KNCB error hits Women's Hoofdklasse
The KNCB may have been fortunate that the outcome of the men’s Hoofdklasse was not affected by the bizarre misunderstanding of the principles of net run rate which is enshrined in this year’s competition rules, but the same cannot be said of the women’s competition.
There, Quick Haag and VRA Amsterdam finished level after the play-off round robin, each having won two games and lost one, and Quick Haag were declared the champions because their NRR (+0.525 on an unofficial calculation) was clearly superior to VRA’s (-0.007).
If, however, the calculation were to be based on the system employed everywhere else in the world, whereby when a side is bowled out their score is divided by the number of overs they could have faced, the position is reversed: VRA’s NRR is +0.360, while Quick’s is +0.330.
The big swing is explained by the fact that only three games are involved for each side, and that VRA dismissed their opponents in all three play-off games. Under the KNCB rules, they gain no benefit from this when NRR is calculated.
Indeed, the match between Quick and VRA, which Quick won, accounts for a large part of the difference: Quick were bowled out for 95 in 33.2 overs, and VRA then struggled to 73 for eight in 45 overs.
You could argue that a side which only manages 73 in 45 overs doesn’t deserve to win anything, but it is nevertheless true that dividing Quick’s 95 by 33.33 instead of by 45 has a huge influence on both sides’ NRR.
Clearly the competition rules, which were seen by a general meeting in April, cannot be changed at this stage, and it is hard to see how anything can be done to remedy a highly unsatisfactory situation.
It is not the first time that the KNCB has got new regulations dramatically wrong – the introduction of the code of conduct last year is a case in point – and the messy situation over the rain rules this season is a further illustration.
But this instance, where a blatantly stupid rule decides a national championship, raises serious questions about the Bond’s organisational structures.
VRA chairman Ed van Nierop is understandably upset by the outcome of the women’s Hoofdklasse.
‘I find it incredible that we are all working so hard to improve standards in Dutch cricket, including women’s cricket, and yet something like this can happen,’ Van Nierop said this week.
‘In these circumstances, it would perhaps be a decent solution for Quick and VRA to share the title.’
But victorious Quick skipper Helmien Rambaldo – equally understandably – takes a different view.
‘We played according to the rules that were in force,’ she says. ‘And our tactics in the final game [against Rood en Wit, which Quick lost] were based on the net run rate situation.
‘We knew what we had to do, and we did it. We went out there to win, but our approach in the field would have been different if the run rate calculation had been closer.’
Whatever can or cannot be done about this unfortunate situation, it is imperative that this rule is changed in time for next year’s competitions. But that is not all. The KNCB must take the necessary steps to ensure that any future modifications to its competitions are introduced with at least a minimal level of competence.