The next few weeks could be quite some ride for Hendon United Sports Club A and their fans. Virtually every game between now and the end of the season will have a cup-final feel, but no-one in the Hammers’ camp is complaining. In fact they wouldn’t have it any way.
From back to front, Hendon are packed with match-winners — big-match players who have shown time and again that they won’t crumble when the odds are stacked against them. David Garbacz has a close-knit squad, full of character, spirit and belief, with the added bonus of players such as Greg Corin and Yoav Kestenbaum who are capable of producing moments of magic when it really matters.
The challenge that lies in front of them is both frightening and exciting in equal measures.
And if they do fail to steal the title from the hands of Raiders, it certainly won’t be for the lack of trying.
Given my recent connections to Raiders, part of me would love to see them win the title for the first time, but I'm torn as if Hendon can pull off what looks like mission impossible, it would really be something special. But their attention turns to the cup competitions over the next fortnight — with a trip to Flixton followed by another meeting with Camden Park for a place in the final of the Anekstein Cup.
Momentum is so crucial at this time of the season. It’s hard to call a winner going into Sunday’s visit to Manchester, where they take on opponents managed by former Peter Morrison Trophy winners Stuart Delmonte and Tony Rosenberg.
The pair masterminded a famous cup triumph against London Maccabi Lions at Rowley Lane a couple of years ago, and it’s great to see Delmonte trying on the minds games once again, describing Hendon as "favourites".
Traditionally both teams like to make a fast start in matches but don’t be surprised if this one goes the distance.
* David Dinkin is my MGBSFL Player of the Month for February. The NLR A hotshot has been the stand-out performer in the league this month. Spurs fan Dinks has registered 11 goals so far this season and has the touch, technique and footballing brain that kept L’Orange on course for the treble. Phil Peters leads the way in the managerial stakes once again.
Dave Esterkin has been the top player in the lower divisions. He’s scored a bucket-load of goals from centre midfield and has been “unplayable,” according to manager Jonathan Adelman. Honourable mentions also go to NLR B teammates Adam Posner and Simon Buchler, plus unsung heroes Anthony Goodmaker and Richard Bloom.