Scorecard | ACC vs Salland | 27.05.23

ACC I Vs Salland I
1-Innings Match Played At Het Loopveld West, 27-May-2023, Topklasse
ACC I Win by 124 runs
Round 1/8
Toss won by Salland I
Umpires DJ Kalloe – G Sebola
Scorers JA van der Wenden
Home Side ACC I
Points Awarded ACC I 2, Salland I 0
ACC I 1st Innings 226/9 Closed (Overs 50)
Batter Fielder Bowler Runs Bls 4s 6s
F Wegener c PP Ottachchige b VS Lubbers 2 16 0 0
S Potdar c PP Ottachchige b VS Lubbers 88 119 8 1
TG Hobson c PP Ottachchige b FC Bartholomew 1 3 0 0
HG Kuhn* c ? b A Sherzad 55 63 3 1
RI Ahmed+ c PP Ottachchige b GA Nasir 8 9 1 0
MA Raza not out   42 51 3 0
M Hans c A Gopinath b VS Lubbers 8 14 0 0
RA Kumar   b GA Nasir 2 5 0 0
I Konlechner   b VS Lubbers 3 11 0 0
D Arya c VS Lubbers b FC Bartholomew 5 7 0 0
JS Reddy not out   1 2 0 0
extras   (b0 lb2 w9 nb0) 11      
TOTAL   9 wickets for 226      
1-5(F Wegener) 2-6(TG Hobson) 3-115(HG Kuhn) 4-143(RI Ahmed) 5-181(S Potdar) 6-197(M Hans) 7-200(RA Kumar) 8-211(I Konlechner) 9-218(D Arya)
Bowler Overs Maid Runs Wkts wd nb
FC Bartholomew 10 1 40 2 3
VS Lubbers 9 0 31 4
GA Nasir 10 2 35 2 2
H Khan 4 0 26 0 2
A Gopinath 10 0 45 0
A Sherzad 5 0 34 1 2
J Ullah 2 0 13 0
Salland I 1st Innings 102/10 All Out (Overs 28.5)
Batter Fielder Bowler Runs Bls 4s 6s
I Webber c RI Ahmed b D Arya 18 42 2 0
H Khan   b JS Reddy 8 13 0 0
PP Ottachchige+   c&b I Konlechner 12 22 2 0
FP Raxworthy c RI Ahmed b RA Kumar 6 19 0 0
VS Lubbers* c RI Ahmed b RA Kumar 15 16 2 0
FC Bartholomew c HG Kuhn b M Hans 1 9 0 0
J Ullah c HG Kuhn b M Hans 0 3 0 0
A Gopinath c S Potdar b D Arya 3 13 0 0
A Sherzad lbw b JS Reddy 6 22 0 0
GA Nasir not out   10 7 1 1
G van Molen c TG Hobson b D Arya 12 10 1 1
extras   (b3 lb0 w6 nb2) 11      
TOTAL   10 wickets for 102      
1-11(H Khan) 2-43(PP Ottachchige) 3-45(I Webber) 4-64(VS Lubbers) 5-69(FC Bartholomew) 6-69(J Ullah) 7-70(FP Raxworthy) 8-79(A Sherzad) 9-79(A Gopinath) 10-102(G van Molen)
Bowler Overs Maid Runs Wkts wd nb
JS Reddy 8 2 29 2 1
MA Raza 5 1 10 0
D Arya 6.5 1 29 3
I Konlechner 1 0 12 1 1 2
M Hans 5 0 11 2 1
RA Kumar 3 0 8 2 3

HBS vs Punjab at Craeyenhout | Round 9 | 29.05.23

Kuhn sees ACC into the top six

Rod Lyall 30/05/2023

In the end it was comfortable enough: thanks to skipper Heino Kuhn’s unbeaten, 114-ball 120, ACC made sure of their seven-wicket victory over Excelsior ‘20 at Thurlede, and with it their place in the championship pool when the 50-over competition resumes in July.

Almost equally important, defeats elsewhere for VOC, HCC and Punjab brought the Amsterdammers onto level terms with their three rivals, giving them a greatly-improved chance of reaching the top four and a place in the play-offs.

Kuhn had made two centuries during his three seasons at ACC a decade ago, since when he has played four Tests for South Africa and taken his first-class run tally past 11,000, but no innings for his Dutch club had been as important as this one, as he came to the crease with his side on 44 for two in pursuit of Excelsior’s 252 for seven.

He was in command from the outset, sharing a third-wicket stand of 138 with Aryan Kumar, promoted to open in the absence of Shreyas Potdar, whose patient 47 also contributed substantially to ACC’s successful chase, and then allowing Thomas Hobson, with 43 not out from 28 deliveries, to go on the rampage and finish the job.

As they had against Punjab on Saturday, Excelsior’s bowlers fought all the way, Michael Hart and Tom Heggelman doing everything they could to contain the batters, but on an excellent pitch they did not have the penetration to cause ACC any serious problems.

The home side’s had already demonstrated how good a wicket it was, despite a fine opening spell from Waqas Ahmad, who in his first Topklasse match for ACC grabbed two quick wickets and then returned to remove Roel Verhagen, who had made 79 in a third-wicket stand of 152 with Lorenzo Ingram.

