.

BdJ: The most recent team to profit from VOC’s woes with the ball were VRA, who racked up 290-5 last weekend thanks in large part to former skipper Emile van den Burg’s second Topklasse century. The subsequent win, only VRA’s second so far, saw them close the gap with the rest of the pack, but the manner of it rather highlighted why they are at the bottom of the pile in the first place. The bowling will again be VRA’s chief concern when they welcome HCC to the Bos, part-timer Ben Cooper’s place at the top of the VRA wicket-taking table as much a testament to the travails of their front line bowlers as Cooper’s admittedly much-improved off-spin. HCC will arrive in Amstelveen having not lost a match in over a month, with Street and Wiffen both looking solid, Overdijk and Staal returning from national duty in England and favourites to claim the two points they need to keep pace with ACC and Excelsior at the top.

RL: What has been particularly impressive about HCC’s winning run has been the solidity of both their batting and bowling, with Bryce Street playing a key role in both – although it must be conceded that their record might have been tested had their match against co-leaders ACC not been rained off. Still, they will arrive at the Kalfjeslaan full of confidence, and keen to prevent the home side from starting a much-needed winning run of their own. VRA’s defeat of VOC last week will have given them heart, although as m’colleague points out, the bowling is still a source of concern. The Bos can be a bowlers’ graveyard after a prolonged dry spell, and if the weather holds conditions may well favour the batsmen. In which case HCC seem better equipped to contain a potentially powerful VRA batting line-up than the reverse.

BdJ: Currently in pole position thanks to a solid net run rate advantage over Excelsior, ACC head down to Westvliet to take on the beleaguered Voorburg CC whose much-anticipated return to the Topklasse hasn’t quite lived up to expectations. Despite having the look of a well-balanced side, new-ball pair Kingma and Glover still the envy of the league, Clayton Floyd quietly outperforming either and the Smit brothers bolstering the batting, VCC have yet to play to their collective ability. ACC’s performance, conversely, has outstripped even their most optimistic fans’ expectations. On paper 7th placed VCC are far from outmatched, yet they will have to step up their efforts if they are to derail ACC’s title bid.

RL: Dismissed for the fourth time under 150 last Sunday, Voorburg continue to belie the promising start their theoretically powerful batting line-up made on the first day of the season. Nic Smit has added a good deal to their batting, but paradoxically the rest – even his brother Matt – have been even less impressive than they were before his arrival. The combination of irresponsible batting, wayward bowling and indifferent catching was fatal against Excelsior, and meeting the two co-leaders in successive weeks is a tough ask. ACC, on the other hand, just keep winning, with Brady Barends’ pace and Saqib Zulfiqar’s spin accounting for most of the wickets – 24 and 20 respectively – and runs coming from just about everyone at some stage or other. There is no doubt that Voorburg have the capability to pull off a shock here, but whether they can marshal the will to do so is another question.

BdJ: Close on ACC’s heels, separated only by NRR, are Excelsior ’20 Schiedam who have consistently found ways to keep winning despite never quite recapturing the magic of seasons past. Whilst Lorenzo Ingram and Brenton Parchment were responsible for much of the early success, Excelsior have looked rather less like a two-man show of late. Last week’s win over VCC was much more of a team effort, skipper Tom Heggelman, who is quietly having a solid season, leading the way with the ball whilst Tim Etman and Joost Kroesen stepped up with the bat. They take on Sparta 1888 at Bermweg on Sunday, who have had a much tougher time of it in recent weeks despite the all-round efforts of veteran Mudassar Bukhari and overseas player Garnett Tarr’s recent purple patch. Sparta have looked competitive enough all season despite carrying two misfiring overseas for much of it, and there are signs that Andrew Fletcher may be beginning to belatedly acclimatise to Dutch conditions. Sparta will hope he emulates his junior colleague with a sudden flourish of runs come Sunday, but on current form the visitors look odds on to take the two points.

RL: The last time Excelsior went to Bermweg on Topklasse business they were shot out for 41, an experience which will no doubt be in both teams’ minds this Sunday. Dost Muhammed, the destroyer-in-chief that day, has played only once this season, but Sparta’s four-man seam attack has performed well enough without him. They may lack the incisiveness of Voorburg’s, against whom Excelsior toiled somewhat last week, but if the Schiedammers’ bowlers perform as well as they did against Voorburg they should be capable of defending any reasonable total. That said, Sparta’s batsmen gave HBS a real scare last Sunday when chasing a big total, and while the Bermweg is a lot less batsman-friendly than Craeyenhout, the signs that Fletcher is finally adjusting to Dutch conditions could be ominous.

