Edwards, O’Dowd to leave VOC Rotterdam

Netherlands Max O'Dowd celebrates his century

Dutch international captain Scott Edwards and opener Max O’Dowd will be playing their domestic cricket in the second division (Hoofklasse) next season following the announcement that they, along with Spanish national coach Corey Rutgers, will be leaving VOC Rotterdam and moving to the Hoofdklasse’s Kampong Utrecht.

Kampong had a season in an expanded top-flight competition in 2022, but dropped back down when the league reverted to a ten-team format last season.

Born in the Netherlands, where his father played as a professional for HCC but having spent most of his life in New Zealand, O’Dowd joined VOC in 2016, and in seven seasons at the Rotterdam club has made 3455 runs at an average of 45.46 in his 90 50-over games, hitting seven centuries.

Edwards’s first season in the Dutch competition was as a 18-year-old in 2015, when he played for Excelsior ’20 Schiedam, but since 2018 he has turned out for VOC, topping 500 runs every season apart from 2020 when, like O’Dowd, he was prevented from returning to the Netherlands by the Covid pandemic.

In all he has made 2671 runs in 76 games for the club at an average of 46.86, taken 68 catches (not all of them as wicketkeeper) and effected 26 stumpings; when not keeping he has occasionally turned his arm over, claiming 10 wickets at 23.60.

They will leave a significant gap in the Rotterdammers’ top order, which it will not be easy to fill; even with them in the side the batting has tended to show signs of brittleness under pressure, and the side finished sixth in last season’s championship play-off.

For Kampong, on the other hand, the arrival of the two international stars will seriously strengthen their challenge for promotion to the Topklasse in 2025.

Edwards and O’Dowd will join national A-squad players Alex Roy and Pierre Jacod and under-18 seamer Gert Swanepoel at Maarschalkerweerd, and while they will miss parts of what promises to be another busy season because of their national team commitments, they are likely to cause plenty of headaches for opposing attacks in the matches they do play.

In statements on the Kampong website all three players stress the family-friendly atmosphere, the facilities and the ambitions of the Utrecht club, which (like VOC) boasts a turf square and hosts matches of the national men’s and women’s teams.

It is unlikely that these will be the only transfers over the winter, as the leading clubs join the annual game of musical chairs which is a feature of the Dutch close season; VOC will need to rebuild their squad, and promoted side Hermes-DVS Schiedam is likely to feature several new faces as they seek to establish themselves in the top flight.

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