Topklasse semi-finalists settled, while VOC record first win
The semi-finalists for this season’s Topklasse competition were settled by Saturday’s penultimate round-robin round, with defeats for HCC and Hermes-DVS Schiedam – at the hands of Dosti Amsterdam and VRA Amsterdam respectively – ending their quest for a place in the play-offs.
Leaders ACC made themselves virtually certain of a spot in the first semi-final, with a double chance of reaching the championship final, with a comprehensive victory over a disappointing Excelsior ’20 side at Thurlede, while at the other end of the table VOC Rotterdam kept their slender hopes of avoiding relegation alive by beating Quick Haag.
Excelsior’s seamers Brett Hampton (four for 28) and Tom Heggelman (three for 30) did well to restrict ACC to a total of 177, of which Mudassar Bukhari contributed 41, but the home side’s batting never got going and they were all out for 89 in just 31.3 overs. Seamer Zishan Akram, called into ACC’s Topklasse side for the first time this season, took four for 14.
Despite that defeat Excelsior remain in fourth place in the table, and the losses by HCC and Hermes ensured that they still have a chance of taking the title.
Holding on to second place by 0.04 of a point by virtue of having played one match fewer than Dosti and Excelsior, VRA were too strong for Hermes-DVS at the ABN-AMRO International Cricket Centre, winning by 39 runs, but it was once again Wesley Barresi who dominated their batting efforts.
Barresi led the way with a 109-ball innings of 88, including nine fours, and shared an opening stand of 110 with Victor Lubbers (125). Harro and Pieter Seelaar struck back for the Schiedammers, however, and VRA were unable to take full advantage of their great start, subsiding from 146 for one to 209 all out.
Greek international George Toulantas contributed 38, and Matthijs Luten made an unbeaten 28, while the Seelaar brothers finished with four for 27 and three for 32 respectively.
Hermes were in trouble when they replied, collapsing to 72 for six before they were rescued by an 87-run stand for the seventh wicket between Pieter Seelaar (63) and Erik Hartong (38), and going into the final ten overs of their innings they needed 50 more runs with three wickets in hand.
VRA were not to be denied, however, and took those remaining wickets in the space of 14 balls to dismiss the visitors for 170. Toulantas took three for 28, and there were two wickets apiece for Berend Westdijk, Peter Borren, and Luten.
Dosti continued to breathe down the necks of their rivals with a 54-run victory over HCC at their impregnable Sportpark Drieburg fortress. In a match reduced to 37 overs because of a late start due to a wet outfield, Dosti made 212 for nine, Mehmood Sadiq scoring 51 and Mohammad Hafeez 40.
Logan van Beek took three for 30 for the visitors and followed it up with a fine 73, but other than that only Rassie van der Dussen made a significant contribution with 34, and the Hagenaars were all out for 158. Victor Grandia was again among the wickets for Dosti with three for 32.
VOC travelled to Nieuw Hanenburg knowing that defeat would effectively put them into next season’s Hoofdklasse, and they responded with a defiant effort which saw them to a 57-run victory over Quick Haag.
An opening stand of 68 between Maarten van Ierschot (36) and Daan van Everdingen (45) gave them a much-needed good start, and then Dirk van Baren (31) anchored the middle part of the innings. Bas Zuiderent chipped in with an invaluable 36 towards the end, and although off-spinner Lesley Stokkers took five for 32 for Quick the Rotterdam side managed to post 204 for nine.
Ahsan Malik Jamil and Bobby Hanif soon reduced Quick to 12 for four, and although Henk-Jan Mol and James Gruijters put on 62 for the sixth wicket the home side steadily fell behind the required rate. Gruijters was eventually caught behind by Tim Ruyters off Shaquille Martina, and although Mol continued to the end, finishing on an unbeaten 60, his side was dismissed for 147.
Jamil took three for 29 and Cameron Delport three for 24 as VOC secured their first win of the season and extended their fight against relegation by at least another week.