BdJ: Arithmetically in the top half of the table in fifth, Dosti-United will nonetheless be more concerned about putting distance between themselves and the relegation fight as catching up to the top four when they take on fourth-placed HBS at Drieburg on Sunday. The Crows’ tilt at the title has faltered somewhat in recent weeks with losses to HCC and VOC, though back at full strength they comfortably saw off Sparta again last week. Though it’s fair to say they have Dosti rather outgunned in terms of batting, especially as Taruwar Kohli is having a comparatively quiet season so far (by his standards at least), Dosti have shown themselves quite capable of racking up serious scores themselves. Most of the Dosti top six have produced scores on occasion, but none have done so consistently. HBS have been more consistent in their scoring, but arguably also more dependent on it; despite Berend Westdijk’s excellent season with the ball the rest of the attack has looked comparatively innocuous. It may come down to how well the HBS line-up negotiate the home side’s spin attack: if Dosti can contain them effectively they’ll have every chance of springing an upset.

RL: While I do not dissent from m’colleague’s view of this match, I don’t agree about the HBS attack: of the pace men, Wessel Coster, Farshad Khan and Zak Gibson have all bowled pretty well, and there has been a marked improvement in Julian de Mey’s contribution to the spin department. They did suffer at the hands of Sparta last week before pulling off an important win, and coach Rainer Carsten will be looking to them to be at their best against a rather enigmatic but undoubtedly menacing Dosti batting line-up. On the other side of the equation, the return of Kuldeep Diwan adds another dimension to the home side’s attack, and the battle between Dosti’s bowlers and the HBS top order could be one of the highlights of the season. The game at Craeyenhout certainly offered much to savour, and the return is likely to be no different. Perhaps the toughest game of the five to pick . . .

Bertus de Jong’s tips: VOC, HCC, ACC, Excelsior, HBS
Rod Lyall’s tips: VOC, HCC, ACC, Excelsior, HBS

Gallery | Excelsior vs VCC | 30.06.19

Excelsior ’20 vs Voorburg CC at Thurlede 30/06/19
scorecard | as it happened

Round 11 Preview

Rod Lyall & Bertus de Jong 27/06/19

As the Topklasse returns to what passes for normal this Sunday, the luck of the draw pits each of the current top five at home against one of the lower teams; this should make prediction easy, but of course it doesn’t. What it does do is create opportunities for the teams in the wrong half of the table to bridge the gap to the current leaders somewhat.

RL: In what has the potential to be the most absorbing clash of the day ACC will take on Quick Haag at Het Loopveld. Having managed to survive the absence of almost half their team last week in beating strugglers VRA, the Amsterdammers can add a maiden Topklasse century for Jean Marais and a first significant innings from young Jamieson Mulready to their list of milestones for the season. With new ball spearhead Brady Barends one of the undoubted successes of the season they have moved from surprise packet to deserved title challengers, while the addition of Jay Bista and Prathamesh Dake to Quick’s line-up has not (yet) made the side as competitive as many at Nieuw Hanenburg will have hoped. Nevertheless Quick can be expected to put together two or three winning performances in the latter part of the season, and by doing so they could have a real effect on the championship as well as keeping themselves clear of relegation.

BdJ: Two judicious acquisitions and regular contributions from an increasingly impressive cast of junior players has seen ACC to the top of the table, and it’s beginning to look like they have the side to go the distance. Witch Excelsior and HCC close on their heels though the Amsterdammers need to keep winning to stay ahead of the pack. Doc Mol aside, Quick have not really been at their best this season, and even the qualities of Bista and Dake would not have been enough to keep them out of relegation danger so far were it not for the haplessness of VRA. As it stands, they will likely only need three or four more wins to be assured of safety this time round, and upsetting the current leaders would be a fine way to start.

RL: Another game in the banana skin category sees Excelsior ‘20 take on Voorburg at Thurlede. Tom Heggelman’s side has also gone on winning, fortified no doubt by the experience of two titles with pretty much the same squad in 2016 and 2017, and with Brenton Parchment proving a fine successor to James Hilditch they, too, have emerged as one of the most difficult sides to beat. Voorburg’s performances have been much more variable, but their demolition of HBS a few weeks ago proved that they can be a force to be reckoned with. Brandon Glover returns after a successful introduction to the Dutch side, and together with his national team colleague Viv Kingma he will present a serious challenge to the Excelsior top order. With Tom de Grooth adding more solidity at the top of Voorburg’s batting, this too is likely to be a keenly-fought battle.

