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.