Ingram went on to post his second century of the season and the 11th of his Topklasse career, his 114 not out taking Excelsior to 250 and setting ACC their relatively imposing target.

It was, however, for the most part a day of big totals and successful run chases, all five games being won by the side batting second.

It was another South African-born captain who was instrumental in leaders Voorburg’s victory over VOC Rotterdam at Westvliet: coming in at a perilous 135 for five with his side chasing 267 to win, Sybrand Engelbrecht combined with Musa Ahmad (44) and Ryan Klein (34 not out) to see them home with four wickets in hand and eleven balls to spare, ending on 61 not out.

Michael Levitt had earlier contributed 46 and Noah Croes 39, but with VOC spinners Arnav Jain and Asief Hoseinbaks picking up three for 48 and three for 51 respectively it took a concentrated effort from the middle order to secure yet another victory for Voorburg.

Klein had also played a major part in his side’s dismissal of VOC for 266, taking five wickets for the second time in three days, this time at a cost of 31 runs, while Shariz Ahmad’s three for 55 brought his season’s tally to 27.

Scott Edwards again top-scored for VOC with 76 and Lane Berry made 52, but a feature of the game was the contribution of Edwards’ predecessor as national captain, Pieter Seelaar, who not only made a 34-ball 38 in the closing stages of his side’s innings, but bowled a full stint of ten overs, conceding just 28 runs.

ACC’s victory at Thurlede made it irrelevant in the end, but VRA Amsterdam finished Phase 1 on a high by beating HCC by three wickets in a tense finish at De Diepput.

Boris Gorlee confirmed his return to form with 61 after HCC had been put in to bat, Ratha Alphonse making a solid 42, and with useful contributions from Jonathan Vandiar (32), Teun Kloppenburg (33) and Hidde Overdijk (27), the home side reached 269 before they were all out; Eduard Visser was again the main wicket-taker with three for 85.

Shirase Rasool and Vikram Singh (35) gave VRA a good start with an opening stand of 92, Rasool going on to make 94 before he fell to Daniel Doram, and Teja Nidamanuru made 51, but then three wickets fell for just 28 runs, and it was left to Visser and keeper Sachin Peiris to steer their side home with just two balls to spare.

The highlights of the match between HBS and Punjab Rotterdam at Craeyenhout were centuries by Mohsin Riaz and Wesley Barresi, the latter the decisive factor which took HBS to a seven-wicket win and earned them two points which could be invaluable in the relegation battle to come.

Riaz’s 104, his second hundred in successive innings, was the basis of Punjab’s 232 for nine, Muhammad Shafiq chipping in with an unbeaten 44 towards the end, but with Tobias Visée providing a characteristic 16-ball 38 at the top of the HBS reply and Tayo Walbrugh (59) sharing a 116-run stand with Barresi for the third wicket, the Crows cruised to their win with more than ten overs to spare, significantly improving their net run rate in the process.

It seemed for a time as if Barresi might just miss out on the 13th century of his career, but he reached the milestone in style, twice hoisting young Aaliyan Mahmood for six over square leg to go from 90 to 102 and take his side past their target.

The exception to the runfest elsewhere was at Het Schootsveld, where a seriously depleted Salland fielded four debutants and were bowled out for 180 by Sparta 1888.

Fraser Bartholomew (50) and Piyaranga Ottachchige (74) put on 112 for the second wicket, but then Khalid Ahmadi ripped through the rest of the batting, only Hashim Khan reaching double figures; Ahmadi’s six for 37 was his best-ever return, and took his season’s tally to 21.

Bartholomew and Victor Lubbers grabbed an early wicket apiece when Sparta replied, but then Garnett Tarr again proved his value to the Capelle side with 103 from exactly 100 deliveries, putting on 103 for the third wicket with Will Clark, and Sparta completed a six-wicket victory which took them back into second spot on the table, four points behind Voorburg but two points ahead of the following pack.

Round 9 Preview

Rod Lyall & Bertus de Jong 28/05/23

Most of the outstanding issues were settled on Saturday, but there’s still one top six spot up for grabs as we head into the final Phase 1 round. And with all points being carried through to Phase 2, three sides level at the foot of the table and a crowded pack in the middle, any win now could turn out to make all the difference when the four semi- finalists and the side heading for next year’s Hoofdklasse are being sorted out in August.

RJL: ACC head to Thurlede knowing that victory here will see them squeeze into the championship group and slam the door behind them. Their win over a depleted Salland on Saturday was decisive enough, but Excelsior were competitive all the way against Punjab, and they will not be easy opponents on their own turf. There may not be as much at stake for the Schiedammers as for their visitors, but they are a textbook example of how vital any points picked up now could be at the business end of the season, and while they may still be struggling to work out the most effective disposal of their talents, you can’t write off any team with the likes of Lorenzo Ingram and Tom Heggelman in it. Heino Kuhn, on the other hand, has made a bigger difference to ACC than just the runs he has scored, and the journeymen from ’t Loopveld thoroughly deserve their mid-table position. This has all the hallmarks of a very hard-fought encounter.