BdJ: A tough on to call, this. With Excelsior’s sole home defeat so far this season coming courtesy Max Hoornweg’s spectacular return of 7-36, it’s fair to say it will take something special to take two points home from Thurlede. The return of VCC’s pace pairing of Glover and Kingma certainly gives them something of an x-factor, though the slow-bowling contribution of Clayton Floyd to Voorburg’s hopes should not be underestimated. The batting has been the somewhat surprising weakness for Voorburg so far, with an under-performing Matt Smit the only VCC bat to have reached 200 runs at better than 30. Against and Excelsior side that has managed to win consistently even without really recapturing the collective dominance of two years ago, Voorburg start as underdogs on form at least.

RL: Currently third, one win behind the leaders, HCC will welcome Dosti United to De Diepput. Welcome may not be exactly the right word, since the Amsterdam side will be buoyed up by their 217-run win over VOC last Sunday, and their powerful batting line-up will relish the short square boundaries at the HCC ground. Abhinav Bali’s maiden Topklasse century takes some of the pressure off Taruwar Kohli, but it was the Dosti bowling which was particularly impressive against VOC. With Bryce Street in great form with both bat and ball, however, at the centre of a well-organised and balanced HCC outfit, and this is again a match which, despite the current standings, could well go either way.

BdJ: With one less completed game, HCC are in fact marginally less than one win from the top spot having, like ACC and Excelsior, lost only twice thus far. They have every chance of adding to that tally on Sunday however when they take on a Dosti side that indeed looks in good nick. Perhaps not too much can be read into their beating up on a depleted VOC last weak, the Rotterdammers resorting to nine different bowlers to share the overs around, but the bowling does indeed look well settled, with the Hoseinbaks-Hans spin axis providing a variety of slow bowling options and Anees Davids also in the wickets. HCC will nonetheless be a considerable step-up in class of opposition however, even if the batting card remains rather top-heavy.

RL: Having started their campaign in rampant mood, HBS Craeyenhout have faltered in recent weeks, and their game against Sparta 1888 on Sunday is now a must-win event for them. They were, of course, handicapped by the absence of Tobias Visée and Wesley Barresi in losing to HCC last Sunday, and their powerful batting line-up will be back at full strength for this crucial encounter. For Sparta, dropping Andrew Fletcher down the order produced his first significant innings of the season, but they will need him to make the most of the batsman-friendly conditions at Craeyenhout if they are to trouble HBS. Sparta are, it must be said, something of a bits-and-pieces side, but all their bowlers have performed well on occasion, and with former internationals Mudassar Bukhari and Atse Buurman always capable of producing important innings, they will be hoping to pick up a win which would move them further clear of the relegation zone.

BdJ: HBS will have to get used to being without their captain, one suspects, an upcoming stint in Canada at the GT20 will see him miss two further games this season, and the Vancouver Knights likely won’t be the last franchise to come calling. They’ll be glad to have him back Sunday, and Sparta will doubtless be ruing the Netherlands’ comparatively light international schedule having failed to take advantage of a weakened VCC last week. Fletcher’s drop to number five seems to have worked for him, but not necessarily for his team who are now an opener short, and even contributions from both overseas wasn’t enough last week. With HBS batting back at full strength and Westdijik still bowling well Sparta will have their work cut out at Craeyenhout.

RL: Just at the head of the chasing pack on net run rate, VOC Rotterdam meet relegation candidates VRA Amsterdam at Hazelaarweg. Here, too, the return of the sides’ Dutch internationals will come as a relief, especially for VOC, who suffered that thumping defeat at Dosti last week. These teams have not yet met this season, their first-round match having been rescheduled for 20 July, but this is a traditional rivalry which always has an additional charge. VOC’s attack has been strengthened by the return of Bobby Hanif, but for VRA the inability of their bowlers to dismiss opposing sides remains a serious concern. Leon Turmaine is their leading wicket-taker with 11, but in all they have only taken 40 wickets in eight matches, and they have lost their last two by seven wickets. If O’Dowd, Edwards, Seelaar and Co. fire here, VOC could achieve a big total on their own account.

