Rod Lyall 26/08/19
While Topklasse champions Excelsior ’20 performed their lap of honour at Thurlede on Sunday, most of the interest outside Schiedam centred on Capelle aan den Ijssel and Voorburg, where Sparta 1888 and Quick Haag were fighting to avoid relegation.
Having lost the toss at Sportpark Bermweg, Sparta made a great start against HCC, removing Tonny Staal and, crucially, Bryce Street with just 19 runs on the board.
But Adam Wiffen and Boris Gorlee restored HCC’s fortunes with a third-wicket stand of 71, and after Gorlee departed for 34 Wiffen (64) and Bharat Itagi (51) carried the total on to 174.
Even so, it looked as if HCC might struggle to get past 200 until Douwe Walhain and Olivier Klaus added a brisk 40 for the ninth wicket to get their side up to 237 for eight, a pretty imposing target at the Bermweg.
Martijn Snoep took three for 40 for Sparta, including the key wickets of Street and Itagi, while Andrew Fletcher claimed three for 59.
Sparta needed a solid start in reply, but Street and Ali Ahmed Qasim quickly accounted for the openers, and it was left to Tim de Kok and Mudassar Bukhari to work the side back into the game with a third-wicket stand of 72.
Once De Kok departed for 29, however, only Bukhari stood firm, taking 67 deliveries to reach his half-century as partners came and went.
The asking rate had been creeping upwards, but Bukhari now accelerated the scoring as the wickets continued to fall, Street taking four for 30 and Itagi three for 45.
Bukhari reached his century, the fourth of his career in the top flight and his first for Sparta, with nine wickets down, and when he was last out, caught by Walhain off Itagi’s bowling for 103, Sparta were still 36 short of HCC’s total.
By that time, however, it had become apparent that the relegation threat had disappeared, thanks to Quick Haag’s defeat by Voorburg at Westvliet.
The home side had reserved one of their more convincing batting performances of the season for their final game, reaching 175 for two before collapsing to 210 for nine.
Noah Croes led the way, sharing stands of 80 for the first wicket with Tom de Grooth (41) and 91 for the third with Nic Smit (46) before, with partners and overs rapidly disappearing, he was run out for 97 just one over from the end, looking to retain the strike and give himself a chance of reaching his second Topklasse century.
Quick were handicapped by the withdrawal from their attack of Prathamesh Dake, suffering from a hamstring injury, after he had bowled only three and a half overs, and it was Jeroen Brand who was the main wicket-taker with three for 43.
Jay Bista took two for 22 in ten extremely tight overs while Edgar Schiferli, back in the top flight for the first time this season, bowled a double wicket maiden at the end.
Brandon Glover and Viv Kingma produced hostile spells when Quick replied – the latter’s marred by a succession of no-balls – and even Jay Bista was unable to get his side off to its usual commanding start.
Glover eventually had him caught behind for 34, and although Geert Maarten Mol (31) and Brand (26) almost doubled the total in a fourth-wicket partnership, once Philippe Boissevain and Nic Smit came into the attack Quick seemed to have no answer.
Boissevain finished with four for 20 and Smit three for 16 as Quick were dismissed for 143, a result which ensured that they would be playing in the Hoofdklasse next season.
Far removed from any anxieties about relegation, Excelsior ‘20 completed their campaign with a 59-run victory over VRA Amsterdam at Thurlede.
The Amsterdam side had, of course, spent the first half of the season in the wooden spoon position themselves, but a rally thereafter had taken them to safety.
Sunday saw their opponents stage a rally of their own, when having been reduced to 112 for six, they were able to almost double their total thanks to a somewhat improbable stand of 90 between Sohail Bhatti, promoted to number six and celebrating the occasion with a maiden half-century, and David Woutersen, who made 32.
Bhatti was eventually dismissed by Brandon Graber for 54, but it was Ben Cooper who was VRA’s most successful bowler with three for 51.
VRA were never really in the hunt as they tried to chase down Excelsior’s 221 for nine, and although Vikram Singh made 28, Cooper 35 and Peter Borren 40, they were dismissed for 162, Lorenzo Ingram taking three for 19 for the champions.
There was another rally and another maiden demi-centurion at Hazelaarweg, where VOC Rotterdam’s tail staged a considerably more remarkable comeback against HBS Craeyenhout.