BdJ: Excelsior owe their place in the bottom four to an ongoing reliance on Ingram both for wickets and runs, though at least the veteran alrounder has been delivering on both fronts in recent weeks. What’s more the contributions of Heggelman and Stan van Troost against Punjab underscored the point that an underperfroming team is by definition one that you’d expect to improve – if only by reversion to the mean. Conversely ACC have arguably outperformed expectations thus far, with Raza and young Potdar especially impressing with the bat. This will be only their second outing on grass this season, and while they did take two points home from VRA in their first, they just barely managed to chase a two-figure target to get them. Despite trailing ACC by four points on the table, Excelsior still arguably look favourites on paper here. But the momentum, it must be said, is with the Amsterdammers.

RJL: Meanwhile, VRA Amsterdam will be keeping more than a weather-eye on events in Schiedam as they take on HCC at De Diepput. They not only have to beat a Lions side which has been cohering more and more after a disastrous start to their title defence, but they also have to hope that ACC slip up as they round the turn. Boris Gorlee’s emphatic return to form is an ominous sign, especially when added to the always-lurking threat posed by Jonathan Vandiar. Replacing Leon Turmaine with Vikram Singh in the captaincy certainly did not yield immediate effects for the Amsterdammers, although perhaps a match against the runaway leaders was not the fairest test of its supposed merits. Three defeats on the trot have landed VRA, who at one point looked like possible title contenders, in this difficult position; they have potential match-winners aplenty, but they will need to put in a consistent team effort if they are to overcome a resurgent HCC.

BdJ: Fair to say that the mid-stream horse exchange did not result in an instant turnaround for the stuggling Amsterdam side, problems of inconsistent batting and giving away an over-generous amount of extras with the ball persisting. Ashit Abid remains a threat with the new ball, and when Eduard Visser gets his lines right the right armer is also a wicket-taker, but the VRA attack has lacked rather for penetration and containment of late. Whether the captaincy change proves an effective remedy or merely another symptom of their troubles remains to be seen, but they’re running out of road for a turnaround, and will be taking on an HCC side with a top order that’s coming into form and a lower order that’s proved one of the more dangerous in the competition, thanks in no small part to Hidde Overdijk’s impressive all-round form. At the start of the season VRA might have headed to the Hague with a degree of confidence, but as it stands de Diepput looks like their last chance saloon.

RJL: Back in second spot after their dismissal of HBS, VOC Rotterdam are the last team in Phase 1 to have a crack at overturning a dominant Voorburg. Eighties from Lane Berry and Scott Edwards on Saturday again demonstrated how vital they and Max O’Dowd are to VOC’s prospects of regaining the title they last won in 2018, although Arnav Jain’s success with both bat and ball showed that they are more than three-trick ponies. Voorburg, though, have virtually no weaknesses in a side now strengthened by the addition of Logan van Beek, and a win here would not only enable them to finish Phase 1 in style, but would, even at this stage, almost assure them of a place in the top four come August. We could debate endlessly whether such dominance is really in the interests of Dutch cricket, but with six members of the side heading to Zimbabwe in their squad, Voorburg are, at least in the 50-over competition, way out in front, and VOC will have a massive task if they are to inflict a second defeat on the leaders.

BdJ: Logan van Beek’s brief stopover in the Netherlands was well-timed for VCC as it turned out, given that Vivian Kingma managed to roll his ankle in the warm-up on Saturday. Kingma’s injury is particularly galling given that he wasn’t going to be bowling in the match with the World Cup Qualifier rapidly-approaching and the Netherlands’ seam options drastically curtailed by the T20 Blast. Van Beek notably also bowled just three overs in that match, and with Kingma’s fitness potentially in doubt for Zimbabwe it’s likely he and Ryan Klein will both be encouraged to take it easy in their final match before departure. VCC’s slow-bowling unit remains the envy of the competition however, with Musa Nadeem also impressing with the ball on a VRA track that would not have looked out of place at Hazelaarweg. In these circumstances VOC might not mind playing what’s effectively a four-point Phase 2 match away from home, and while the Kennel-dwellers remain the Bloodhounds’ most consistent threat, it’s notable that most all of the side have most all put in a couple of (occasionally match-winning) performances this season. Whether they have what it takes to steal a march on the frontrunners is another question of course, but for once Voorburg may have reason to worry.

RJL: Having been pipped at the post by HCC on Saturday, Sparta 1888 make the journey to Deventer in the hunt for two points which would keep them neck-and-neck with their rivals for the top four. At least one of the four teams currently on ten points will miss out on the play-offs, and Sparta’s patchy form means that any win now could turn out to be vital later. They will take on a Salland outfit currently at the foot of the table, with a net run rate which means that they probably need to get at least one more win than their relegation rivals if they are to have any hope of staying up. Deprived of their German internationals they never looked likely to overcome ACC on Saturday, and even at full strength their good days have been few and far between. Sparta will have been buoyed by Garnett Tarr’s century against HCC but their batting remains inconsistent, and despite a fighting performance from Ahsan Malik in that game their bowling resources have been stretched by injury. They might, however, have enough shots in their locker to enable them to bring the points back to Capelle.

