Sparta has been the surprising leader in top class cricket to date. Last year, the team was still battling relegation and was only able to survive after a play-off against Hermes DVS. Beforehand, the fans prepared themselves for an exciting topper: leader Sparta against runner-up VCC. However, it was never exciting. The team from Capellen had no defense against the good spin bowling of Shariz Ahmad (five wickets) and Philippe Boissevain (four wickets). Nehaan Gigani (81 runs not out) finished batting for VCC.
The Spartans, who had won the toss, got off to a good start on the faster bowlers of VCC. Aided by some half-volleys and misfields, they steamed up to sixty runs after ten overs. A score of 250+ seemed in the offing.
Just in time, however, captain Engelbrecht turned to his two excellent legspinners. From that moment on the game turned 180 degrees. Shariz Ahmad struck immediately, did so four more times and on the other side of the pitch Philippe Boissevain was barely behind him with four wickets. The Spartans had no answer to the two young spinners’ spells; after the promising opening mentioned, only 72 runs were added. Sparta was all out on 132.
Anyone who thought that the Spartans would make VCC work hard for those few runs was disappointed. The weak batting turn had apparently cut into the inhabitants of Capellen. They took the expensive wicket from the brand new Orange customer Michael Levitt, but did not put Noah Croes (37 not out) and especially Nehaan Gigani (81 not out) in the way. Sparta’s bowling and fielding was below par.
VCC also beats ACC
On Ascension Day, VCC had already beaten ACC. The team from Amsterdam managed to make only 158 runs on the Voorburg attack. Here too, Shariz Ahmad excelled with four wickets. ACC had put its cards on batting out the available fifty overs, but that didn’t work out.
VCC acquisition Michael Levitt then showed his class. With 105 runs not out, he almost single-handedly overtook the ACC total. On the last ball of the game, he won his team with a ‘six’ and reached his century.
Both other Hague top division teams, HBS and HCC, also won twice. HCC overtook ACC’s 224 runs (Doram 3-30) and HBS surpassed Excelsior’s 200 runs (Walbrugh 81 not out). On Ascension Day, HCC defeated Punjab by three wickets and HBS won big against Salland (293-166, Barresi 125, Walbrugh 93).
Standings Top class cricket: 1. Voorburg CC 7-12; 2. Sparta 7-10; 3. VOC, Punjab, HCC 7-8; 6. ACC and VRA 7-6; 8. HBS, Excelsior, Salland 7-4.
Editor: Patrick de Leede
Photos: Shariz Ahmad bowls Spartan Khalid Ahmadi (photo: Catch of the Day BV) & Nehaan Gigani reaches 50 (photo: Catch of the Day BV)