Berend Westdijk, Zak Gibson and Julian de Mey had combined to reduce the Rotterdam side, who had perhaps celebrated their previous day’s T20 Cup final victory over the same opponents a little too thoroughly, to 92 for eight, but then Bobby Hanif, in company first with Corey Rutgers and then with David Mullett, managed to get them up to 183 before Sharn Gomes removed him for a defiant 56.
Hanif then removed danger-man Tobias Visée for just three, but although two wickets for Ramdas Upadhyaya had HBS briefly in trouble at 37 for three, a fourth-wicket partnership of 138 between Zac Elkin (77 not out from 66 deliveries) and Gomes (71 from 55) took the Craeyenhout side to within nine runs of victory, and they completed the six-wicket win with more than 25 overs to spare.
At Het Loopveld ACC retained third place on the table by beating Dosti United by 35 runs.
Saqib Zulfiqar top-scored with 67, sharing a third-wicket stand of 77 with Shirase Rasool (36) and then brother Sikander held the middle and lower order together as Kuldeep Diwan cemented his position as the league’s leading wicket-taker with four for 15, bringing his tally for the season to 36 in just 14 games, and Saber Zakhil chipped in with three for 29 as ACC were dismissed for 196.
Rahil Ahmed and Vinoo Tewarie gave Dosti a great start with an opening stand of 84, but once Tewarie was trapped in front by Saqib Zulfiqar the innings again subsided alarmingly.
Four ducks, three of them the work of Brady Barends, saw Dosti slump to 101 for five, and when Ahmed became Barends’ fourth victim and departed for 58, it was left to Diwan (26) and Arief Hoseinbaks (16) to carry on the battle.
The side was eventually dismissed for 161, Barends finishing with four for 34 and Saqib Zulfiqar claiming three for 29.
Bertus de Jong & Rod Lyall 23/08/19
So we arrive at the denouement of this season’s Topklasse, the championship decided last week with Excelsior reclaiming the title with a convincing win over an understrength Dosti side, and all that remains to be resolved is which of Quick and Sparta will be replaced by Punjab Rotterdam next season.
BdJ: Sparta 1888 still need a win, a tie or a washout against HCC at Bermweg on Sunday to be sure of their Topklasse survival, having failed to put the question to bed when they sank to a 64-run loss against relegation rivals Quick Haag last week. Though Andrew Fletcher has finally found some form after a disappointing season, Max Hoornweg’s progress has proved sufficient to catch the eye of national selectors and Mudassar Bukhari is bowling as well as ever, going up against the second-placed HCC is an unenviable final fixture for a side in Sparta’s position. The Cappelle side has won just one match in the second half of the season, whilst HCC are six from eight. The form of Bryce Street has been a major factor in HCC’s success thus far, currently leading the batting averages as well as boasting 20 wickets and 15 catches so far this season. Adam Wiffen has had a fine season with the bat, and comes off a couple of solid performances for Netherlands A against Jersey in the past week. It’s been an all-round effort from HCC to keep in the title hunt for as long as they did however, and Sparta will have to hope that they arrive at Bermweg somewhat deflated after falling short in the quest for the championship.
RL: No question that HCC have the edge over Sparta, who were distinctly the weaker party in their match against Quick Haag last week. They do have a potential match-winner in Mudassar Bukhari, who shares the season’s leading wicket-taker spot with Dosti’s Kuldeep Diwaan at 32, and who remains a threatening presence in the batting line-up. Sparta are, of course, a tougher proposition at home, where their bowlers are a more imposing unit than elsewhere, but HCC’s batting is both strong and relatively deep; although Hidde Overdijk didn’t come off last Sunday he is also capable of scoring quickly should circumstances demand it. Sparta will want to ensure that events at Westvliet are irrelevant to their survival, but it will take a much improved effort if they are end their season with a win.
BdJ: Also in contention for the wooden spoon are Quick Haag, currently languishing at the bottom of the table on 9 points from 17 games. They will need both HCC to best Sparta on Sunday as well as taking two points home themselves when they face VCC at Westvliet. Their win over Sparta last week kept their hopes alive one more week, though it again rather underscored the importance of Jay Bista to the side. Though Bob van Gigch and Jeroen Brand came through with half-centuries in support, it was Bista’s six wickets in the second innings that sealed the win. That said, VCC will not have forgotten the 194 that the Mumbaiker racked up against them in their previous encounter. Though one might hope Quick will be the more motivated of the two sides come Sunday, VCC bounced back from a string of poor results to find an unlikely last ball win away at VRA last week, perhaps enjoying some cricket with the pressure off.
