A day for youth - and Australian coaches
Excelsior ’20 and Quick Haag took a step clear of the pack with their second win of the Pentecost weekend on Monday, while the pressure continued to build up behind them as five teams are within a point of each other in the middle of the Hoofdklasse table.
The tightest match of the day was in Schiedam, where Hermes-DVS fell just two runs short as they chased HCC’s total of 233.
Winning the toss and batting, HCC got away to a great start, rattling along at six an over for the first twenty overs as openers Stephan Myburgh (62) and 20-year-old Thijs Fischer (74) shared a century stand. Fischer was one of several young players who seized the opportunity presented by the absence of the national squad and the double weekend to bask in the sunshine and the limelight.
After these two were dismissed, however, the HCC innings went into the doldrums somewhat, and with Erik Hartong taking three for 35 the visitors were bowled out in the final over.
Jasper Beijer top-scored in the Hermes reply with 68, coach Shanan Stewart making 46 and Gavin McRae 41 as Hermes reached 199 for three. But HCC’s Philip van den Brandeler was again amongst the wickets with three for 32, and Hermes needed 12 off the last over.
Despite a six from Borg Lenstra they were unable quite to make it, and were all out for 231 of the very last ball.
The greatest upset came at Westvliet, as home side Voorburg, with four changes in their team, dismissed ACC for 127 and went on to win by seven wickets.
Ehtesham Chaudry Mohammed took five for 35 for Voorburg, and only ACC coach Ryan Maron made a significant contribution with the bat, making 47 and putting on 52 for the second wicket with the consistent Zulfiqar Ahmed to give his side another good start. 16-year-old Philip Kingma joined his elder brother Floris in the Voorburg side, claiming two for 5 on his Hoofdklasse debut.
It was all downhill after that, as nine wickets fell for 66 runs. Wilfried Diepeveen made sure of the points for Voorburg, hitting a not-out 66 to see his side home with more than twelve overs to spare.
Put in to bat on an Amstelveen pitch which showed signs of wear all day, Excelsior owed their total of 213 for six to an uncharacteristically restrained 100 from coach Mark Cleary, who took 141 balls to reach his first century of the season and was then bowled by Mangesh Panchal off the very next ball.
By that time Excelsior were on 179 with seven overs left, and although Ben Goedegebuur came back to take a couple more wickets and finish with three for 40, the visitors’ total seemed likely to provide a stiff test for a VRA side without its two internationals and injured coach Gerrie Snyman.
So it proved, with VRA quickly slumping to 24 for four and then to 64 for seven. An abject defeat like that of the previous day was on the cards, but VRA’s new acquisitions Atse Buurman and Goedegebuur had other ideas, adding 104 for the eighth wicket – a club record – and raising the slim possibility of an extraordinary turnaround.
Excelsior’s cause was not helped by a dispute over a four signalled after a desperate save on the boundary, which led to a booking for skipper Cleary and the umpires suspending play for 14 minutes.
When Goedegebuur was finally bowled by young Australian exchange player Tom Brinsley for 48, 46 were still needed but there were only 17 balls available to get them, and although Buurman stayed undefeated on 83 and there was a flurry of runs at the end from last man Sohail Bhatti, VRA ended 24 runs short.
Brinsley finished with four for 20, his best haul of the season so far.
Quick Haag stayed level with Excelsior, though slightly behind them on net run rate, with a comfortable win over VVV Amsterdam, although only after Geert Maarten Mol (four for 23) and 15-year-old James Gruijters (three for 26) had hit back to take VVV from 156 for three to 182 all out in the space of ten overs.
Mehmood Sadiq had made 54 for the Amsterdammers, supported successively by Nadeem and Shahrukh Akhtar, but the lower order was unable to continue the job against Mol and Gruijters. The latter’s elder brother Tim, of course, is with the Warwickshire academy, and played in the national squad’s warm-up games in England last week.
Mol then completed a fine all-round performance, making 39 and sharing in a stand of 60 with coach Gareth Hopkins (42). Once they were out, Jeroen Brand took over, and had reached 47 not out by the time Quick reached their target in the 40th over.
VOC Rotterdam bounced back from the previous day’s defeat at Excelsior by completing a seven-wicket win over HBS Den Haag, with coach Michael Dighton the second Australian centurion of the day.
HBS captain Taco Risselada, with 51, was the principal run-scorer in his side’s total of 173, with Mustafa Faqiri chipping in with a defiant not-out 36 towards the end. There were two wickets each for VOC’s seamers Reinout van Ierschot, Brian Jurisich, Dighton and Jelte Schoonheim.
Dighton shared half-century stands with Tony Barca and Maarten van Ierschot, and then went on to complete his first hundred of the summer just before his side took the points with a full 16 overs in hand.