Bowlers on top on another sunny Sunday

Rod Lyall 09/07/18

Batsmen traditionally prosper with the sun on their backs, bowlers toiling in the heat and fielders struggling on quick outfields. Yet those natural laws seemed to have been suspended in the Topklasse on Sunday, as only one of the sides batting first managed to pass 150.

The exception was on the artificial second ground at De Diepput where Quick Haag, boosted by another fine century from Jay Bista, reached 222 for six against leaders VOC Rotterdam.

Bista faced 130 deliveries in making his 124, hitting five fours and five sixes, and shared a vital third-wicket partnership of 138 with Geert Maarten Mol, who made 61. Fred Klaassen had started by snatching two early wickets for VOC, and finished with three for 22.

But Bista and Mol’s effort was matched by that of VOC’s Corey Rutgers and Max O’Dowd, who came together at 65 for two and added 145 in 27 overs to see their side to the brink of victory.

O’Dowd fell to change bowler Bob van Gigch just before the end, having made an 89-ball 85, but Rutgers saw VOC home in tandem with skipper Pieter Seelaar and finished on an unbeaten 86.

Just the width of the dividing path away, HBS Craeyenhout maintained the pressure on the leaders by holding on to take a tight, low-scoring match against HCC by just 15 runs.

Put in by Mark Jonkman, HBS were dismissed for 138, with Jaron Morgan top-scoring with 41 as the HCC bowlers worked their way through a normally-prolific top order; it may not have been as dramatic as the collapse when the two sides met in May, but Hidde Overdijk took three for 15 and Ali Ahmed Qasim, Bryce Street and Jonkman himself picked up two wickets apiece.

Wessel Coster quickly achieved a double breakthrough when HCC replied, and although opener Ryan Ninan made 29 wickets continued to fall at regular intervals. Farshad Khan was again the main wicket-taker with four for 26, and at 90 for seven the outcome seemed settled.

But Douwe Walhain and Joost van Kessel provided some late resistance, and the issue remained in doubt until Van Kessel was run out for 16 with 15 still needed. Laurens Lagas fell soon afterwards, and HBS had secured a hard-fought victory.

The bowlers were also on top, at least until the innings break, at Het Loopveld West, where ACC lost two wickets in as many overs against VRA Amsterdam and never recovered. Rehmat Zulfiqar batted doggedly for a 79-ball 31 and Anis Raza took over after his departure, but with spinners Leon Turmaine and Adeel Raja taking three for 16 and two for 10 respectively, the home side could only manage 112, made in 43 overs.

Eric Szwarczynski and Daan ter Braak gave their side a great start with an opening stand of 109 – VRA’s best of the season so far – and both posted half-centuries before Ter Braak fell for 52 with just four needed for victory, Szwarczynski finishing on 50 not out as VRA won by eight wickets.

At Thurlede, Excelsior ‘20’s unhappy run continued as they were bowled out for 81 by a determined Dosti United attack in which overseas players Anees Davids and Taruwar Kohli claimed four for 17 and four for 21 respectively.

Skipper Tom Heggelman made 18, but Waheed Masood’s dismissal of Lorenzo Ingram for a duck was a setback from which the defending champions were unable to recover.

Heggelman and Sohail Bhatti hit back when Dosti replied, however, and at 38 for four it seemed possible that the Amsterdam side, too, might crumble.

But Davids now joined Kohli and the crease, and they put on the 44 runs needed, Kohli finishing on 32 and Davids on 23 to give Dosti a six-wicket victory.

The prevailing pattern of the day was also in force at Sportpark Bermweg, where Michael Pollard contributed half of Sparta 1888’s total with a defiant 102-ball 74, sharing important late partnerships with Usman Ishfaq and Usman Saleem.

Punjab Rotterdam captain Suleiman Tariq led from the front with three wickets for 23, his victims being Warren Bell, Tim de Kok and Mudassar Bukhari, while seamer Mubashar Hussain and spinners Barend Vorster and Stef Myburgh picked up two wickets each as Sparta were all out for 147.

Openers Myburgh and Ali Raza then made light of conditions at the Bermweg, often seen as a batsman’s nightmare, as they raced to a ten-wicket victory for Punjab, taking just 29.4 overs to knock off the runs. Myburgh finished on 85 and Raza on 59, Punjab’s second victory of the season, like the first, sealed by an utterly dominant opening stand.