BdJ: Salland skipper Victor Lubbers set his side the rather modest target of “survival” at the start of the season, and as things stands it looks like that may have been overambitious. The absence of the German delegation was certainly felt last week, most notably in the person of Venkat Ganesan, but that in itself speaks to the Deventer side’s lack of depth. Consequently they’ve been particularly vulnerable to the risk of an underperforming overseas player, and Finn Raxworthy’s trouble adapting to Dutch conditions has left them without a reliable source of runs. Certainly Sparta have been more fortunate in that regard, and indeed in the astute acquisition of Joost Kroesen, though with their seam section arguably showing its age after a brutal Phase 1 shedule they will doubtless be glad of the mid-season switch to T20.

RJL: There was a moment there where HBS Craeyenhout might have believed that they had a chance of squeezing out of the relegation zone, but if so it was very firmly destroyed by VOC on Saturday. So now they’re another side for whom a win at this point would be gold dust, and they will be hoping that they can come back from that performance to take the points from Punjab Rotterdam on Monday. The Rotterdammers had to work hard for their victory over Excelsior, Mohsin Riaz’s century proving to be the difference, and they are another side which will not want to slip up going into what promises to be a very tough battle for the top four. Walbrugh and Barresi apart, Punjab are a stronger and much more seasoned outfit than their hosts, their attack well-balanced and their top six as powerful as any, and even if they are not the force they were a couple of seasons ago they will want to be in a position to mount a title challenge in the final straight. Walbrugh and Barresi will need plenty of support if HBS are to pull off an upset.

BdJ: HBS were another side with modest ambitions at the start of the season, and last Saturday again showed that the cautious pessimism at Craeyenhout was not unwarranted. Certainly their have been positives to be drawn from the early season, notably Kyle Klein stepping up to take a premature role as a senior player, and Lucas del Bianco’s solid showing for his new club thus far. Nonetheless if the Crows are to avoid another rebuilding phase in the Hoofdklasse they could certainly use the two points on offer. Punjab will likewise need every point they can get for the second phase of course, and it would be a surprise if they didn’t pocket them. Four bats averaging over forty up against a callow bowling attack at Craeyenhout is a recipe for big runs, and though Punjab haven’t quite got the value out of their eye-catching signing Aaliyan Mahmood that they might have hoped, the bowling has generally been solid enough. Saqib Zulfiqar in particular has been in fine form with ball as well as bat, and Sulaiman Tariq remains a steday performer. It’s possible of course that with a top six spot secured Punjab may take their eye off the ball, but the smart money says they’ll be starting phase 2 on 12 points.

RJL’s picks: Excelsior, HCC, Voorburg, Sparta, Punjab.

BdJ’s picks: ACC, HCC, Voorburg, Sparta, Punjab

Sparta vs HCC at Bermweg | Round 8 | 27.05.23

Batters prosper (mostly) as the sun shines

Rod Lyall 28/05/2023

Defending champions HCC cemented their place in the championship pool on Saturday with a thrilling last-over victory over Sparta 1888 at Sportpark Bermweg, but even more satisfying for the Hagenaars’ support was the fact that it was based upon a maiden Topklasse century for captain Boris Gorlee.

Gorlee’s Topklasse form, like that of his predecessor Tonny Staal, had so far been disappointing this season, but the way in which he went about chasing down Sparta’s challenging total of 275 for eight showed great temperament, and even when his side were looking for ten an over he did not panic, relying on an acceleration in tandem with Hidde Overdijk in the final overs to reach the target with just one delivery to spare.

On a day when the batters were mostly in command, Sparta’s innings had been built around Garnett Tarr’s knock of 137, made from 138 balls with 18 fours and three sixes, helped by smaller but important contributions from Sam Ferguson, Will Clark and Mudassar Bukhari, while Overdijk (four for 47) and Daniel Doram (three for 45) were the most successful of HCC’s bowlers.

Staal again went early when HCC replied, but Ratha Alphonse (53) and Gorlee put on 135 for the second wicket, and although they were well behind the required rate for most of the innings, with wickets in hand and Gorlee standing firm they remained just about in contention until, having reached three figures for the first time, the skipper was able to go onto the attack.

He finished with an unbeaten 134, made from 151 deliveries with 14 fours and a six, while Overdijk’s 24 not out came from just nine deliveries; Malik took three for 65 for Sparta.

At the Hazelaarweg, VOC Rotterdam took advantage of Sparta’s defeat by posting an emphatic victory over HBS Craeyenhout, moving back into second place on the table and ensuring that HBS would be in the relegation pool when the competition resumes in July.

Arnav Jain’s 46 and Lane Berry’s 64-ball 82 meant that at one point VOC were within sight of a total well in excess of 300, but despite 84 from 73 deliveries from Scott Edwards the Rotterdammers were unable to capitalise fully on their great start, and with Nic Adendorff taking four for 52 and Julian de Mey and Lucas del Bianco picking up two wickets apiece, HBS were able to dismiss their hosts for 272, none of the middle and lower order reaching double figures.

Jain, though, struck three times with the ball when HBS replied, finishing with three for 41, Pierce Fletcher removed Wesley Barresi, and when Asief Hoseinbaks trapped Tayo Walbrugh in front for just 25 and did the same to Adendorff three balls later, the Crows had been reduced to 68 for seven.

