Thriller in Schiedam marks launch of Under-19 League
Nothing, it sometimes seems, is simple in Dutch cricket. The Under-19 Regional League, which should be, and may yet become, the Netherlands’ premier youth competition, got off to a generally successful start on Saturday, but the success was, sadly, not entirely unqualified.
Certainly, it would be difficult to imagine a more rousing way to launch the new competition than the match at Thurlede, where Rotterdam held on to win by one run as Amsterdam, chasing an imposing total of 242 in 40 overs, failed to make the four they needed off the final ball with the last pair at the wicket.
It was a gallant effort by VRA Amsterdam opener Leon Turmaine, who batted throughout the innings to finish with a 118-ball 110 not out, but who could only manage two off Sebastiaan Braat’s final delivery.
But Turmaine has one achievement which can never be taken away from him: the first century in the Regional League.
Rotterdam’s 242 for seven largely came from Sparta 1888’s Chandra Kumar (32) and VOC’s Tim de Kok (65), who shared an opening stand of 85, and from De Kok’s VOC clubmate Julian Bradley – son of former Dutch international Roger Bradley – who contributed 55.
Spinner Mahesh Hans (Dosti) was the main wicket-taker for Amsterdam with four for 34.
Turmaine received fine support from Dosti’s Rahil Ahmed (34) when Amsterdam replied, but with Excelsior leg-spinner Joost Kroesen claiming three for 45 and three run-outs adding to their troubles, the visitors lost wickets at regular intervals, and they began Braat’s final over still needing seven to win.
Braat conceded only five, and Rotterdam squeezed home by the narrowest of margins.
There was also some fine batting at the Spanjaardslaan in Haarlem, where the Haarlem/Voorburg combination coasted to a comfortable win over Den Haag.
But the home side’s task was made easier by the fact that Den Haag were only able to field nine players. Impending examinations and other commitments played their part in this, but another factor was the attraction of the Dutch football team’s opening fixture in the European Championships, and the organisers had even been driven to the expedient of allowing two bowlers to deliver alternate balls in order to prevent the match being cancelled altogether.
Speeding up the play through this device enabled the match to be finished early, but so did the tempo of the Haarlem/Voorburg innings, assisted by the gaps in Den Haag’s field. They knocked off their opponents' total of 165 for seven in just 27.1 overs.
That said, the game was distinguished by a fine 94 not out by the Den Haag skipper, Quick’s James Gruijters, and two very good ones from the Rood en Wit pair Jaap Dickmann (61 not out) and Mats Prenen (62), who shared a second-wicket stand of 141 to set their side on the path to victory. The most successful of the bowlers was Voorburg’s Philip Kingma, who took three for 20 in the Den Haag innings.
It is to the credit of the players from Rotterdam and Amsterdam that they declined the option of simultaneous overs, preferring to play a more conventional version of the game. And they were rewarded with what was evidently an absolute classic.