Scorecard | HCC vs Excelsior | 26.05.18

HCC I Vs Excelsior 20 I
1-Innings Match Played At De Diepput, Den Haag, 26-May-2018, Topklasse
Excelsior 20 I Win by 89 runs
Round 6
Toss won by Excelsior 20 I
Umpires MA Din – ML Hancock
Scorers EM Heggelman – K Pattiselanno
Home Side HCC I
Points Awarded Excelsior 20 I 2, HCC I 0
Excelsior 20 I 1st Innings 209/6 Closed (Overs 50)
Batsman Fieldsman Bowler Runs Bls 4s 6s
TC Etman c AJ Staal b FH de Lange 5 10 0 0
SG Shankar c BHG Gorlee b MBS Jonkman 28 52 3 0
LT Ingram c LJF Lagas b HC Overdijk 109 144 10 2
JR Hilditch run out 8 35 1 0
J Kroesen c BE Street b HC Overdijk 6 21 0 0
TJ Heggelman* not out 26 29 0 1
DA Woutersen+ b HC Overdijk 1 2 0 0
GG Kroesen not out 5 8 0 0
RWA van Troost dnb
S Bhatti dnb
HA Khan dnb
extras (b1 lb2 w17 nb1) 21
TOTAL 6 wickets for 209
1-11(TC Etman) 2-57(SG Shankar) 3-85(JR Hilditch) 4-132(J Kroesen) 5-197(LT Ingram) 6-200(DA Woutersen)
Bowler Overs Maid Runs Wkts wd nb
R Ninan 7 1 29 0
FH de Lange 10 4 15 1 2 1
AA Qasim 10 0 45 0 8
MBS Jonkman 10 0 55 1 1
HC Overdijk 10 1 41 3 5
TF Peters 3 0 21 0
HCC I 1st Innings 120/10 All Out (Overs 47)
Batsman Fieldsman Bowler Runs Bls 4s 6s
BE Street lbw b HA Khan 11 52 0 0
AA Qasim c J Kroesen b RWA van Troost 4 26 0 0
AJ Staal c LT Ingram b HA Khan 8 22 0 0
BHG Gorlee c GG Kroesen b JR Hilditch 29 53 1 0
HC Overdijk c DA Woutersen b GG Kroesen 3 13 0 0
R Ninan c RWA van Troost b GG Kroesen 12 20 0 1
JZ-X van Kessel c DA Woutersen b S Bhatti 10 36 0 0
MBS Jonkman* c LT Ingram b JR Hilditch 11 13 2 0
TF Peters c DA Woutersen b GG Kroesen 6 23 0 0
LJF Lagas+ not out 9 22 0 0
FH de Lange b GG Kroesen 4 3 1 0
extras (b0 lb5 w7 nb1) 13
TOTAL 10 wickets for 120
1-14(AA Qasim) 2-28(BE Street) 3-38(AJ Staal) 4-50(HC Overdijk) 5-72(R Ninan) 6-82(BHG Gorlee) 7-96(MBS Jonkman) 8-99(JZ-X van Kessel) 9-116(TF Peters) 10-120(FH de Lange)
Bowler Overs Maid Runs Wkts wd nb
JR Hilditch 10 2 19 2 1
RWA van Troost 7 0 13 1 4
HA Khan 4 0 17 2
S Bhatti 8 2 17 1 3
GG Kroesen 8 0 31 4
LT Ingram 10 3 18 0

Round 1 Preview

Rod Lyall 04/05/18

A year ago, Rotterdam’s Zomercomplex became the Topklasse’s newest venue when Punjab made their debut in the top flight with a notable win over Quick Haag. This time last season’s newcomers again start at home, but against defending champions Excelsior ‘20, who will be setting out on their quest to become the first side since VRA in 2005-07 to win three national titles in a row, a feat which the Schiedammers themselves achieved a decade earlier.

This match will have added piquancy because Excelsior will feature seamer Haider Khan, who returns to his old club after a spell with Punjab, while the home side will include Dutch international opener Stef Myburgh, who had two seasons at Thurlede before moving to Schiedam neighbours Hermes-DVS, whence he has now landed at the Zomercomplex.

Punjab will be hoping that Belgian international allrounder Ali Raza and 20-year-old South African Bernard Vorster are able to fill the gaps left by Shoaib Minhaas and Khurram Shazad, and that the amateur members of what proved a workmanlike and resilient side last season are able to rise to the occasion against a stable, increasingly experienced Excelsior outfit.