Kyle Klein and De Mey held things up for a while, but Max Hoornweg cleaned up the tail for figures of three for 13, and HBS were all out for 127, a deficit of 145 runs.

In the tight battle for the final place in the championship pool, ACC gained a crucial advantage over rivals VRA Amsterdam with an equally comprehensive win over Salland at Het Loopveld.

Put in to bat, the Amsterdammers made 226 for nine thanks to 88 from opener Shreyas Potdar and 55 from Heino Kuhn, the pair adding 109 for the third wicket, and then Anis Raza again made a crucial contribution with an unbeaten 42 in the closing stages.

With Salland’s German internationals otherwise engaged skipper Victor Lubbers led the way himself with four for 31, but the Overijssel side never looked likely to challenge ACC’s total, subsiding to 102 all out in 28.5 overs.

Devanshu Arya claimed three for 29 for the home side, with two wickets apiece for Joseph Reddy, Aryan Kumar and Mahesh Hans.

Across Amstelveen in the Amsterdamse Bos, VRA slipped out of the top six by virtue of a 94-run defeat at the hands of leaders Voorburg.

Michael Levitt, this week named in the Dutch squad for the World Cup qualifier in Zimbabwe, celebrated with 115, his third century of the Topklasse campaign, adding 104 for the second wicket with his new international colleague Noah Croes (40).

Then Shariz Ahmad and Logan van Beek, both also Zimbabwe-bound, chipped in with 41 each, and Voorburg set the highest total of the day with 285 for six.

It always looked likely to be beyond the reach of VRA, and when Ryan Klein, yet another member of the national squad, grabbed four early wickets to reduce them to 37 for four, a truly catastrophic defeat seemed possible.

Aryan Dutt partially restored their fortunes with a fighting 46, and deposed captain Leon Turmaine (37) and Eduard Visser (20) put up solid resistance towards the end, but eventually VRA were all out for 191, Klein finishing with five for 42.

The thrilling outcome at the Bermweg apart, the most competitive game of the day was at Het Zomercomplex, where Punjab Rotterdam were taken down to the last two overs by a determined Excelsior ‘20.

After a shaky start Excelsior reached 241 for nine thanks to a stand of 116 for the fourth wicket between Lorenzo Ingram (78) and Tom Heggelman (47) and a quick-fire, 40-ball 48 from wicketkeeper Stan van Troost, while seamers Sikander Zulfiqar and Sohail Bhatti were the most effective members of the Punjab attack with three for 50 and three for 32 respectively.

Pushed up to open the batting, Yasir Usman led the way with 46 when Punjab replied, but it was Mohsin Riaz who piloted them to victory with an unbeaten 115.

Ingram kept his side in the game with three for 50 and there were economical spells from Michael Hart and Heggelman, but the asking rate never climed appreciably above six an over and Punjab had wickets in hand, Riaz finishing it off with a six to reach his first Topklasse century, followed by another and the winning four.

Round 8 Preview

Bertus de Jong & Rod Lyall 26/05/23

It may seem like the season (and certainly the Summer) has only just begun, but already we’re at the business end of the first phase. Two rounds to go, and in four day’s time we’ll be into World Cup Qualifier/Topklasse T20 mode. Still plenty to play for, with only Voorburg assured of making the top six and nobody yet definitely doomed to the relegation pool.

BdJ: With points carried forward into Phase 2 not even frontrunners Voorburg can afford to coast as they head to the Bos to take on VRA. VRA need to win both of their remaining matches to be confident of a top six finish, a single win leaving them reliant on luck and net run rate to avoid the bottom four. Voorburg are well out of danger on that front, but will want to get a headstart for the second phase. In addition to form, the availability of Logan van Beek, stopping over en route to Zimbabwe, will further bolster their confidence. VCC will effectively be fielding the national team’s seam attack come Saturday, while van Beek also adds still greater depth to an intimidating batting card, with everyone down down to Vivian Kingma having made runs in one competition or another of late. In short a tough ask for a VRA side that has underperformed thus far, coming up just short against VOC last week thanks in large part to a rather sloppy effort with the ball and in the field. The form of Johan Smal and Tejan Nidamanuru with the bat is some consolation, but the hosts will want more from a line-up that in principle ought to bat down to at least eight, but in practice this season has looked a bat or two short.

RJL: VRA’s problems extend beyond the inconsistency of their batting: they had all but won their Ascension Day match at Sparta, only to see the then leaders expose the limitations of their bowling once Eduard Visser had completed his spell, and even his five-wicket haul against VOC could not prevent the Rotterdammers from posting the highest total of the day in the Bos last Saturday. Visser and Ashir Abid do have the ability to cause batting sides problems early, and they probably represent the home side’s best chance of getting on top of Voorburg. But Tyler van Luin’s six wickets in eight games is a disappointing return, and even Aryan Dutt has been less of a threat since his return from injury. Voorburg, on the other hand, are spoiled for choice in both batting and bowling, and they will go into this game strong favourites.

