A heavily weather-affected Topklasse weekend saw ACC and Hermes-DVS complete low-scoring wins over HCC and VOC on Saturday, whilst Sunday's games between Excelsior '20 and Dosti-United and VRA and Quick Haag were abandoned due to afternoon rain.

A damp pitch at Hazelaarweg prevented VOC and Hermes-DVS from getting started on time, their encounter eventually reduced to 42 overs a side, with Hermes winning the toss and inviting their hosts to bat first. Henrico Venter provided the Schiedammers with the early advantage, dismissing Tim Ruyters and the in-form Dirk van Baren early to reduce the hosts to 15-2. Jelte Schoonheim set about rebuilding, finding support from Pieter Seelaar and Maarten van Ierschot, but after he was trapped LBW by Manminder Singh for 76 with the score on 127 the innings rapidly fell apart.

Van Ierschot pressed on even as the tail dissolved around him, but the runs were slow in coming, Hermes' newly-arrived overseas coach Tendai Chitongo's leg-spin proving especially difficult to get away. Chitongo would finish with figures of 2-11 from his 9 overs whilst Singh and Venter both claimed three wickets for 23 and 21 respectively, Singh eventually having van Ierschot caught for 34 to bring the innings to a close with 162 on the board.

VOC would find regular reward throughout the Hermes reply, Pieter Seelaar the pick of the attack with 3-30 in 9, but could not find the key wicket of Stephan Myburgh, who would carry the bat for an unbeaten 85. As is often the case, failure to get Myburgh early was the undoing of VOC and he and Omer Bacchus saw Hermes cross the line with 9 overs to spare.

Meanwhile at het Loopveld hosts ACC were in trouble early against HCC, as new captain Mark Jonkman profited from swing-friendly conditions to dismiss Asad, Ahmed and Sikander Zulfiqar in rapid succession. All three would fall in near-identical fashion, edging outswingers to Werner Coetsee at slip, and after a threefold entry of “Zulfiqar, caught Coetsee, bowled Jonkman” in the scorebook ACC were floundering on 22-3. Ollie Klaus would compound matters by taking a stunning return catch to dismiss Mangi Mohsele, and when ACC's second overseas JP de Villiers fell to Coetsee shortly after to leave ACC 5 down 2 short of 50 it looked as though a sub-100 score was on the cards.

The arrival of Saqib Zulfiqar at the crease signalled something of a reversal however, and in partnership with his skipper Usman Malik and brother Rehmat launched a counter-attack. His 78-ball 71 took ACC as far as 166-8 before he was caught by Jonkman off the bowling of Hidde Overdijk. But HCC would nonetheless be the happier of the two sides at the break, as Jonkman would go on to complete his five-wicket haul, finishing with figures of 5-20 – his best Topklasse return since 2004, and ACC were bowled out for 169.

Usman Malik swiftly even things up however, clearly enjoying the conditions as much as his opposite number as he removed Tom de Grooth, Tonny Staal and Hidde Overdijk in short order to reduce HCC to 27-3. It fell to Jonathan Vandiar to marshal the visitors' resistance, but he found little help in the rest of the top order, Coetsee and Jonkman both falling short of double figures before Vandiar himself was caught off Sikander Zulfiqar for 66 with the score on 112.

Joost van Kessel hit a rearguard 22 from 58 but the loss of partner Kuipéri after a 20-run stand precipitated a rapid collapse, just one more run added as HCC were bundled out for 133, Malik also finishing with five wickets, at the cost of 23 runs.

Neither of the matches rescheduled to the Sunday would reach a conclusion however, likely to the relief of VRA, who were looking at their 5th consecutive defeat after being bowled out for 104 by Quick Haag at Amstelveen. Geert Mol and Ryan Cartwright were principally responsible for that scoreline, claiming figures of 3-13 and 4-31 respectively with only Eric Szwarczynski (39) and Leon Turmaine (21) resisting for long as the hosts were dismissed inside 32 overs only for the rain to save them.

The match between Excelsior '20 and Dosti-United at Thurlede was more delicately poised when the rains came. Excelsior had succeeded in removing openers Rahil Ahmed and Vinoo Tewarie after winning the toss, but Colin Ackermann and Stiaan van Zyl were closing in on a century partnership for the third wicket when the elements put a stop to proceedings in the 41st over. Nonetheless a disciplined effort in the field had kept the run rate down, with just 149 on the board and 9.4 overs remaining neither side was obviously on top. Van Zyl finished on 41 not out, and Ackermann was unbeaten on 80 having made his intentions clear with a towering six over midwicket off Tom Heggelman as the rain arrived, but that would prove the last shot of the day.

Both games will have to be re-rescheduled.


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