RL: One of the season’s great enigmas is Voorburg’s failure to have a more significant impact on their return to the Topklasse: they have undoubtedly missed the contribution of Bas de Leede, but their batting has consistently been unable to fulfil its promise and they have only intermittently shown what they ought to be capable of. Quick, on the other hand, demonstrated last week that even without Geert Maarten Mol they can produce a convincing effort when it is needed, and it will never be more acutely needed than it is this week at Westvliet. They could turn on another winning performance only to find that Sparta have squeezed them out; but they know that without such a performance it won’t matter what happens in Capelle. Voorburg have the bowlers to cut through Quick’s batting, but if the latter show the resilience they did against Sparta this is a relegation battle which could go all the way to the wire.
BdJ: Meanwhile VRA have the chance to put a bit of a downer on the party at Thurlede when they take on the newly-crowned <b.Excelsior ‘20. Despite a rather sloppy performance against VCC that saw them concede some 29 extras and eventually the game, they remain entirely capable of bringing the champions down to earth. The loss of Quirijn Gunning to injury takes some of the sting from the attack, but on the batting side of things the Amsterdammers are beginning to live up to their paper strength. Vikram Singh continues to mature, crossing 500 runs for the season last week and looking in good nick for Netherlands A, and together with Peter Borren and Ben Cooper VRA now have three players with 500 runs to their name, whilst Excelsior, quite remarkably, have none. That stat is of course something of a testament to Excelsior’s strength in the field, and indeed the Schiedam side has looked more than the sum of its parts throughout the season.
RL: Brenton Parchment and Lorenzo Ingram may have had relatively quiet seasons for Excelsior with the bat, but they are massive presences in the side, and their efforts in the field far outweigh their mere statistics. With skipper Tom Heggelman and Rens van Troost in great form with the ball the Schiedammers’ demolition of Dosti last week was a fitting climax to their pursuit of the title, but the whole team will be keen to ensure that the season doesn’t end in anti-climax at home to VRA. The Amsterdam side are, of course, extremely dependent on a few outstanding players, including the rapidly-emerging Singh, and their batting will provide a stiff test for Excelsior’s attack.
BdJ: What remains for the rest is mid-table positional play, though for last year’s champions VOC Rotterdam even a top-five finish is more than they can now hope for. They welcome fourth-placed HBS Craeyenhout to Hazelaarweg on Sunday, though one expects both sides will be more concerned with events the preceding day when they contest the final round of the T20 competition along with ACC and HCC. One suspects if one side or other can carry some momentum in from Saturday’s contest at VCC it may prove decisive for the final 50-over contest of the season for these two underperforming sides.
RL: Every game of cricket matters, or ought to, and there will at least be pride at stake when HBS take on VOC on Sunday. Some of the individual battles, too, are intriguing: HBS’s battery of seamers against O’Dowd, Seelaar and Edwards, for example, and Seelaar’s spin against that powerful HBS batting line-up. If that suggests that HBS have the edge in both departments that’s because they do, but if VOC’s international trio perform as they are capable of doing, or other key team-members like Dirk van Baren and Bobby Hanif play their part, then this could be a closer match than form indicates.
BdJ: And finally ACC, who rather fell away after making the early running in the Topklasse, will take on the wildly erratic Dosti-United at Het Loopveld, again largely for bragging rights. ACC staged something of a resurgence after their late season slump, besting HBS at De Diepput last week to ensure they’d finish top of the Amsterdam clubs this season, whilst Dosti collapsed to 61 all-out against Excelsior to hand the Schiedammers the title on a platter. Dosti were rather understrength last week, with Kohli long gone and Bali and Davids also absent, but there is little indication they will field a substantially stronger outfit come Saturday. Though both Vinoo Tewarie and Rahil Ahmed have stepped up on occasion to produce some fine innings over the season, Dosti will need both to fire and the rest of the regulars to offer some support if they’re to finish on a high this season.
RL: It’s been a difficult season for Dosti, and not only in the Topklasse, and this was underlined very firmly by last week’s disappointing effort against Excelsior. With Amitoze Singh also missing from the teamsheet and Waheed Masood forced out of the attack after bowling just ten deliveries, the attrition of resources is reaching critical levels, while ACC’s roller-coaster season has at last seen the emergence of some of their younger talents, especially Aryan Kumar and, to a degree, Shirase Rasool. But Brady Barends has been the star of their show, and with the Zulfiqar brothers making runs last week they look a much more impressive outfit than they did a month or so ago.