BdJ: Second-placed Sparta 1888 had looked to be cruising into the top six before being utterly clotheslined by VCC last week, the insult of a 9-wicket loss compounded by injuries to several key players, including the stalwart Mudassar Bukhari, lead wicket-taker Ahsan Malik, and skipper Martijn Snoep. Whether any or all will be fit when they welcome HCC to Bermweg on Saturday remains to be seen. If they’re looking for instruction on bouncing back from defeat they could do worse than looking to their opponents, who have had had something of an up and down season thus far. Their fortunes have fluctuated rather with the form of Jonatahan Vandiar, who together with Ratha Alphonse has been the principal source of runs in the HCC top order. The efforts of quicks Hidde Overdijk and Henrico Venter with the ball, backed up by the left arm spin of Floyd and Doram, have covered somewhat for HCC’s homegrown batters’ slump in form so far, but even a weakened Sparta will be a tough test for the defending champions.

RJL: After a nightmare start to the season HCC have steadily climbed up the table, and a strong finish against Sparta here and then against VRA on Monday would likely see them ensconced, not only in the top six, but in its upper reaches when the competition resumes. To Overdijk and Venter we should add Daniel Crowley, who while short of wickets has been a steady force in the attack. Sparta need all hands on deck for the exacting final weekend of Phase 1, not only physically but also mentally, and an experience like last Saturday’s is bound to leave its scars. But they had thoroughly earned their spell at the top of the table, and if they can recover the spirit which saw them come back from the dead against VRA on Ascension Day rather than the batting form which got them into that mess in the first place (and which then caused their demolition by Voorbuirg two days later), they could still halt HCC’s progress.

BdJ: Third-placed VOC Rotterdam could seal their place in the top six and end HBS Craeyenhout’s slim hopes with a win on Saturday, having closed out a narrow win over VRA last weekend. The most encouraging aspect of that win for VOC was the rally staged by the lower middle order after a rare failure from the top-order trio of O’Dowd, Berry and Edwards. If skipper Tim de Kok can regularly marshall such resistance down the card then VOC could stage a genuine challenge for the title this year, despite the questions that remain around the bowling. HBS have similar worries of course, with a green bowling attack and a continued reliance on Barresi and Walbrugh for runs. Both are in fine form however, and the young attack (with some help from Barresi’s offspin) managed to hold Excelsior to 200 last week despite Lorenzo Ingram’s first century of the season. With Kyle Klein in excellent rhythm one could imagine the requisite early wickets falling, though as VOC showed last week that may not always be enough.

RJL: Evergreen allrounder Jelte Schoonheim played a crucial role in squeezing out VOC’s two-run victory over VRA last Saturday, and with ten wickets apiece he and closed-season recruit Asief Hoseinbaks are the Rotterdammers’ leading wicket-takers. But they and the rest of the attack will need to be at their best if they are to contain Walbrugh and Barresi at the Hazelaarweg, while equally Barresi will need to figure out at way to get on top of the VOC batting line-up. As m’ colleague observes, Kyle Klein could well be the key, but he will need plenty of support from the likes of Swapnil Pote, Julian de Mey and Lucas del Bianco, now slotted into the side. Nic Adendorff has chipped in with both bat and ball in recent games, and no doubt VOC will be looking for something similar from Burhan Niaz, who shone brightly last season but who has contributed rather less this time round.

BdJ: Ingram’s sudden return to form will be a worry for Punjab Rotterdam as they host Excelsior ‘20 Schiedam at the Zomercomplex, but it’s telling that his century immediately made him the Schiedammers’ top scorer for the season. Michael Hart and Roel Verhagen are the only other Excelsior bats to have managed more than 100 runs across the season, while Ingram’s also the only bowler averaging less than 20 with the ball. Conversely Punjab have five bats in three figures, with Shoaib Minhas averaging close to 100 and Saqib Zulfiqar in superb form with bat and ball. That Excelsior remain in contention despite the majority of their side underperforming is remarkable in itself, and of course the flip side is that they’re capable of dramatic imrovement if only a couple of the passengers start pulling their weight.

RJL: To be fair, Roel Verhagen has been pretty consistent with the bat since his return from injury, and Niels Etman has done well in support of Ingram with the ball. But Excelsior are clearly yet to settle on their best top order, and Punjab’s attack is very effective at exploiting their opponents’ weaknesses. Sulaiman Tariq’s side do, on the other hand, have problems of their own at the top of the batting, their opening partnership averaging only 16 across seven innings, and although in Mohsin Riaz, Minhas, and Saqib and Sikander Zulfiqar they have plenty of fire-power to turn things round, Tim Etman will be looking to his bowlers to keep them under pressure. The unheralded appearance of Daan van Bunge last week had little direct effect on Excelsior’s fortunes, and while ‘passengers’ might be a little harsh, there’s no doubt that the Thurlede outfit will be hoping that new skipper Etman and his predecessor Tom Heggelman are able to make a bigger contribution in these last two crucial games.

BdJ: Finally ACC and Salland face a do-or-die clash at ’t Loopveld. Salland’s situation is particularly desperate, bottom of the table of four points with a negative net run rate of over an run an over. Though ACC are currently two points clear of the bottom, their equally woeful NRR means they can ill afford another defeat. Having been held afloat by opener Venkat Ganesan and skipper Victor Lubbers with the bat through the season, Salland will take some encouragement from overseas Finn Raxworthy finally finding some form last week, together with Sahir Naqash. Kiwi quick Fraser Bartholomew has taken to Dutch conditions rather quicker, and backed up by a reliable spin section Salland may fancy their chances at ACC’s traditionally bat-hostile ground. Nonethless the hosts have also shown signs of a late rally, thanks in part to Heino Kuhn’s reacclimatising to the Topklasse’s unique challenges. With the exception of a remarkable demolition of local rivals VRA’s batting, however, the ACC attack has struggled to penetrate or contain. Though both sides could in theory still sneak into the top six, realistically this is a Phase 2 four-pointer, with distance from the wooden spoon the chief prize on offer.

