VOC face tough start to Hoofdklasse campaign
Last seasonís defeated semi-finalists VOC Rotterdam face the toughest start to the competition when the 2008 Hoofdklasse season gets under way at the start of May.
Not only do they face the other losing semi-finalists from last year, Quick Haag, in the opening round on the Ascension Day holiday on 1 May, but they then meet the 2007 finalists in their next two matches, champions VRA Amsterdam on 4 May and Voorburg the following Sunday.
VRA will kick off their attempt to take a fourth straight title at home to Excelsior í20 Schiedam, while Voorburg meet HCC, also at home. Voorburg will then travel to Excelsior in Round 2.
Promoted club Sparta 1888 will take on HBS Den Haag on Ascension Day, and then face Quick Haag on the Sunday. The remaining match in the opening round sees Hermes-DVS Schiedam at home to VVV Amsterdam.
The format for the Hoofdklasse is essentially unchanged, with the retention of the play-offs which were introduced last season. One difference, however, is that after the controversy over the venue for the 2007 final the KNCB has decided that this year the final will be played on the ground of the higher-placed qualifier, based on the final Hoofdklasse table.
The semi-finals are scheduled for Saturday, 30 August, with the final due to take place on 6 September. In each case, the Sunday is available as a reserve day.
The schedule for the Nachenius Twenty20 Cup is in the initial stages very much like last yearís inaugural competition, with seventeen clubs in four regional groups. This year the five-team group will be in Rotterdam-Schiedam, with newly-promoted Eerste Klasse side Pak Dutch Rotterdam taking on their four Hoofdklasse rivals.
There will again be an all-Eerste Klasse group, involving Utrecht clubs Hercules and Kampong, Rood en Wit Haarlem and the promoted side Bloemendaal.
But the regional play-offs will be replaced by a quarter-final stage in which the first-placed side from each group will take on the runners-up from another group. The draw for this phase will be made after the final group matches on 27 June.
The Twenty20 finals day will this year take place on 9 August, and the venue will be decided on the basis of bids from the four semi-finalists.