BdJ:With two games to play against VOC and only three losses adrift, besting the Rotterdammers twice may represent VRA’s best shot at avoiding relegation. But though Dosti exposed the reliance of the VOC batting on their three Dutch internationals, all three are now back and in fine form, indeed O’Dowd has probably never looked better. VRA’s pace attack has at times bowled better than their meagre returns suggest, and the batting remains stronger on paper than in practice, but the Amsterdammers will need to find another gear if they are to escape an increasingly inevitable-looking relegation.

Rod Lyall’s tips: ACC, Voorburg, Dosti, HBS, VOC.
Bertus de Jong’s tips: ACC, VCC, HCC, HBS, VOC.

HCC maintain pressure on ACC and Excelsior

Rod Lyall 25/06/19

A rather peculiar atmosphere hung over Dutch cricket grounds on Sunday, as clubs experienced very different fortunes arising from the conjunction of the first T20 International against Zimbabwe and a normal Topklasse programme.

In the end, the absences of national team players may have had a decisive influence only at De Diepput where, with Tobias Visée and Wesley Barresi, HBS Craeyenhout could only manage 178 for nine in their 50 overs, a total HCC passed for the loss of six wickets.

But then, a full-strength HBS had been bowled out for less by Voorburg earlier in the season, and HCC’s attack has been a key factor in taking them to third place on the table.

This time Bryce Street struck a crucial blow when he had Sharn Gomes caught behind off the first ball he received, having just removed HBS top-scorer Navjit Singh for 39.

Opener Zac Elkin made 34 and replacement wicketkeeper Rainer Karsten 37, but with three run outs HBS contributed to their own problems, while Street finished with three for 34 for HCC.

HBS struck back when HCC replied, removing Bharat Itagi and Tonny Staal by the time 11 runs were on the board, but Street anchored the innings expertly, and with smaller contributions from the remainder of the top and middle order he was able to guide his side to victory at the start of the 35th over, remaining not out on 87.

At Sportpark Drieburg VOC Rotterdam, one of the clubs worst affected by the demands of international duty, slumped to a massive 217-run defeat by Dosti United, but in truth, while the loss of Max O’Dowd, Scott Edwards and Pieter Seelaar no doubt affected the winning margin, the die was cast by a superb batting performance from the Dosti top order.

It was a partnership of 180 between Abhinav Bali and Taruwar Kohli, setting a new club record for the second wicket, which established the home side’s dominance after Vinoo Tewarie had won the toss and elected to take advantage of ideal conditions for batting.

Bali dominated the bowling from the outset and with Kohli playing a supporting role he made 135 of the first 195 runs, facing 118 balls and hitting 16 fours and five sixes.

After Bali’s departure Kohli went on to make a more restrained 75, and then Rahil Ahmed and Anees Davids added a rapid 53 in an unbroken fifth-wicket stand which took the total to 313, Ahmed finishing with 35 and Davids 20.

Faced with such a huge total the VOC batting crumbled against the pace of Davids and Waheed Masood and the left-arm spin of Asief Hoseinbaks, and it was only a defiant 41-ball innings of 42 from Pierce Fletcher, who hit five sixes, which enabled them to reach 96.

Davids finished with three for 17, while Hoseinbaks, Masood and Mahesh Hans claimed two apiece.

Faced with the absence not only of captain Saqib Zulfiqar but of three other regular members of the side who had opted for a trip to the World Cup, ACC were nevertheless untroubled in beating local rivals VRA Amsterdam, who were without Ben Cooper.

They started with a century stand between Jean Marais and the youthful Jamieson Mulready, promoted to open in the absence of Rehmat Zulfiqar, and after Mulready was dismissed for 35 Marais went on to a maiden Topklasse century, making 102 before he was trapped in front by Leon Turmaine.

With Brady Barends contributing a brisk 32 in the closing stages ACC ended on 231 for five, with two wickets each for Turmaine and fellow spinner Pragam Rathore.

VRA could only manage 149 in reply, the only substantial contributions coming from Emile van den Burg (38) and Eric Szwarczynski (44), while Anis Raza was ACC’s main wicket-taker with three for 25.

Excelsior ‘20 kept pace with ACC with a 60-run victory over Quick Haag at Nieuw Hanenburg.

The foundation of their total of 246 for eight was a 159-run second-wicket stand between Tom Heggelman, taking on an opening role in the absence of Roel Verhagen, and Lorenzo Ingram. Ingram made an excellent 87 before being caught behind off Pieter Groenewald, while Heggelman made 69 before he was run out.

