Champions South Manchester Maccabi started the Northern Jewish League title defence with a hard fought victory over Bury & Whitefield.
Put into bad on a wet pitch, South’s openers put on 40 for the first wicket and were looking comfortable. After eight overs, Adam Shogger was introduced to the attack and struck with his first ball and again four balls later. This brought Bury back into the game and when Dave Ross took two wickets with his first deliveries in a Bury shirt the came was even. South finished on 117-9.
Bury’s reply started brightly, putting on 20 in three and a half overs, but when Saunders was bowled for 11 the momentum swung Sout’' ways. Bury fought on doggedly without really threatening the target finishing on 76-8.
The NJCL season began in mixed weather conditions at St Pauls in Salford where Leeds entertained last year's league runners-up and double cup winners - Manchester Maccabi.
The Yorkshiremen won the toss and elected to bowl first on a flat pitch, but that decision seemed to backfire as Simon Jeffries and Maccabi skipper Ray Tammam steadily built up an impressive opening stand.
Jeffries led the way with a quickfire 45 before edging the accurate Dobkin to young wicket keeper Goldberg who had an impressive game and the 65-run partnership was broken.
Due to rain interruptions, the game was reduced to 27 overs a side and Maccabi were unable to up their run rate as Jonny Wineberg, Max Davies and Josh Henry all bowled well, but Nigel Woolfstein (12) and Tammam added 35 for the third wicket after Steven Allweis had earlier been caught as the visitors approached 100.
After Henry and Davies had grabbed their wickets, they could not uproot the experienced opposition opener who ended up unbeaten on an impressive 46 not out having carried his bat through the whole of the innings that ended on 132 for the loss of only three wickets.
Leeds started poorly losing Wineberg, bowled comprehensively by Daniel Franks for only three, as he and Allweis bowled steadily. The game then started to change when the experienced Simon Williams put together an excellent knock that before long saw him pass a vital 50. He was aided by Leeds skipper Dan Goldsborough as the home team ate away at the target.
Leeds managed to get their task eased to needing less than a run a ball as their innings headed towards its end, but as the pressure built up, the batsman risked a quick single to Tammam who threw the ball to Allweis and Goldsborough was run out for a creditable 38.
Needing seven runs to win from the last over from Maccabiah medallist Allweis, Williams managed to get his score up to 64 and needing three from the last ball of the match to win, was well-stumped by Maccabi keeper Nigel Woolfstein leaving the hosts an agonising two runs short of victory in a thrilling game.
South Manchester Maccabi 117-9 (28 overs - rain affected) Dave Ross 3- 12
Bury & Whitefielld 76-8
South won by 41 runs
South 17 points, Bury 8
Manchester Maccabi 132-3 Ray Tammam 46 not out, Simon Jefferies 45
Leeds Maccabi 130-3 Simon Williams 64, Daniel Goldsbrough 38
Maccabi won by 2 runs
Maccabi 15 points, Leeds 10