Cooper and Seelaar deny Hong Kong
Hong Kong were left frustrated by a phenomenal Netherlands rearguard action as the ICC Intercontinental Cup match ended in a draw at Tin Kwong Road Recreation Ground
At lunch on the final day, Hong Kong required just four more wickets for victory, but a mammoth 288-run partnership from Ben Cooper and Pieter Seelaar denied the hosts victory.
It had started in promising fashion for the hosts when Nadeem Ahmed dismissed Wesley Barresi for 28, which was followed by successive strikes from Ehsan Nawaz to reduce The Netherlands to 105-5.
With 80 overs left in the day and Timm Van Der Gugten unable to bat due to injury, Hong Kong looked set to complete victory in their maiden First Class match at home.
But Cooper was joined by Seelar in what turned out to be a marathon partnership that spanned for more than two sessions. The scored finished on 393-5, which was still 114 runs short of the 507-run target set by Hong Kong.
Neither batsman had previously scored a First Class century, but both well surpassed that milestone with Cooper scoring 173 from 317 balls, while Seelaar finished on 138 from 239 deliveries.
The unbeaten partnership defying 474 balls sent down by Hong Kong’s bowlers who up until that point had enjoyed domination of the game.
“I’m a bit disappointed but at the same time I’m proud that we were on top for three and a bit days but today a bit disappointed we should have won it,” said Hong Kong captain Babar Hayat.
“I think we dropped a couple of half chances in the field and if we took those it would have made the difference.”
“The guys bowled really well for us and all contributed it was just those half chances.”
“They deserve credit for the way they played, they batted more than two sessions and we couldn’t get through them.”
A sore and stiff looking Ben Cooper spoke after the game, understandably proud of his achievements which earned him Man of the Match honours.
“It wasn’t the best position to be in but we just backed ourselves and knuckled down,” Cooper said.
“It’s the stuff you dream about to make such a good hundred as your first one and to be out there with Pieter was special.”
“I was following and looking at the scoreboard but in the end I just had to knuckle down and bat it out.”
“It will be a quick turnaround but to have a game like that and personally put some runs on the board it feels good going into those World Cricket League games.”