Bertus de Jong’s tips: HCC, VCC, VRA, HBS, ACC
Rod Lyall’s tips: HCC, Quick, Excelsior, HBS, ACC.
|Toss won by||Dosti United I|
|Umpires||M Prabhudesai – E Ruchtie|
|Scorers||R Seetal – EM Heggelman|
|Home Side||Dosti United I|
|Comment||Match reduced to 45 overs|
|Points Awarded||Dosti United I 0, Excelsior 20 I 2|
|VAB Tewarie*||c L van Wyk||b RWA van Troost||2||30||0||0|
|RI Ahmed+||c L van Wyk||b S Bhatti||11||37||1||0|
|M Hans||run out UF Baker||0||2||0||0|
|VS Tewarie||c L van Wyk||b RWA van Troost||0||10||0||0|
|S Zakhil||c LT Ingram||b RWA van Troost||14||30||2||0|
|S Ghori||b LT Ingram||6||35||0||0|
|K Diwan||c TJ Heggelman||b RWA van Troost||0||10||0||0|
|W Masood||not out||16||17||1||2|
|Arief Hoseinbaks||c TC Etman||b TJ Heggelman||1||10||0||0|
|Asief Hoseinbaks||st RTF Verhagen||b TJ Heggelman||0||7||0||0|
|R Varma||b TJ Heggelman||0||1||0||0|
|extras||(b5 lb2 w4 nb0)||11|
|TOTAL||10 wickets for||61|
|1-17(VAB Tewarie) 2-17(M Hans) 3-17(RI Ahmed) 4-17(VS Tewarie) 5-39(S Zakhil) 6-39(K Diwan) 7-39(S Ghori) 8-46(Arief Hoseinbaks) 9-61(Asief Hoseinbaks) 10-61(R Varma)|
|RWA van Troost||9||0||11||4||1||–|
|TC Etman||c RI Ahmed||b K Diwan||2||10||0||0|
|RTF Verhagen+||c RI Ahmed||b S Zakhil||17||52||0||1|
|LT Ingram||b M Hans||4||6||0||0|
|BA Parchment||not out||21||22||2||1|
|L van Wyk||not out||15||15||2||1|
|RWA van Troost||dnb|
|extras||(b0 lb2 w6 nb0)||8|
|TOTAL||3 wickets for||67|
|1-6(TC Etman) 2-13(LT Ingram) 3-39(RTF Verhagen)|
|Toss won by||HBS I|
|Umpires||HM Butt – R Kaulingfreks|
|Home Side||HBS I|
|Comment||Match reduced to 44 overs|
|Points Awarded||ACC I 2, HBS I 0|
|BL Barends||c ZW Elkin||b FJ Vink||57||73||6||1|
|RU Zulfiqar||b F Khan||13||41||0||0|
|SM Zulfiqar*||not out||80||77||5||3|
|SR Rasool||c ZW Elkin||b FJ Vink||4||6||1||0|
|SA Zulfiqar||c TP Visée||b BA Westdijk||70||60||8||1|
|S Hannema+||not out||9||7||0||1|
|M van Vliet||dnb|
|extras||(b0 lb2 w14 nb0)||16|
|TOTAL||4 wickets for||249|
|1-65(RU Zulfiqar) 2-86(BL Barends) 3-90(SR Rasool) 4-208(SA Zulfiqar)|
|JI de Mey||4||0||21||0||–||–|
|TP Visée*||c D Arya||b RA Kumar||17||10||1||2|
|ZW Elkin+||lbw||b SM Zulfiqar||34||56||1||1|
|WT Coster||b SA Zulfiqar||21||51||3||0|
|SP Gomes||c S Hannema||b SA Zulfiqar||1||3||0||0|
|A Ahmed||c SA Zulfiqar||b AM Shoaib||19||22||2||1|
|Navjit Singh||c SA Zulfiqar||b D Arya||59||50||9||1|
|ZN Gibson||b SA Zulfiqar||14||10||1||1|
|FJ Vink||c RU Zulfiqar||b D Arya||17||14||0||2|
|JI de Mey||c SM Zulfiqar||b D Arya||16||11||2||0|
|BA Westdijk||c&b D Arya||9||4||2||0|
|F Khan||not out||7||6||1||0|
|extras||(b0 lb3 w17 nb0)||20|
|TOTAL||10 wickets for||234|
|1-20(TP Visée) 2-79(WT Coster) 3-80(SP Gomes) 4-91(ZW Elkin) 5-119(A Ahmed) 6-170(ZN Gibson) 7-193(FJ Vink) 8-197(Navjit Singh) 9-218(BA Westdijk) 10-234(JI de Mey)|
