Hermes-DVS Schiedam vs HBS Den Haag (Sportpark Harga)
A must-win game for Hermes, as are all their remaining fixtures if they are to preserve any hope of
survival. Nothing on the line at all for HBS, of course, whose remaining fixtures are all academic.
Whether that will be enough to swing it Hermes’ way is another question, of course, though HBS will be
without Corey Rutgers owing to injury, and indeed with nothing to gain for the Crows it's an open
question how many other players may be rested. Much will depend, one supposes , on whether Hermes
still believe their season can be salvaged, and of course on the stuttering form of Stephan Myburgh –
who is still due a big score.
The flicker of hope created by two wins on the trot for Hermes was snuffed out by Dosti a fortnight ago,
and although they could still technically escape relegation their margin for error has been reduced almost
to zero. For HBS, like other mid-table teams, the test is whether the determination is there to play every
remaining match as if it’s a competition decider. Having started the season so well they have every
incentive to finish with a flourish, and even without Rutgers they have both the batting and the bowling to
come away from Schiedam with the points.
VRA Amsterdam vs Dosti United Amsterdam (Amstelveen)
At the other end of the table VRA are the last team in notional contention to dethrone Excelsior, though
their chances are remote in the extreme. Word is Peter Borren will be handing over the reins after 166
matches as VRA captain, and this will be Emile van den Burg's first game in charge. Home advantage
has counted for little for VRA this season, but they too will be facing a side playing for little. Dosti have
been rather over-reliant on overseas players Dry and Kohli, but then coaches going big at the Bos is
something of a Topklasse tradition. Probably the pick of this week’s matches all told, could be a close
There have been signs in recent weeks that Dosti’s top order is beginning to run into some form, and
they will need to be at their best if they are to take advantage of conditions in the Amsterdamse Bos
against a VRA attack which can be menacing if it fires on all cylinders. And with Peter Borren and Eric
Szwarczynski topping the averages at present VRA’s own batting has plenty of firepower. Dosti’s skipper
Vinoo Tewarie will no doubt relish another return to his old club, but the odds seem to favour a home
VOC Rotterdam vs ACC (Hazelaarweg)
A win for either of these sides could see them secure their Topklasse survival, though given that both
enjoy comfortable leads over Hermes it would be a stretch to describe this as a high-pressure game. It's
difficult to see VOC busting out of their slump in the circumstances, and though ACC are also on
something of a losing streak I'd back the Amsterdammers to come out on top.
ACC have won on their last six visits to the Hazelaarweg, the home side’s last victory having been back
in 2009. Hampered by injuries and absences, VOC’s recent form has done little to suggest that Sunday
will see an end to one of the longest losing sequences in the competition. They did win in Amstelveen in
June, but that was against a makeshift ACC side, and unless Caleb Jewell and Max O’Dowd produce
something special it’s hard to see the Rotterdammers making enough runs to win this time.
Quick Haag vs HCC (Nieuw Hanenburg)
Just pride on the line for the two Hague clubs too, and one suspects home advantage may play a bigger
role at Nieuw Hanenburg. Jonathan Vandiar's wicket will, as always, be key for the hosts – HCC's
talismanic pro closing in on the 1,000 run mark. The Hanen have been the more convincing all-
round outfit these season however, and are never easy to beat at home.
Vandiar needs just 70 runs to become the second batsman to reach 1000 runs in a season since the top
flight was reduced from 12 teams in 1998, but he will probably be more intent on shepherding his young
charges to another win. Boris Gorlee’s first Topklasse half-century last time out suggests that the solidity
of HCC’s batting is improving, and this could be a really absorbing tussle. Quick, though, have
specialised in dismissing opposition cheaply on their own patch, and the toss could make a big
Punjab Rotterdam vs Excelsior 20 Schiedam (Het Zomercomplex)
The Zomercomplex may well be the venue where Excelsior claim the title, a win for the defending
champions and a loss for VRA will mean the mean the top of the table is settled. The former at least is a
fairly safe bet, though Punjab have given a fine account of themselves in their debut Topklasse season
and remain a dangerous side, having beaten Excelsior in a T20 earlier in the season, but though the
streak may have been broken the momentum is very much with Tom Heggelman's men.
My one disagreement with m’colleague this week is about which match is the game of the round, and I
reckon ‘t Zomercomplex could be the place to be. The battle between Punjab’s array of spinners and the
Excelsior top order may well prove decisive, while if the home side’s batters are in the mood they could
give the Schiedammers’ attack plenty of problems. Even without Ahsan Masood they are a force to be
reckoned with, and while I, too, think Excelsior are likely to prove too strong on the day, another win for
the Topklasse newcomers would not be a huge surprise.
[Note: These tables show the results of this fixture over the past ten seasons. ‘W’ means a win for the
home side, ‘L’ a defeat, ‘T’ a tie, ‘N’ no result. Matches played on the opponent’s ground or a neutral
venue are shown in square brackets.]
Bertus de Jong’s predictions:
HBS, VRA, ACC, Quick, Excelsior
Rod Lyall’s predictions:
HBS, VRA, ACC, Quick, Excelsior