Salford will meet South Manchester Maccabi in the NJCL Twenty20 final after the teams came through their semi-finals in contrasting style.
Salford overcame Manchester Maccabi by 25 runs. The team’s depleted ranks were bolstered by some newly transferred faces from Sedgley and after winning the toss, captain Daniel Paul elected to bat on a dry, flat looking pitch.
After opening the innings with Gideon Sacofsky, Jonny Wineberg was out bowled to a ball from up-and-coming Maccabi bowler Adam Goldstone. Sacofsky soon followed, lofting a simple catch to Maccabi captain Ray Tammam at mid-off.
Jonny Hart was bowled by an excellent ball from Mike Sheldon for 3 and, after four overs, Salford were staring down the barrel at 12-3.
Daniel Paul and and vice-captain Robert Marks steadied the ship with a partnership of 29, ending the fall of quick wickets, but in the process slowing the scoring rate. Marks was then run out by a sharp piece of fielding by Tammam, having scored 11.
This brought the dangerous Elliot Koffman to the crease. Clearly struggling for form, he mis-timed a couple of big hits but his speed between the wickets was also quickening the run rate. He and Paul put on a further stand of 28 runs, before Paul was bowled by Steve Pearlman for 19.
Having made a quick-fire 15, Koffman was out soon after, in a bizarre stumping, having let go of his bat, with it being flung over his shoulder, and failing to get his foot back in time to beat the sharp work of Dean Clyne.
Alex Woolfstein and Zev Landsman faced the last two balls of the innings, with some farcical running once again returning the momentum to the Maccabi fielding side. Attempting a run from the last ball of the innings, Landsman was run out for 0, leaving the score on exactly 80.
Mike Sheldon was the pick of the Maccabi bowlers with 2-15, while Adam Goldstone conceding only seven runs off his four overs and taking a wicket in the process. Top scorers for Salford were Paul, 19, Koffman, 15 and Marks, 11.
Needing just four runs an over, Maccabi set out on their reply with Wayne Doyle and Steven Allweis opening the batting. Daniel Paul opened the Salford bowling in his usual metronomic style, and quickly removed both openers, Allweis for 6 and Doyle for 1.
With Maccabi in some trouble, they had two of their most experienced players at the crease but Ray Tammam then bizarrely called Mike Sheldon for a single having hit the ball straight to cover, running the dangerous Sheldon out for zero.
Change bowlers Alex Woolfstein and Jonny Wineberg then produced some remarkably stifling bowling, precipitating a Maccabi collapse reflecting the performance of the England Test team on the previous day. Woolfstein first removed the Maccabi captain for 9 and went on to take the wickets of Daniel Rose and Adam Goldstone.
Veteran Jonny Wineberg produced his best over of the season, a third maiden taking the three wickets of Andy Shaffer, Steve Pearlman and Ian Clyne with a sublime mixture of seamers, offspinners and legspinners. He finished with figures of 3 for 3 off his 4 overs.
With nine wickets down, it was left to Robert Marks to take the final wicket, that of Neil Johnson, for zero, with a big leg break taking an outside edge and snapped up by Jonny Hart with his second catch of the innings.
Pick of the Salford bowlers were the usual suspects – Paul, 2 wickets for 3 runs, Wineberg, 3 wickets for 3 runs and Woolfstein, 3 wickets for 5 runs.
South Manchester awarded a walkover after Leeds New Rover failed to raise a team.