A magnificent century by Sander led the Zami’s to a handsome 277-4 victory over Hermes, setting a new record for a first wicket.
On a beautiful day of cricket on the beautiful grass wicket and grounds of Hermes in Schiedam, the confidence for a good match was high from the start. Sander lost the toss as usual, but they chose to let us bat first. When Sander and Dave took the field for our opening partnership in the bright sunshine, it was a decision Hermes would regret.
After a somewhat slow start, the game got going with 12 runs in the fourth over and that proved to be a preview of things to come. The duo hit 50 well before the first 10th over water break and 100 by the 14th. Sander scored his half-century shortly after followed by Dave, and nothing from the Hermes bowlers or fielders seemed to faze them at all.
We were better than VCC2
After 20 overs we had 160 on the board; as Kirk later pointed out, the Zami scoreline at this stage exceeded what VCC2 had achieved in their T20 match. Sander treated us all to a painful eight minutes at 99 before reaching the century with a quick single. The partnership finally came to an end in the 24th over when an overly ambitious attempt at a second run resulted in Dave going run out. His 81 runs off 79 balls, including eight boundaries, added to Sander’s score, plus the extras, made for a new first wicket partnership record of 191 for the Zami’s, beating the previous record from 2018.
Wouter came on and quickly made it clear that he would continue scoring, hitting a handsome boundary with his second ball, followed by a six a few overs later. Quite exasperated by the sustained run rate, it was time for Hermes to deploy their demon bowlers to actually get someone out. This was done by father and son EV and TV Giezen, with the younger man proving to have considerable pace. Both men needed one over each to get into their rhythm and then got the wicket they really wanted when TV Sander bowled. The captain’s final score was 109 off 77 balls, including 15 boundaries. Our Captain Marvel left the field to loud applause, safe in the knowledge that victory was all but assured.
Enter the dragon
With more than 250 runs on the board and only five overs left to play, it was safe to let John bat. He rose in the pecking order to the lofty fourth position and soon discovered the power of the bowling that had knocked Sander out. An ugly bounce hit our intrepid sixty-year-old on the arm, causing him to pause for a moment to sympathize and check that it was not broken.
The elder Groin then removed Wouter, whose final total of 36 included four boundaries before he was caught. Harold came on and quickly showed who was boss by quickly hitting a four and a six. “Keep Harold on strike!” they all shouted, but a misunderstanding about walking a second put John back at the crease to face his doom. He succumbed to a stump-shattering ball and after surviving nine balls, he left the field for nothing amid much complaining that he always has to contend with fast bowlers trying to kill him.
Nick came on, but with only an over and a half left to play, there wasn’t much chance to shine. Nick managed a nice three while Harold finished on 17, both men not out.
A war of attrition
After a delicious lunch with salad, VCC took to the field. We started well with a clean bowled by Stefan on only the fourth ball, which led to a run-out in an attempt to get the next man out. Kaushal kept the run rate down, giving away only 16 runs to Hermes in five overs. It was not until the 13th over that the second batsman fell due to an LBW from Nick, although we did not have to worry about slow dismissals as the Hermes run rate was almost half that of VCC.
Kirk – who proved to be another star of the show with an outstanding performance as our wicketkeeper – took a neat catch to eliminate the third. Wouter and Nick bowled the next two cleanly, after which it was only a matter of time before the rest of Hermes fell. Kirk showed lightning quick reactions by stumping a player who was well out of his crease and didn’t seem to have much interest in getting back in soon.
In the closing stages, Martin got an LBW and Saif bowled two clean in succession, forcing their last man to make an impossible chase. Hermes held on for three more overs before their innings ended at 144 in the 29th over after a third clean bowl from Saif. Precise bowling meant that only 22 extras were awarded, breaking the usual Zami rule that every over must contain a wide. And there were just a few comical moments during the fielding, with John finding it necessary to fall over twice, a dropped catch and a ball conveniently kicked over the boundary.
So VCC had won by 133 runs – sometimes more than our total score – and the third innings was celebrated with Sander buying a pitcher. Our thanks, of course, go to Hermes for their hospitality and for the great game!
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