Geert Maarten Mol then ran through Excelsior’s vulnerable middle order, taking three for 56, as the visitors struggled to take full advantage of the platform Heggelman and Ingram had created.

That total, however, proved to be enough, as Quick’s reply never really fired once the talismanic Jay Bista had been caught and bowled by Sohail Bhatti after making a 20-ball 27.

With Rens van Troost claiming his best figures of the summer with three for 31 and the rest of the attack all chipping in, Quick were dismissed for 186, Jeroen Brand – batting at nine – the top-scorer with 28.

The closest match of the day was at Sportpark Bermweg, where Voorburg overcame the absence of Viv Kingma and Brendan Glover to beat Sparta 1888 by 17 runs.

Voorburg’s total of 234 for eight was a real team effort, with most of the batsmen getting a start but no-one going beyond skipper Tom de Grooth’s 44.

Lesser contributions came from Nehaan Gigani (32), Clayton Floyd (35) and Philippe Boissevain (30), while for Sparta Usman Saleem took three for 37.

Sparta were well placed at one stage, Ali Raza (67) and Garnett Tarr (57) putting together a second-wicket partnership of 122, but after they had gone it was left to Andrew Fletcher, playing his first substantial innings of the season, to hold the lower order together.

He managed to get his side as far as 217 but then, running out of partners, he was dismissed by Stef Mulder for 44, and the innings ended without addition to the score.

Mulder finished with three for 45 and Floyd with three for 46.

The day’s events left ACC and Excelsior one win clear of HCC, who have played one game fewer, while at the other end of the table VRA remain two wins adrift of Quick Haag and Sparta, but with a rescheduled match against VOC still to play.


Gallery | Dosti vs VOC | 23.06.19

Dosti-United vs VOC Rotterdam at Drieburg 23/06/19
scorecard | as it happened

HBS squeeze past ACC, but Excelsior go top

Rod Lyall 11/06/19

For the second time in three days, HBS Craeyenhout found themselves going into the final over against ACC on Monday with the match in the balance.

This time, however, they held on for the victory, Wessel Coster conceding just five of the eight runs ACC required and trapping Saqib Zulfiqar leg-before with the final delivery to get his side home by two runs.

Saqib’s 61 had brought the Amsterdammers ever so close after disciplined bowling by the HBS attack had contained the top order and forced the batsmen into errors as they attempted to raise the tempo of the innings.

Excelsior had found themselves in the same situation at Craeyenhout on Saturday, but whereas Lorenzo Ingram had managed to create a platform from which the tail was able to scramble the win, Saqib’s effort, from 69 deliveries with four boundaries, fell just short.

He was well supported by Anis Raza (31) and Jamieson Mulready (25), but with Zak Gibson claiming three early wickets and Navjit Singh breaking both those vital partnerships, the HBS attack was able to withstand ACC’s final assault.

Zulfiqar’s side was, it is true, chasing the highest total of the season at Het Loopveld, HBS again demonstrating the solidity of its batting by posting 207 for nine, mainly thanks to Sharn Gomes’s 108-ball 81.

The remaining members of the top six all got a start without really going on with it, while for ACC the brothers Zulfiqar each claimed three wickets, Sikander at a cost of 55 runs and Saqib for 33.

On a day when rain was a constant threat the match in Amstelveen suffered only the briefest of interruptions, but elsewhere delays brought a reduction of overs and an adjusted DLS target.

None of this made much difference at Thurlede, where Excelsior ‘20 had played themselves into a winning position before the rain arrived.

First, they held Dosti United to a modest 151 for nine, a total which represented a considerable recovery from 46 for five and which was mostly due to a marathon, 105-ball 38 from skipper Vinoo Tewarie and a fighting 48 not out from Anees Davids.

That never seemed like a defensible total, and when rain drove the players from the field openers Tim Etman and Roel Verhagen had already put on 89 in 22 overs to drive home the advantage.

When play resumed the match had been reduced to 46 overs and the target to 142, but Etman and Verhagen needed only 35 overs to finish the job and seal the 10-wicket victory. Etman finished with 66 and Verhagen with 63.

The margin pushed Excelsior’s net run rate above that of HBS and saw them move to the top of the table with one round of matches left before the competition reaches the half-way mark.