|M van Vliet||2||0||13||0||3||–|
|Toss won by||Quick Haag I|
|Umpires||HKG Jansen – WPM van Liemt|
|Scorers||JWM Krulder – T Hoornweg|
|Home Side||Quick Haag I|
|Points Awarded||Quick Haag I 2, Sparta I 0|
|JG Bista||c AT Fletcher||b MB Hoornweg||54||35||5||4|
|S Ekelmans||c AF Buurman||b M Bukhari||11||30||1||0|
|HJ van Gigch||b M Singh||58||43||4||4|
|JA Brand||c AF Buurman||b JM Snoep||52||84||2||1|
|LW Stokkers||c AT Fletcher||b JM Snoep||18||28||1||0|
|AWP Pototsky||c U Saleem||b JM Snoep||11||23||0||1|
|D Vierling*+||c&b M Bukhari||1||8||0||0|
|PG Dake||c AF Buurman||b JM Snoep||0||2||0||0|
|MB van Schelven||c TIM de Kok||b M Bukhari||28||27||3||0|
|S Diwan||not out||10||10||1||0|
|DG Mason||b M Bukhari||0||1||0||0|
|extras||(b0 lb7 w8 nb0)||15|
|TOTAL||10 wickets for||258|
|1-66(S Ekelmans) 2-77(JG Bista) 3-150(HJ van Gigch) 4-193(LW Stokkers) 5-218(AWP Pototsky) 6-218(JA Brand) 7-218(PG Dake) 8-230(D Vierling) 9-258(MB van Schelven) 10-258(DG Mason)|
|AT Fletcher||b JG Bista||78||92||6||1|
|A Raza||c S Ekelmans||b PG Dake||10||11||2||0|
|TIM de Kok||c LW Stokkers||b JA Brand||20||26||2||1|
|M Bukhari||c MB van Schelven||b S Diwan||15||16||1||0|
|AF Buurman+||c D Vierling||b JG Bista||15||23||1||1|
|M Singh||run out S Ekelmans/D Vierling||0||2||0||0|
|JM Snoep*||not out||16||57||0||0|
|N Ibrahimkhil||c&b JG Bista||17||23||1||0|
|U Saleem||c&b JG Bista||0||1||0||0|
|S Sardha||c&b JG Bista||3||7||0||0|
|MB Hoornweg||b JG Bista||0||2||0||0|
|extras||(b4 lb2 w12 nb2)||20|
|TOTAL||10 wickets for||194|
|1-24(A Raza) 2-61(TIM de Kok) 3-88(M Bukhari) 4-123(AF Buurman) 5-123(M Singh) 6-160(AT Fletcher) 7-187(N Ibrahimkhil) 8-188(U Saleem) 9-194(S Sardha) 10-194(MB Hoornweg)|
|MB van Schelven||7||0||25||0||–||–|
|Toss won by||Voorburg I|
|Umpires||DJ Kalloe – P Muthucumaru|
|Scorers||K Holdsworth – CC Schinkel|
|Home Side||VRA I|
|Comment||Match reduced to 43 overs|
|Points Awarded||VRA I 0, Voorburg I 2|
|V Singh||c VJ Kingma||b PRP Boissevain||51||81||5||0|
|ES Szwarczynski||c N Croes||b VJ Kingma||18||16||4||0|
|LA Turmaine||lbw||b ST Mulder||14||28||2||0|
|BN Cooper||b C Greenshields||10||8||1||0|
|PW Borren*||not out||87||72||8||1|
|E van den Burg||b VJ Kingma||11||26||0||0|
|MW Lake||b NF Smit||2||8||0||0|
|MB Lees+||run out||13||9||1||0|
|TK Long||not out||4||8||0||0|
|extras||(b2 lb1 w5 nb0)||8|
|TOTAL||7 wickets for||218|
|1-21(ES Szwarczynski) 2-64(LA Turmaine) 3-77(BN Cooper) 4-127(V Singh) 5-159(E van den Burg) 6-172(MW Lake) 7-199(MB Lees)|
|N Croes+||c MB Lees||b HG Mia||21||45||1||0|
|TN de Grooth*||b HG Mia||16||25||1||0|
|N Gigani||lbw||b HG Mia||0||7||0||0|
|NF Smit||not out||87||77||4||2|
|FJ de Lange||b PW Borren||0||3||0||0|
