VOC host HCC in game of the day
There are two more crucial games this week in the fight for the Hoofdklasse title, with VOC Rotterdam at home to HCC and VRA Amsterdam travelling to Schiedam to face Excelsior.
A game clear at the top of the table, VOC will be hoping to repeat their demolition of HCC at the beginning of the season, but the Hagenaars have settled into a much more effective unit since then. VOC’s cause will be strengthened by the return of all-rounder Jelte Schoonheim, who is back from South Africa, while HCC will have been encouraged by the form of replacement coach Stephanus Myburgh in last week’s rained-off game against Excelsior.
Both sides have strong batting line-ups, but the impression persists that HCC are perhaps a little better balanced overall. Home advantage on grass is in VOC’s favour; nevertheless, if HCC play as well as they are capable of doing, they may well inflict a second defeat of the season on the Rotterdam side.
The VRA batting bounced back from the defeat at HCC to make a good start against HBS last week, and will need to carry on from there when they face Excelsior. The Schiedam side hit 260 against them in Amstelveen at the start of the season, but VRA demonstrated their batting power by winning by four wickets with three overs to spare. Given good weather and the small Excelsior ground we could be in for another high-scoring game, and one which both sides need to win: VRA to maintain their defence of their title, and Excelsior to continue their push towards the top half of the table.
The fourth side with a realistic shot at the title, HBS Den Haag, make the tricky trip to Amstelveen to take on VVV, whose game against Quick Haag last week got a little further than any other. VVV did well to take nine wickets against Quick, and might have pulled off a first win of the season had the elements not intervened. HBS should win this one, but VVV seem likely to spring a surprise fairly soon, and they will be desperate to start working their way out of the relegation zone.
The other winless side, Rood en Wit, will be in Voorburg, where they take on VCC. The Haarlem side continued their improved form by reaching 145 for two in 40 overs against VOC last week, and if Rif Bakas, Klaas-Jan van Noortwijk and Enoch Nkwe can come off against VCC a first victory for Rood en Wit is not beyond the bounds of possibility. The odds are, however, that with Tim de Leede in good form with both bat and ball VCC will again be too strong.
The fifth match is in Den Haag, where Quick will entertain Hermes-DVS. Both these sides have been consistently inconsistent, alternating strong performances with sudden collapses. The injury to Edgar Schiferli leaves a big gap in the Quick team, but the Mol brothers have been playing well and with Darron Reekers returning to full fitness they may have too many guns for Hermes. The Schiedammers have a reasonable attack, but the batting has so far been too dependent on coach Pankaj Joshi, and they will need to be somewhere near their best if they are to overcome Quick.
This week’s tips: VCC, HBS Den Haag, Quick Haag, VRA, HCC.