Two of the leading clubs in the Netherlands, Quick Haag and ACC, are celebrating important milestones this month.
Quick was established as a football club 125 years ago, although the cricket section was not added until 1927.
The first team reached the men’s top flight for the first time in 1952, and has been an almost constant presence ever since, sharing the national title with VOC Rotterdam in 1965 and winning it outright in 1970, 1986, 2013 and 2014.
The women’s side has enjoyed even greater success with six championships between 2002 and 2019; since there was no competition for the title last season they are the reigning women’s Hoofdklasse champions.
The men, by contrast, were relegated the last time a normal competition was held, in 2019, and will be looking for an early return to the Topklasse.
The Nieuw Hanenburg club has produced many outstanding cricketers over the years, its first Dutch international being opener Piet Marseille, who is one of six Quick players to make over 5000 runs for the First XI and who contributed 77 to the Netherlands’ victory over Bob Simpson’s Australians in Den Haag in 1964.
Another notable Quick product is seamer Paul Jan Bakker, who claimed 368 wickets for the club either side of a successful seven-season county career with Hampshire between 1986 and 1992.
So too is Edgar Schiferli, who in addition to his 362 wickets for Quick claimed 166 in his 105 matches for the national side and who was nominated Player of the Tournament at the 2009 World Cup Qualifier in South Africa.
Perhaps no family has contributed more to the club than the Mols, with all-rounders Henk-Jan and Geert Maarten consistent performers for the men’s side and Alarda and Laurien important members of the women’s.
For the women, however, the most outstanding players have been sisters Caroline and Helmien Rambaldo, both Dutch internationals with Helmien also captaining the Netherlands, and Caroline’s daughter Merel Dekeling is already a member of the Lionesses Under-15/Under-17 squad.
Among the club’s more notable records, one which is unlikely ever to be surpassed, is the unbroken opening stand of 428 between Nolan Clarke (265*) and Dick Vierling (117*) in a 60-over Hoofdklasse match against Bloemendaal at the Donkerelaan on 27 May 1990; it remains the highest-ever stand for any wicket in Dutch cricket.
Barbadian Clarke is one of many outstanding overseas players who have turned out for Quick, although he settled in the Netherlands and played 99 times for the national side; Quick was one of seven clubs he played for during his long career, and he had two stints at Nieuw Hanenburg, from 1984 to 1990 and from 1996 to 1997.
Among many other professionals who have donned Quick’s navy and white New Zealander Darron Reekers followed Clarke into the national side, like him playing for the Netherlands in a World Cup, while other notable names include Zimbabweans David Houghton and Grant Flower, South African Faiek Davids, and Indians Amol Muzumdar and Jay Bista, the latter’s stunning 147-ball 194 against Voorburg at Nieuw Hanenburg one of the highlights of a generally disappointing 2019 season.
Younger than Quick but established as a cricket club, ACC mark their centenary in 2021.
Now based at Het Loopveld in Amstelveen, their eighth home ground, the Amsterdamsche enjoyed their greatest period of success in the aftermath of World War 2, when they won the Dutch championship six times in seven seasons, including four titles in a row between 1948 and 1951.
In the latter year they performed the double, winning both the men’s and women’s championships, a feat only equalled once since, by Kampong Utrecht in 1992.
The nearest ACC has come to taking the title more recently was in 2010, when they lost a best-of-three final series to their former neighbours and traditional rivals VRA Amsterdam by the narrowest of margins: after winning the first match by seven wickets and then going down in the second, they lost a low-scoring decider by just one wicket, VRA’s final pair managing to reach their target, a modest 99.
The foundation of that all-conquering post-War men’s side was allrounder Wally van Weelde, who made 6194 runs in the top flight at an average of 42.14, hitting 17 centuries, and took 267 wickets at 12.02; his departure for VOC Rotterdam was a crucial factor in ending the club’s triumphant run.
Other stalwarts of that team were the two Piet Sanders, father and son, PW senior and PG junior, each of whom took all ten wickets in an innings for the club, Wally van Weelde’s brother Henk, Dick de Baare and Wim Feldmann.
More remarkable even than the father-and-son achievements of the Sanders were those of the Zulfiqars, with father Ahmed playing for ACC alongside triplets Saqib, Sikander and Asad and their elder brother Rehmat, which is probably a global record.
The four Zulfiqar boys have, of course, now moved on to Punjab Rotterdam, while Ahmed has retired.
That’s a very special family dynasty, but ACC can also boast three generations who have played in the first team: the De Bruins, Max senior, Max junior and Steven, and the Dukkers, brothers Ferry, Hans and Rob, sons Guido and Michael and Guido’s son Jim.
Like Quick, ACC has had notable overseas players, including Sri Lankan (and Dutch international) Flavian Aponso, Barbadian Vanburn Holder, New Zealander Bruce Blair, and more recently a succession of South Africans, such as Heino Kuhn, Graeme van Buuren and (for two games in 2011) Faf du Plessis.
South African-born and Dutch international left-arm googly bowler Michael Rippon, now with Otago, had a season at Het Loopveld in 2010.
Women’s cricket has been an intermittent presence at ACC, although the club has produced a Dutch captain in Denise van Deventer-Hannema, now with Excelsior ’20 Schiedam; ACC last fielded a women’s side in 2010, although there are indications that the women’s game may return to Het Loopveld before too long.
Both Quick and ACC have thriving youth sections, and there is every reason to hope that both clubs will survive to mark further significant anniversaries in the future.
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