Dosti-United secured their third consecutive finals spot with a win over ACC on Sunday, whilst Excelsior's victory over Quick Haag leaves the two tied for the second spot going into the playoffs. Meanwhile VRA saw off VOC to go level at the bottom of the table with a two-win lead in the head-to-head, and Hermes-DVA bested HCC away to secure all-but-certain safety from relegation.
Having languished at the bottom of the table all season, a revitalised VRA bagged their third win in three weeks with a convincing 105-run victory over wooden-spoon rivals VOC at Amstelveen to claw their way into 7th place ahead of the play-off phase. The game got off to the worst of starts for the hosts, Mitch Lees nicking Bobby Hanif behind on the first ball of the innings after VRA had elected to bat first, but from then on the home side looked entirely dominant. A 2nd wicket partnership of 146 runs between Emile van den Burg and Eric Szwarczynski, with the formerly out of form former dominating the scoring, put VRA well on top. Van den Burg was eventually trapped LBW by Hussain Choudary after a breezy 88, but VOC never found their way back. Though Choudary would have Szwarczynski caught for 59 some 27 runs later, VRA skipper Peter Borren smashed a quickfire 58 not out to take the hosts to an imposing 257-6.
It would prove more than enough as three quick wickets shared between Fred Klaasen and Sadiq Mahmood reduced VOC to 3-12 and effectively put them out of contention. Pieter Seelaar and Tim Ruyters would ensure the hosts had to work for the win, putting on 59 for the next wicket, but the required rate edged upwards throughout. Szwarczynski had Seelaar trapped for 34 to extinguish the visitors' last hope, and had Ruyters caught for 35 soon after. Leon Turmaine and Adeel Raja then spun through the tail, Turmaine finishing with 3-33 as VOC were bowled out for 142. The win puts VRA level with VOC on 8 points at the bottom of the table, but with an unassailable 2-0 lead on head-to-head they have the edge heading into the final phase.
At the other end of the table Excelsior '20 made light work of Quick Haag, bagging a six wicket win at Thurlede to draw level with their rivals for the 2nd spot on 18 points. A 64-run opening partneship between Wesley Barresi and Bob van Gigch had set a solid platform for the Quick innings, but when Rens van Troost remove van Gigch for 31 the hosts reasserted themselves. The introduction of Matt McGllivray saw three wickets fall in rapid succession, including the key scalp of Barresi, caught for 43. Ryan Cartwright attempted to marshall some resistance with the tail, but depsite his rearguard 33 not out regular wickets at the other end held the visitors to 175-8 from their 50 overs, McGillivray finishing with 4-25.
An unbeaten 70 from Lorenzo Ingram would see Excelsior comfortably chase down the total. Coming in at 3 after Ryan Cartwright had removed Tim Etman for 17, Ingram and Roel Verhagen put on 54 for the 2nd wicket to take Excelsior to 97-1 before Tim Gruijters had Verhagen trapped in front for 39. Ingram pressed on undeterred, and despite losing McGillivray and Joost Kroesen at the other end, both LBW to Stephen Kriel, would see the hosts home with 22 balls to spare. The two sides will enter the playoffs level on points and head-to-head wins, and though Quick lead their rivals on NRR the pair's play-off clash will likely be decisive.
Dosti-United ensured that only one of the two could reach the final, however, cementing their own finals berth with a scratchy win over ACC at Drieburg. Mudassar Bukhari, Mohammad Hafeez and Ahsan Malik took three wickets apiece to restrict ACC to 162-9 from their 50 overs, a counter-attacking 37 from Ahmed Zulfiqar down the order the most significant contribution to the ACC innings.
Dosti looked in serious trouble early in their reply however, when a wicket each for Raza and de Villiers punctuated by a pair of needess run-outs to remove Hafeez and Ackerman saw the title-holders reduced to 31-4. Bukhari and Robbie Frylinck turned the match around however, putting on 109 for the 5th wicket before Bukhari was bowled by Usman Malik for 57. Asad Zulfiqar then had Sherry Butt stumped for a duck, but with only 12 runs needed it was too late for ACC, Frylinck finishing unbeaten on 56 as Dosti cruised home with 6 overs remaining. The defeat puts ACC out of contention for a finals spot, whilst Dosti are assured of theirs, with a 2nd place finish the worst case scenario for the defending champions.
Meanwhile Hermes-DVS will enter the play-offs safe from relegation - barring an improbable string of results including and a tie between VRA and VOC - having moved to 12 points with a win over HCC at de Diepput. Having won the toss and elected to insert their hosts, Tendai Chitongo and Maninder Singh exposed the Haagse's vulnerability to spin, taking 3-21 and 4-19 respectively as HCC were skittled for 104. A 57-run partnership for the 4th wicket between Hidde Overdijk and Mark Jonkman was the only resitance of note, their respective scores of 41 and 16 the only ones to break double figures. An imperious 62 from Stephan Myburgh ensured that the result was never in doubt, Hermes completing a 7-wicket win in just 26.5 overs. The result ensures that, barring the most unlikely series of results, the unfancied Schiedammers have secured their spot in next season's expanded Topklasse.