Dutch feel force of Fordham

Cricket: NatWest Trophy
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reports from Northampton

The Netherlands 267-9 Northamptonshire 269-3 Northants win by 7 wkts

The Cobblers may be getting feverish about the possibility of their first Championship but in one-day games they are as likely to clobber the thumb as hit the nail, as it were.

Allan Lamb was missing, it so happens, with a cracked thumb and no one really knew just how good the Dutch were: after all they do list Australia, South Africa, the West Indies and England A (twice) among their victims at home. The preliminiaries were a little disappointing. A Dutch flag flew from the pavilion on this dazzling day and a European Union flag from the old scorebox, but there was no band to play the Dutch anthem.

The Netherlands, in bright orange caps, play on matting, although grass pitches are being prepared. If they were unlucky to be drawn, in their first NatWest tie, against one of England's more successful teams, they did win first use of perfect pitch, flat, slowish, surrounded by a very fast outfield.

Up until lunch they took every advantage. Their openers, Nolan Clarke and Peter Cantrell, both with first-class experience, scored 88 in only 19 overs when Cantrell, who had already hit nine fours, flashed once too often. Their misfortunes began with the entry of David Capel, the once and perhaps future England all-rounder, into the attack.

In the next over Flavian Aponso tried to pull him and was taken at midwicket and in the over after lunch Tim de Leede was rightly sent back but run out: 169 for 1 in 31 overs had become 178 for 3 in 38.

The innings never really recovered. Clarke played a typically punchy West Indian innings and was unlucky to be given out to Tony Penberthy's catch at mid-off; the replay suggested the ball may have touched the ground.Clarke's 86 came off 116 balls.

Alas, without such luminaries as Jan-Paul Bakker, Andre van Troost and Roland Lefebvre, they emerged as an average Minor County attack. Alan Fordham and Richard Montgomerie had raised an untroubled 124 in 33 overs when Montgomerie had a rush of blood. Both the acting captain, Rob Bailey, and Fordham (99) fell pushing along. Lubbers' bowling and field setting was good enough to delay the inevitable until Mal Loye hit three huge sixes.

The Netherlands' consolation for this elimination is the knowledge that they have qualified for the World Cup next year and will meet England in their group. As the team manager, John Wories, puts it: "Holland is, apart from dykes, tulips, windmills, cigars, cheese, drugs and free sex, for the first time on the world atlas." What, all this, and cricket too?



Nolan Clarke (West Indies). Age: 46. Plays for Sparta Rotterdam and Barbados. Occupation: professional cricketer.

Peter Cantrell (Aus). 32. Kampong Utrecht, Queensland. Golf professional.

Flavian Aponso (Sri Lanka). 43. ACC Amsterdam. Cricket coach.

Tim de Leede (Neth). 27. VCC Voorburg, trials for Sussex and Surrey. Cricket goods representative.

Roger Bradley (NZ). 32. Hermes DVS, Northern Districts, NZ. Sports Goods trader.

Steve Lubbers (Neth, capt). 42. Hermes DVS. PE teacher.

Will Stelling (SA). 25. Boland, Western Province. Professional cricketer.

Floris Jansen (Neth). 32. Kampong Utrecht. Publishing executive.

Eric Gouka (Neth). 25. Excelsior, Schiedam. Student.

Reinout Scholtte (Neth). 27. HBS The Hague. Bank officer.

Hans Boerstra (Neth). 30. VCC Voorburg; first grade cricket in Sydney. Chemical engineer.