With Lorenzo Ingram and James Hilditch once again at the heart of Tom Heggelman’s side, and Gijs Kroesen back from a successful grade season in Perth, Excelsior will start as clear favourites, but the opening of a Topklasse campaign always throws up a surprise or two, and the Schiedammers would be happy and relieved to head home with their first points tomorrow evening.

This year’s new venue is Het Schollebos in Capelle aan den IJssel (a.k.a. Sportpark Bermweg), where promoted Sparta 1888 will host HCC at the ground they have developed in the years since their last, brief sojourn in the top flight.

Successful as they were in the Hoofdklasse, Sparta’s overseas players Riaan Jeggels, Warren Bell and Craig Ambrose will need to adjust quickly to the tougher demands of the Topklasse, and a HCC lineup which includes new player-coach Bryce Street and the returning Ryan Ninan alongside a healthy mix of experienced and developing home-produced players will constitute a stiff test.

Mudassar Bukhari will doubtless relish his return to the highest division, and he can be expected to use all his experience against the Hagenaars. HCC’s ability to deal with him, and that of the Sparta batting to cope with a varied HCC attack, spearheaded by Mark Jonkman and Reinier Bijloos, may well be the keys to what promises to be an intriguing encounter.

On paper at least, VRA Amsterdam look to be one of the main challengers to Excelsior’s hegemony, and they will have an early test of their mettle when they take on traditional rivals Quick Haag in the Amsterdamse Bos. It will be interesting to see how quickly and effectively international Viv Kingma takes over the new-ball role from the departed Fred Klaassen, and how well Daan ter Braak fits into an already-strong batting lineup.

For Quick, overseas players Jay Bista and Sean Davey will need to settle in as rapidly as possible to get the season away to a solid start, especially with Wesley Barresi and Henk-Jan Mol no longer in the side. But man for man, new VRA skipper Emile van den Burg looks to have a more accomplished side, with deep batting – the top six have 20 centuries in the top division to their credit – and a well-balanced attack, and a home win looks to be on the cards.

HBS Den Haag had a significant impact last year on their return to the Topklasse, and they will be aiming to build on that platform when they entertain ACC at Craeyenhout.

With Australian player-coach Jaron Morgan – one of three batsmen to pass 1000 runs last season – joined by left-arm spinner Sharn Gomes, and the top order reinforced by the arrival of Wesley Barresi, the Kraaien are another side capable of putting in a convincing title challenge, and will hope to exploit the advantage of their artificial outfield against an ACC side which often struggled last year.

In the constant battle to find new ways of saying that the Amsterdammers are worrying dependent on the brothers Zulfiqar, perhaps it is sufficient to remark that much may hinge on the contribution of their new overseas players Richardt Frenz and Devon Botha. But in the longer term it is the emergence of one or more of the crop of ACC youngsters which will determine whether the Loopveld club is able to emulate Excelsior’s achievement in building a young side into a winning combination.

Another of last year’s struggling sides, Dosti United will start at Sportpark Drieburg against another of the potential title challengers, VOC Rotterdam, although because of field availability issues this match will be played on Sunday.

With five current or recent Dutch internationals in their squad and national skipper Pieter Seelaar at the helm, VOC have plenty of firepower with both bat and ball, and they will be very disappointed if they do not give a much better account of themselves than in 2017. Dosti, too, have a lot to prove, but they will need a much greater team effort if they are to avoid putting excessive weight on the shoulders of their overseas players, Taruwar Kohli and Anees Davids.

Overall, though, VOC look like a much stronger outfit, and they will be favourites to take the points back to Rotterdam, avenging in the process their last opening visit to Drieburg, when they were dismissed for 17 in the first round of the 2016 season.

Rod Lyall’s first-round tips: Excelsior, HCC, VRA, HBS, VOC.

Fantasy Cricket Goes Live

cricxiFollowing the success of last season’s experiment, CricketXI and TKcricket are delighted to announce the return of Topklasse Fantasy Cricket for the 2018 season.

Pit your managerial wits against your friends and team-mates, test your Topklasse knowledge against the self-styled experts.

Submissions for teams and leagues are now open over at CricketXI. Entry is entirely free, the trophy for the global winner is a rather fancy hat.

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