|C Greenshields||c V Singh||b PW Borren||15||32||2||0|
|T Nota||lbw||b TK Long||6||21||0||0|
|PRP Boissevain||c LA Turmaine||b BL Graber||37||41||3||0|
|VJ Kingma||not out||8||7||0||0|
|extras||(b1 lb4 w24 nb0)||29|
|TOTAL||7 wickets for||219|
|1-39(TN de Grooth) 2-45(N Gigani) 3-46(N Croes) 4-47(FJ de Lange) 5-73(C Greenshields) 6-111(T Nota) 7-188(PRP Boissevain)|
|Toss won by||VOC I|
|Umpires||RJ Akram – J Hilhorst|
|Scorers||K Pattiselanno – F van Lent|
|Home Side||HCC I|
|Points Awarded||VOC I 0, HCC I 2|
|MP O'Dowd||run out AO Wiffen||4||10||0||0|
|SP van Lent+||lbw||b MW Hay||29||61||2||0|
|ZDA van Baren||c BHG Gorlee||b MW Hay||20||48||3||0|
|PM Seelaar*||c BR Itagi||b OO Klaus||25||24||4||0|
|SA Edwards||b OO Klaus||18||40||2||1|
|CL Rutgers||c LJF Lagas||b BE Street||46||49||3||2|
|MA Durrani||c&b OO Klaus||0||3||0||0|
|RR Upadhyaya||b AA Qasim||5||11||0||0|
|A Said||lbw||b BR Itagi||2||21||0||0|
|BW Hanif||c BE Street||b BR Itagi||1||7||0||0|
|MAA Jamil||not out||0||0||0||0|
|extras||(b1 lb2 w3 nb1)||7|
|TOTAL||10 wickets for||157|
|1-10(MP O'Dowd) 2-52(ZDA van Baren) 3-76(SP van Lent) 4-82(PM Seelaar) 5-141(SA Edwards) 6-145(MA Durrani) 7-152(RR Upadhyaya) 8-153(CL Rutgers) 9-157(BW Hanif) 10-157(A Said)|
|AJ Staal*||c MA Durrani||b BW Hanif||15||17||0||1|
|AO Wiffen||c ZDA van Baren||b A Said||7||18||0||0|
|BE Street||c MA Durrani||b RR Upadhyaya||25||36||2||0|
|BHG Gorlee||c MP O'Dowd||b BW Hanif||3||9||0||0|
|BR Itagi||c RR Upadhyaya||b SA Edwards||46||68||4||0|
|HC Overdijk||c SP van Lent||b RR Upadhyaya||0||9||0||0|
|MW Hay||c MP O'Dowd||b SA Edwards||35||50||2||1|
|JP Moens||b SA Edwards||4||7||0||0|
|AA Qasim||not out||2||5||0||0|
|OO Klaus||not out||11||6||1||1|
|extras||(b1 lb1 w8 nb2)||12|
|TOTAL||8 wickets for||160|
|1-25(AJ Staal) 2-25(AO Wiffen) 3-28(BHG Gorlee) 4-86(BE Street) 5-89(HC Overdijk) 6-139(BR Itagi) 7-147(MW Hay) 8-148(JP Moens)|
|ZDA van Baren||5||0||27||0||3||–|
Rod Lyall 19/08/19
Excelsior ‘20 clinched their third national championship in four years – and the twelfth in the club’s history – at Sportpark Drieburg on Sunday, and they did it in utterly convincing fashion, bowling out a greatly weakened Dosti United side for 61 and going on to win by 7 wickets.
Tom Heggelman’s side had fought their way to the brink of the title in recent weeks by defending modest totals, but this time they took immediate command of a match after Vinoo Tewarie had won the toss and elected to bat.
The game had been reduced to 45 overs after a morning of rain, but Excelsior needed only 31 and a half overs to run through a Dosti team in which Kuldeep Diwan was the only survivor of four overseas players and which was further depleted by the absence of injured key allrounder Anees Davids.