HCC moved level with ACC, consolidating their position in fourth, with a six-wicket victory over VOC Rotterdam at Hazelaarweg.

The home side battled their way to 198 for nine in their 50 overs, the lion’s share of the runs coming from the international trio of Max O’Dowd (54), Pieter Seelaar (41) and Scott Edwards (36), but 77 from skipper Tonny Staal and an unbeaten 52 from Bryce Street saw HCC home with seven overs to spare.

The other game where the weather caused a DLS result was at Voorburg, where despite a third-wicket stand of 130 between Eric Szwarczynski (33) and Ben Cooper VRA were dismissed for 189.

Cooper’s 107 from 110 deliveries, his second century of the season and like the first coming in a losing cause, was a fine effort, but his dismissal triggered a collapse in which the remaining five wickets fell for just 19 runs, Clayton Floyd running through the tail to finish with three for 24.

Earlier, Viv Kingma had once again put the opposition on the back foot with two quick wickets, while Philippe Boissevain removed both Peter Borren and Cooper to initiate the VRA decline.

As at Thurlede, the die was pretty much cast at Westvliet before the rain intervened, with Voorburg well ahead on DLS at 89 for two from 18 overs.

When play could be resumed the match was cut to 33 overs and the target (coincidentally) to 142, and Noah Croes and Nic Smit were untroubled in carrying on where they had left off, having been given a good start by Tom de Grooth (38) and Matt Smit (17).

They took Voorburg home without further loss, finishing on 33 and 45 respectively and reaching their target with almost seven overs remaining.

Despite the rain sweeping through there was a full match at Sportpark Bermweg, where Sparta 1888 secured a comfortable six-wicket victory over Quick Haag.

The departure of New Zealander Rupert Young forced a change in the Quick top order, Hayden Brain promoted to open along with Jay Bista, and after the early loss of his partner and of Abhinav Gill, he demonstrated his value with a solid 51.

Sharing stands of 43 with Lesley Stokkers (23) and 67 with Geert Maarten Mol (31), he saw the total through to 126 before he was fifth out, and then Daan Vierling (33 not out) and Jeroen Brand (30) combined to enable Quick to reach 199 for eight.

When Prathamesh Dake removed both Sparta openers in one over it seemed as if that might be enough, but Garnett Tarr took the game away from the visitors with a magnificent 116, made from 120 balls with 13 fours and four sixes.

Keeping his side ahead of the DLS rate all the way, he brought Sparta to within 19 runs of victory before he was bowled by Mol, and old stagers Mudassar Bukhari and Atse Buurman then knocked off the remaining runs to complete the win with more than three overs to spare.

The victory keeps Sparta in touch with the mid-table group but for Quick, just one win ahead of bottom side VRA, a nervous second half of the season looms.

The contest tightens at both ends of the table

Rod Lyall 09/06/19

With two matches falling victim to weather which the Dutch Meteorological Institute assures us is normal for this time of year, there was still plenty of interest in Saturday’s Topklasse matches.

Heavy overnight rain and a storm-borne succession of showers left De Diepput unplayable for normal cricket (which didn’t stop the Saturday-afternoon recreational players moving onto it as soon as the match between HCC and ACC was abandoned), while gale-force winds treated the Westvliet sightscreens as their plaything and caused the match between Voorburg and Dosti United to be called off as well.

The shortest of the three games which did get played, a 30-over affair between HBS and Excelsior ‘20 at Craeyenhout, was one of the most significant matches of the round, and turned out to be a last-over thriller.

After Tobias Visée won the toss and elected to bat, the Excelsior bowlers showed greater discipline in the gale-force winds than they had in balmier conditions earlier in the season, but the HBS top order seemed relatively untroubled in reaching 195 for four.

The highlight was a third-wicket stand of 77 between opener Zac Elkin and Sharn Gomes, the latter making an enterprising 34-ball 43 while Elkin batted throughout the innings for his unbeaten 77. There were smaller contributions, all at better than a run a ball, from Visée himself, Wesley Barresi and Zak Gibson.

Sohail Bhatti was the most economical member of the Excelsior attack, conceding just 22 runs in his five overs and claiming Barresi’s wicket.

The Schiedammers began cautiously on what was a fairly demanding chase, and even after both openers had gone the Caribbean partnership of Lorenzo Ingram and Branton Parchment took some time to gain momentum, leaving one wondering whether the task might not be beyond them.