RJL: ACC’s performance against Voorburg on Ascension Day and HCC two days later were both encouraging efforts, and although Kuhn’s side remains to a degree an assembly of bit-part players the same might be said of Lubbers’ squad as well. Shreyas Potdar, Ammar Zaidi and Anis Raza have all stepped up with the bat when needed, and while Rahil Ahmed and Mahesh Hans have yet to really impose themselves since their transfer from Dosti, their experience contributes positively to a side in which Aryan Kumar and Joseph Reddy have stepped effectively into the gap left by the departure of Mees van Vliet. Salland, on the other hand, have the core of a good side, but their performances have been a little hit-or-miss, their victories over VOC and Excelsior balanced by disappointing efforts against HCC and, especially, HBS. If they bring their A-game to ’t Loopveld they could prove too strong for ACC, but on recent evidence that’s a big if.

BdJ’s picks: VCC, HCC, VOC, Punjab, ACC
RL’s picks: VCC, HCC, VOC, Punjab, ACC.

Is the an escape route for the bottom three?

Rod Lyall 23/05/2023

The short answer to that question is: absolutely.

With two rounds of the first phase to go, three teams are level on eight points, with two on six and three on four. While at first glance it might appear that the battle for sixth place, and a spot in the championship pool when the 50-over competition resumes in July, is between VRA and ACC, the sides currently straddling the cut-off, in fact any or all of the three bottom teams have a chance of reaching eight points, and if other results go their way, that could be enough.

The remaining fixtures for the teams on four points are:
HBS: VOC (away), Punjab (home)
Excelsior: Punjab (away), ACC (home)
Salland: ACC (away), Sparta (home).

It follows from this that ACC and Punjab will have a vital role in determining the final Phase 1 standings, and it’s likely that much will remain in doubt until the final games are played on Monday.

Of those just above them, one or other of which they will be looking to displace, ACC obviously have the more favourable draw, since both their remaining games are against teams currently below them; on the other hand, they have a poor net run rate, well below that of both HBS and Excelsior.

VRA face a much more difficult run-in, taking on leaders Voorburg at home on Saturday and HCC, who leap-frogged them last weekend, on Monday; their net run rate, though, is healthier than that of either HCC or ACC, which could be very useful if things get tight on Monday evening.

With their weak NRR situation, HCC will need to beat either Sparta on Saturday or VRA on Monday to put themselves out of reach of the three bottom sides, while ACC would probably need to win both their games to feel safe.

Even Punjab, currently fourth with a marginally positive NRR, will go into the weekend with plenty to play for: were they to lose to both Excelsior and HBS and other results go against them, they too could find themselves in danger of slipping out of the top six.

Of the three sides with which we began, Excelsior may feel that they are in the most favourable position, although a visit to Het Zomercomplex is never an easy proposition and the way in which Punjab saw off Salland on Saturday suggests that they may be finishing the first phase strongly.

Although VOC have been inconsistent the power of their top order is unquestionable, and HBS would need to be at their absolute best to beat them on Saturday and keep themselves in the hunt.

And whether Sparta, after their mauling by Voorburg at the weekend and with a crucial match for HCC at the Bermweg this Saturday, will be at anything like full strength for their visit to Deventer on Monday will be a question of intense interest for Salland.

All in all, we can look forward to a dramatic long weekend, and perhaps a table which looks rather different by Monday night.