Rens van Troost did much of the early damage, taking four wickets for 11 in nine overs, and then Heggelman himself ran through the tail to finish with three for 11.
Only three Dosti players – Rahil Ahmed, Saber Zakhil and Waheed Masood – managed to reach double figures, Masood top-scoring with an unbeaten 16.
There was a brief stumble when Excelsior replied, two quick wickets followed by a third when 23 were still needed, but Brenton Parchment and Lenert van Wyk saw their side safely home with more than 27 overs remaining.
HCC consolidated their position as runners-up by beating VOC Rotterdam at De Diepput, but they had some nervous moments as they chased a seemingly-straightforward target of 158 and finally won by just two wickets.
Olivier Klaus, who had earlier taken three for 32 as VOC were dismissed for 157, was the hero at the end, hitting a four and a six to steer his side to victory.
Corey Rutgers top-scored for VOC with 46, while Matt Hay and Bharat Itagi picked up two wickets apiece.
The latter pair then shared a half-century partnership for the sixth wicket after HCC were in difficulties at 89 for five, Itagi matching Rutgers’ score and Hay making 35.
VOC were kept in the game by a surprising spell of bowling from Scott Edwards, better known as the national team’s wicketkeeper, who removed both Itagi and Hay and claimed three for 14 despite Klaus having the final word.
Apart from Excelsior’s title-winning effort the most significant match of the day was at Nieuw Hanenburg, where relegation-threatened Quick Haag were at home to their nearest rivals, Sparta 1888.
Batting first, Quick were given a great start by Jay Bista, who hit a 35-ball 54 which included five fours and four sixes.
Bob van Gigch was almost as effective, making 58 from 43 balls with four fours and four sixes, and a third half-century, from Jeroen Brand, saw the home side to 218 for four at one stage.
But then Sparta skipper Joost Martijn Snoep struck back, taking four for 21, and with Mudassar Bukhari claiming four for 47 Quick subsided to 258 all out.
Sparta’s response began steadily, and the innings was largely held together by Andrew Fletcher, whose 92-ball 78 was his best score of the season, but with wickets falling at the other end he was unable to keep his side up with the required rate.
Then Bista, having previously had Atse Buurman caught behind, settled the issue, bowling Fletcher and taking four more wickets, three of them outstanding catches off his own bowling to finish with six for 30 as Sparta were all out for 194.
The most exciting finish of the day came in the Amsterdamse Bos, where it took a two off the final delivery to give Voorburg a three-wicket victory over VRA Amsterdam in a match they had seemed certain to lose.
They were chasing VRA’s total of 218 for seven in a game reduced to 43 overs, a total which the Amsterdammers owed very largely to opener Vikram Singh’s 51 and captain Peter Borren’s 72-ball 87 not out.
When Haseeb Gul Mia ripped through Voorburg’s vulnerable top order and Borren chipped in to reduce the visitors to 47 for four a VRA win appeared the likely outcome, but Nic Smit answered Borren’s innings with an unbeaten 87 of his own, taking just five more deliveries, and sharing a stand of 77 with Philippe Boissevain (37).
Boissevain fell with 31 still needed, and although Smit and Viv Kingma stood firm 16 were needed from Borren’s final over.
Smit took nine off the first three balls, and then, unperturbed, Kingma hit a succession of twos to see his side home by the narrowest of margins.
At De Diepput’s second ground ACC moved back into third place by virtue of a 15-run victory over HBS Craeyenhout, thanks to 57 by Brady Barends, promoted to open the innings, and a stand of 108 between brothers Saqib and Sikander Zulfiqar, who made 80 not out and 70 respectively.
This took ACC to 249 for four from their 44 overs in another rain-reduced game, and that proved just enough to hold off HBS, who had Tobias Visée back in the side but missed Wesley Barresi.
Aryan Kumar removed Visée for 17, and although Zac Elkin made 34 it was left to Navjit Singh to keep HBS’s hopes alive with his 59.
But then Devanshu Arya clinched the game for ACC by removing Singh and running through the rest of the batting, ending with four for 36. Sikander Zulfiqar took three for 29 and HBS were dismissed for 234 in the 40th over.
The highlights of next week’s final round will be the matches between Sparta 1888 and HCC at Sportpark Bermweg and between Voorburg and Quick Haag at Westvliet, the outcomes of which will determine which of Sparta and Quick will play in the Hoofdklasse next season.