Past the 15-over mark, however, the boundaries started to flow, and by the time Parchment was caught behind off Barresi for a 31-ball 37, the pair had added 82 runs in fourteen overs.

Ingram went on to make 79 from just 58 deliveries, batting with ever-greater confidence and hitting ten fours and a six, and when he holed out to Berend Westdijk at long on trying to hit Gibson into the Bosjes van Pex, only 19 were needed from 16 deliveries with four wickets in hand.

HBS fought to the last, but Sanjit Shankar and Umar Baker were equal to the task, Baker finishing it with a straight six off the penultimate ball.

One curious feature of the Excelsior innings was replicated, almost at the same moment, in the match between VRA Amsterdam and Quick Haag in the Amsterdam Bos: in both games the force of the wind caused the removal of the bails, and just at the same time that Tim Etman was surviving a claim that a Wessel Coster had nicked the stumps on its way through, Quick’s Bobby van Gigch had the better of a similar appeal by Vikram Singh.

Neither batsman survived much longer, but in the match in Amstelveen the crucial dismissal was that of Quick opener Jay Bista, who made 75 before being caught by Leon Turmaine off the bowling of Ben Cooper.

At that point, Quick had been 102 for one chasing VRA’s total of 185 in 40 overs, a score which they had reached thanks to a splendid 80 from former international Eric Szwarczynski, who shared a fourth-wicket stand of 73 with Peter Borren (35).

Of the remining VRA batsmen only Mitch Lees (24) reached double figures, while for Quick the new-ball pairing of Prathamesh Dake and Jay Bista claimed two wickets apiece.

Once Bista had been dismissed, with 84 still needed off 18 overs, the VRA attack fought back, restricting the scoring and forcing the batsmen into rash strokes.

Turmaine, Ben Cooper and Borren each took two wickets, and the asking rate gradually rose beyond achievable levels, with 34 required off the last three overs.

Quick could only manage 23, and VRA completed their first win of the season, with a margin of 10 runs.

At Hazelaarweg VOC Rotterdam, after a disappointing start to the season, had a comfortable 126-run win over Sparta 1888 in a match reduced to 36 overs.

But their top order once again failed to fire, and it took a sixth-wicket stand of 93 between Scott Edwards (41) and Jelte Schoonheim to enable them to recover from 54 for five and finish with 204.

Schoonheim played his first significant innings of the season, his 66 coming from 56 deliveries, with eight fours and two sixes.

The initial damage for Sparta had been largely caused by seamer Dost Muhammad, playing his first match of the year, who took four for 21 in just four overs.

204 turned out to be more than enough, as the Capelle side collapsed to 78 all out in less than 19 overs. Pierce Fletcher (three for 20) and Ashiqullah Said (three for 22) reduced them to 45 for five, and then Ramdas Upadhyaya ran through the middle and lower order for figures of four for 27, his best return in the Topklasse.

ACC back on top as HBS lose to Voorburg

Rod Lyall 02/06/19

Voorburg gained their first victory since the season’s opening round on Saturday and did so in style, bringing to an end the winning run of leaders HBS Craeyenhout. That gave an opening to ACC, who returned to the top of the table by virtue of their defeat of VOC Rotterdam.

After winning the toss and electing to bat at Westvliet, HBS Craeyenhout’s powerful batting line-up soon came under pressure from a disciplined Voorburg attack, and were dismissed for a modest 147.

Most of the top order got a start but then succumbed when they tried to force the pace, and it was Julian de Mey, batting at seven and coming in at 91 for five, who top-scored with an unbeaten 25 and managed to give the total even a hint of respectability.

The wickets were shared among the Voorburg bowlers, with Viv Kingma – who removed the threatening Tobias Visée –, Stef Mulder, Clayton Floyd and Philippe Boissevain claiming two apiece.

The visitors had suffered a setback before the start when allrounder Ferdi Vink injured an ankle and had to go to hospital for an x-ray; it could not be blamed for the HBS performance, but it will have had a disruptive effect on the side, and it meant that the attack was one bowler short.

Wesley Barresi and Zak Gibson removed the Voorburg openers, but a fourth-wicket stand of 63 between Nic Smit and Floyd took the game away from HBS, and although Floyd departed for 32 with 16 still needed, Smit saw his side to a five-wicket victory and ended on an unbeaten 56.

ACC took full advantage of the HBS defeat with a 4-wicket victory over VOC Rotterdam at Het Loopveld which returned them to the top of the table on net run rate, but they did so with just three deliveries to spare and survived some tricky moments along the way.

