Rod Lyall 22/07/19
It was, on the face of it, a Topklasse Sunday on which not a lot happened: the top four sides all won, the bottom four all lost, there was minimal movement in the table.
But for those hoping to peg back leaders Excelsior and for those propping up the table alike, with just four rounds of matches left, time is beginning to run out. And in the meantime, we are being treated to some absorbing cricket.
Most of the excitement this weekend seemed to involve VRA Amsterdam, who withstood a determined challenge in a rain-affected match on Saturday to hold off VOC Rotterdam, and then came close to pulling off a notable run chase of their own on Sunday before conceding defeat to Dosti United.
Rain on Saturday morning delayed the toss, and the match had been reduced to 38 overs a side before VRA began their innings.
Once again they lost early wickets, but a solid stand between Ben Cooper and Peter Borren put them into a much better position by the time the weather again intervened and a further 13 overs came off.
Cooper made 30, Borren 66, and after VRA finished on 155 for five the DLS adjustment left VOC chasing 189 to win.
Dirk van Baren gave his side a chance with a 20-ball 31, and then skipper Pieter Seelaar kept up the momentum with 62, made from just 53 deliveries, before departing hit wicket off Brandon Graber with 33 still needed.
David Mullett made 33, Pierce Fletcher hit a six in a brief stay at the crease, but with 15 needed off the last the tail could only manage seven, and VRA won by 7 runs.
Hoping to make it two out of two on Sunday, VRA ran into a Dosti United side who turned in one of their most solid performances of the season, and lost by 25 runs.
Batting first, Dosti recovered from the early loss of Vinoo Tewarie and Abhinav Bali, both falling to the returning Haseeb Gul Mia, to post 246 for six, with Taruwar Kohli (81) and Amitoze Singh (92) putting on 161 for the third wicket.
After they had both departed Rahil Ahmed (36 not out) and Anees Davids (24) kept the scoreboard moving, and VRA found themselves facing a very substantial target.
They made a disastrous start, two wickets for Kuldeep Diwan and one for Davids reducing them to 5 for three, but then Cooper and Borren again rebuilt the innings with a fourth-wicket stand of 148.
Borren was eventually caught behind off Davids for 43, but Cooper went on, for the second time this season, to make a century in a losing cause off the Dosti attack, hitting 114 at almost a run a ball.
When he was trapped in front by Mahesh Hans 68 were still needed with nine overs remaining, but the scoring now largely devolved upon Mitch Lees, and although he contributed 44 wickets continued to fall at the other end; he was eventually last out, a fifth wicket for Davids at a cost of 33 runs, with the total on 221. Diwan finished with three for 34.
Meanwhile at Thurlede, Excelsior ‘20 took another step towards their third title in four years with a 46-run victory over VOC Rotterdam.
The conventional wisdom in Schiedam is that anything approaching 200 at Thurlede is likely to be a winning score, and Excelsior’s 192 for seven, of which Tom Heggelman contributed a steady 52 and Branton Parchment a rather brisker 42, proved to be more than enough for their bowlers to defend.
Parchment removed both VOC openers, one of them the prolific Max O’Dowd, to rock the Rotterdam side back on their heels, and although Van Baren and Seelaar both made 26 and Mullett 25, by the time VOC had been reduced to 94 for seven the game was effectively up.
Another fine spell from Rens van Troost was this time rewarded with wickets, his figures three for 26, and there were three for Parchment as well at a cost of 24; the tail rallied somewhat to get VOC up to 146, but that was well short of what they needed.
HCC maintained their pursuit of the leaders by securing an even more decisive victory over Voorburg at Westvliet, the margin here being 80 runs.
With Bryce Street making 81, his seventh half-century in 12 innings, and smaller contributions from Boris Gorlee (42), Bharat Itagi (33) and Matt Hay (30 not out), HCC ran up 239 for six, and Nick Smit was again left to carry the Voorburg innings almost single-handed when the home side replied.
They had started promisingly enough, reaching 79 before the third wicket fell, but thereafter no-one apart from Smit was able to reach double figures, and the side were all out for 159, Smit left not out on 73.
Ali Ahmed Qasim took three for 37 for HCC, and there were two wickets apiece for Olivier Klaus, Hay and Itagi.
At Sportpark Bermweg ACC kept their title hopes alive by beating Sparta 1888 by 28 runs, but the Capelle side could take some consolation in having put up a rather more convincing show with the bat than they had against Dosti the week before.
ACC have had their own issues batting in recent weeks, and their total of 186 all out, made in exactly 50 overs, was due in no small measure to the contributions of Brady Barends (32) and Anis Raza (44 not out), batting at seven and eight respectively; Jean Marais was again the most impressive of the top order, making 32 before he was run out.
Playing a more restrained innings than usual, Ali Raza led the way for Sparta with 43 before hitting a return catch to his namesake, but it was left to Mudassar Bukhari to keep his side’s hopes alive with a fighting 46.
Wickets kept falling at the other end, however, and when Bukhari was last man out the Sparta total was just 158.
In Tobias Visée’s last match before leaving for the Canadian T20 tournament the HBS Craeyenhout batting line-up flicked back to dominant mode against neighbours Quick Haag: with Visée himself hitting a 60-ball 88 which included 12 fours and four sixes, he and Zac Elkin started with 120 for the first wicket, and then Elkin, who finished with 85, and Wesley Barresi added 154 for the fourth.
Barresi went on to make 110 from just 92 deliveries, again with 12 fours and four sixes, before becoming the first of a consolation hat-trick for Prathamesh Dake which left HBS on 323 for seven at the close.
Berend Westdijk then effectively Quick’s hopes by taking three wickets, including the vital one of Jay Bista, within the first five overs, and although Jeroen Brand (37), Lesley Stokkers (48) and Sumeet Diwan (23) fought a rearguard action, Quick were dismissed for 142.
Westdijk finished with three for 27, while Zak Gibson ran through the middle order, taking four for 16.