Scorecard | VCC vs Sparta | 20.05.23

Voorburg I Vs Sparta I
1-Innings Match Played At Westvliet, Voorburg, 20-May-2023, Topklasse
Voorburg I Win by 9 wkts
Round 1/7
Toss won by Sparta I
Umpires RJ Akram – G Sebola
Scorers CC Schinkel – AO Smelt
Home Side Voorburg I
Points Awarded Sparta I 0, Voorburg I 2
Sparta I 1st Innings 132/10 All Out (Overs 29.5)
Batter Fielder Bowler Runs Bls 4s 6s
A Raza+ c PRP Boissevain b R Klein 42 39 6 2
SR Ferguson c MN Ahmad b PRP Boissevain 34 42 4 2
G Tarr c NRJ Croes b S Ahmad 2 9 0 0
M Bukhari c N Gigani b PRP Boissevain 15 30 2 0
WJ Clark lbw b S Ahmad 4 9 0 0
J Kroesen c SA Engelbrecht b S Ahmad 7 11 1 0
K Ahmadi   b S Ahmad 3 5 0 0
AAJ Malik c MN Ahmad b PRP Boissevain 7 9 1 0
Manminder Singh   b PRP Boissevain 0 3 0 0
U Saleem not out   9 17 1 0
JM Snoep* lbw b S Ahmad 2 5 0 0
extras   (b0 lb5 w2 nb0) 7      
TOTAL   10 wickets for 132      
1-60(A Raza) 2-74(G Tarr) 3-82(SR Ferguson) 4-87(WJ Clark) 5-99(J Kroesen) 6-111(K Ahmadi) 7-113(M Bukhari) 8-113(Manminder Singh) 9-125(AAJ Malik) 10-132(JM Snoep)
Bowler Overs Maid Runs Wkts wd nb
R Klein 5 0 33 1
VJ Kingma 4 0 13 0 1
MC van Vliet 4 0 27 0
S Ahmad 8.5 2 19 5
PRP Boissevain 8 1 35 4 1
Voorburg I 1st Innings 135/1 (Overs 21.1)
Batter Fielder Bowler Runs Bls 4s 6s
ML Levitt c Manminder Singh b M Bukhari 14 25 2 0
N Gigani not out   81 58 10 3
NRJ Croes+ not out   37 44 4 1
MN Ahmad dnb          
SA Engelbrecht* dnb          
S Ahmad dnb          
R Klein dnb          
VJ Kingma dnb          
PRP Boissevain dnb          
MC van Vliet dnb          
SF de Leede dnb          
extras   (b0 lb1 w2 nb0) 3      
TOTAL   1 wickets for 135      
1-33(ML Levitt)
Bowler Overs Maid Runs Wkts wd nb
AAJ Malik 3 0 20 0
M Bukhari 3.3 1 11 1
WJ Clark 2 0 11 0 1
U Saleem 4.3 0 16 0
K Ahmadi 2 0 15 0 1
J Kroesen 4.1 0 37 0
Manminder Singh 2 0 24 0

Scorecard | VRA vs VOC | 20.05.23

1-Innings Match Played At Amstelveen (VRA), 20-May-2023, Topklasse
VOC I Win by 2 runs
Round 1/7
Toss won by VRA I
Umpires J Kolli – M Prabhudesai
Home Side VRA I
Points Awarded VOC I 2, VRA I 0
VOC I 1st Innings 244/10 All Out (Overs 48.4)
Batter Fielder Bowler Runs Bls 4s 6s
MP O’Dowd   b E Visser 21 29 2 0
Arnav Jain   b A Dutt 17 58 0 0
LP Berry c V Singh b E Visser 0 5 0 0
SA Edwards   b V Singh 25 17 4 0
F Fourie+ c J Smal b E Visser 1 8 0 0
TIM de Kok* c SR Rasool b AT Nidamanuru 65 59 6 2
B Niaz c LA Turmaine b TJ van Luin 50 63 6 1
JD Schoonheim c LA Turmaine b V Singh 16 21 2 0
Asief Hoseinbaks c V Singh b E Visser 9 19 1 0
MB Hoornweg not out   3 8 0 0
PJ Fletcher   b E Visser 2 6 0 0
extras   (b0 lb12 w22 nb1) 35      
TOTAL   10 wickets for 244      
1-44(MP O’Dowd) 2-46(LP Berry) 3-56(Arnav Jain) 4-69(F Fourie) 5-76(SA Edwards) 6-180(B Niaz) 7-224(JD Schoonheim) 8-230(TIM de Kok) 9-237(Asief Hoseinbaks) 10-244(PJ Fletcher)
Bowler Overs Maid Runs Wkts wd nb
A Abid 6 0 24 0 1
TJ van Luin 9 1 39 1 3
A Dutt 9 0 31 1
E Visser 9.4 1 34 5 4
V Singh 7 0 53 2 9 1
LA Turmaine 4 0 29 0
AT Nidamanuru 4 0 22 1
VRA I 1st Innings 242/9 Closed (Overs 50)
Batter Fielder Bowler Runs Bls 4s 6s
SR Rasool lbw b PJ Fletcher 14 26 1 0
V Singh c PJ Fletcher b Arnav Jain 15 27 0 0
J Smal   b B Niaz 53 65 4 1
AT Nidamanuru lbw b JD Schoonheim 93 101 6 1
TJ van Luin   b Arnav Jain 1 10 0 0
A Dutt c JD Schoonheim b SA Edwards 5 10 1 0
J Balbirnie c B Niaz b SA Edwards 22 21 2 0
MDS Peiris+   b Asief Hoseinbaks 6 14 0 0
LA Turmaine* not out   12 20 0 0
E Visser   b JD Schoonheim 0 1 0 0
A Abid not out   7 5 0 0
extras   (b1 lb1 w12 nb0) 14      
TOTAL   9 wickets for 242      
1-27(SR Rasool) 2-33(V Singh) 3-145(J Smal) 4-148(TJ van Luin) 5-154(A Dutt) 6-187(J Balbirnie) 7-196(MDS Peiris) 8-228(AT Nidamanuru) 9-229(E Visser)
Bowler Overs Maid Runs Wkts wd nb
Arnav Jain 10 2 33 2
PJ Fletcher 6 0 24 1 3
MB Hoornweg 3 0 14 0
Asief Hoseinbaks 10 1 37 1
JD Schoonheim 7 0 47 2 6
MP O’Dowd 2 0 18 0
B Niaz 4 0 18 1 1
SA Edwards 8 0 49 2