They began well enough, with Brady Barends ripping through the Rotterdammers’ top order in the first ten overs, but they were held up by a fourth-wicket stand of 85 between Max O’Dowd and Pieter Seelaar which put the visitors on course for a challenging total.

Skipper Saqib Zulfiqar eventually removed Seelaar for 32, and when O’Dowd went soon afterwards, having made a 129-ball 95 which included nine fours and three sixes, the VOC tail provided little resistance and the side were all out for 183.

Barends finished with four for 32, and Aryan Kumar took three for 38.

ACC’s openers Saqib and Rehmat Zulfiqar both went for golden ducks, and when Shirase Rasool went for five the home side were struggling at 18 for three.

But Sikander Zulfiqar, assisted first by Jean Marais and then by Anis Raza, turned the innings around, and after Raza’s departure, having shared in an 80-run partnership for the fifth wicket, Jamieson Mulready supported Zulfiqar to within eight runs of the target with two overs left.

Pacing the denouement with great calm, Zulfiqar hit the winning boundary off the third ball of the final over and finished on 99 not out, made from 125 deliveries with nine fours, just missing out on what would have been a thoroughly deserved century.

HCC missed an opportunity to keep pace with the leaders when they went down to a 72-run defeat by Excelsior ‘20 at Thurlede, which leaves both sides now one game behind ACC and HBS.

Lorenzo Ingram was again the mainstay of the Excelsior batting, making 62 in a total of 218 for nine, with Branton Parchment contributing 26 and Joost Kroesen 32.

But with HCC’s South African debutant Raafieq Isaacs taking four for 43 the Schiedammers collapsed from 181 for three to 202 for eight in the space of four overs, giving HCC a less imposing target than might at one point have been feared.

Bharat Itagi and Adam Wiffen gave them a good start with an opening stand of 59, but the Excelsior combination of Sohail Bhatti and Ingram struck back, and they too suffered a rapid collapse, slumping in eight overs from 84 for one to 103 for six.

Hidde Overdijk did his best to manage the tail but when he was last out the total was still only 146, Bhatti finishing with four for 27 and Ingram three for 32.

Quick Haag demonstrated that with the addition of Jay Bista and Prathamesh Dake they would be a force to be reckoned with in the latter part of the season by beating Dosti United by 30 runs at Nieuw Hanenburg.

It was New Zealander Rupert Young, though, who top-scored in their total of 177 with a solid 50, sharing a 62-run partnership for the second wicket with Geert Maarten Mol (31).

Anees Davids and Taruwar Kohli  were the most successful of Dosti’s bowlers with three for 23 and three for 29 respectively.

Dosti’s reply hinged almost entirely on Kohli, who only received really significant support from Kuldeep Diwan (26).

Diwan’s dismissal by Dake to make it 138 for six left a huge burden on Kohli’s shoulders, and although he made a patient, responsible 57 the wickets kept falling at the other end, and when he was last out the total was still only 147.

Dake’s three for 26 laid the foundation for Quick’s win, but the finishing blows fell to Mol, who took the last three wickets and finished with three for 29, despite having bowled no fewer than 13 wides.

The most exciting finish of the day came at Sportpark Bermweg, where Sparta 1888 held on despite a heroic fightback by VRA’s Peter Borren to win by just four runs with eight balls remaining.

Sparta had seemed to have the game in the bag when, chasing their total of 197 for eight, VRA were 136 for eight.

But Tom Long supported the former national skipper in a ninth-wicket stand of 48, and even after he was bowled by Andrew Fletcher Borren continued to pick off the runs.

Just six were needed off the last two overs, but then Sparta captain Joost Martijn Snoep had Borren caught by Usman Saleem for 51 and the innings finished on 193. Snoep had match-winning figures of five for 27.

Earlier, Garnett Tarr and Mudassar Bukhari had laid the foundation of Sparta’s total with a third-wicket stand of 73; Tarr was dismissed for 41, while Bukhari made a 121-ball 67, while there were two wickets apiece for Brandon Graber, Ben Cooper and Leon Turmaine.


Gallery | Excelsior vs HCC | 01.06.19

Excelsior ’20 vs HCC ay Thurlede | 01/06/19
scorecard | as it happened

Gallery | VOC vs Excelsior | 30.05.19

VOC v Excelsior at Hazelaarweg – 30/05/19
scorecard | as it happened