New-look Twenty20 Cup to dominate first part of season
This season’s Twenty20 Cup will again have a radical new look, with the competition reverting to a combination of Topklasse and Hoofdklasse teams.
According to the provisional fixture list, there will be two groups of eight sides, with four teams from each division taking part in each. The division is broadly geographical, although Amstelland United – a late addition following their promotion to the Hoofdklasse in place of HCC’s Second XI, which has been voluntarily moved by the club to the Eerste Klasse – has rather surprisingly been placed in the predominantly southern Group B.
As part of the agreement which has been hammered out over the winter to enable youth cricket to move to Sundays in the early part of the season, the Twenty20 Cup dominates the domestic schedule in May, with only two rounds of the Topklasse taking place next month – on the Ascension Day holiday, Thursday, 17 May, and on Sunday, 27 May.
Another innovation is the introduction of double-header fixtures in the T20 competition, with each club hosting two matches on the same day once during the group phase.
Thus, on the opening day, Sunday, 29 April, ACC will be at home to Rood en Wit Haarlem and VRA Amsterdam and Bloemendaal will entertain Voorburg and Kampong Utrecht in Group A, the matches starting at 1:30 and 4:30 respectively, while Hermes-DVS will play Sparta 1888 and Quick Haag and Punjab Rotterdam will meet Amstelland United and HBS Den Haag in Group B.
The 1:30 start for the early matches will permit the Sunday mornings in May to be used for youth matches.
The reversion to a single competition means that Hoofdklasse sides will once again gain the opportunity to cause upsets by beating teams from the top flight, and possible promotion contenders such as Voorburg, HBS Den Haag and newly-relegated Rood en Wit Haarlem will fancy their chances against some of their Topklasse opponents.
At the same time, the division of the clubs into two groups rather than four ensures that each of the Topklasse sides will face three of their rivals from the top division: fewer than in last season’s Topklasse-only round robin, but probably with more riding on the result.
And the largely geographical grouping means that the long-established local derbies will again all take place in the group phase: ACC face VRA Amsterdam on 29 April, for example, while Rood en Wit will take on Bloemendaal on 5 May, Quick Haag meet HBS Den Haag on 13 May, and the Schiedam derby between Hermes-DVS and Excelsior ’20 is scheduled for the last of the round-robin dates, 15 June.
The draft fixture list is a model of ingenuity, with the Saturday or Sunday double-header games combined with others on the traditional Friday evenings, starting at 16:30 on 18 May and, as the evenings get lighter, at 18:00 on 25 May and 15 June.
The finals day will have the same format as in the past, but there will be no quarter-finals this year: the top two teams from each group will proceed directly to crossover semi-finals on Saturday, 23 June, with the final taking place later that day.
The groups are as follows: