MAL scraped home by one wicket in their Middlesex Sunday Cricket League Division Three match against London Maccabi Vale 2nds on Sunday despite a fairly woeful bowling and fielding display.
Vale skipper Jon Lederman called correctly and opted to bat on a blisteringly hot day. The openers, Jeremy Harris, and Mark Spanjar started well but circumspectly against Yoav Lebens and Tony Wise. Spanjar survived a strong appeal for caught behind before he was trapped in front by Wise for 13 to leave the score at 30-1 in the 10th over.
Scott Gerrard joined Harris and showed his confidence by taking 10 off the first five balls he faced. Harris and Gerrard batted extremely well together, putting on 106 in 20 overs to take the score to 136 in the 30th over before Gerrard was LBW to the left arm spin of Traub.
136-1 quickly became 148-4 as Yoav Lebens took two wickets in the next over, ending Harris' long innings with a terrific caught and bowled grab from a slower ball, before bowling Jeff Permutt for a duck with an inswinger.
With nine overs remaining, the innings was very much in the balance, but some good controlled hitting, excellent running, and some dreadful lapses in the field meant that Vale were able to up their scoring rate.
Simon Levy picked up both Ledermen - Jon well held at long off by Yoav Lebens for 12, and Ben at mid off by Tony Wise for two, and Avi Gelley bowled Daniel Caplan for 13, but Jon Cantor's 33 not out meant that Vale posted a highly respectable total of 223-7.
MAL's reply began well as Mark Landau stroked a pair of sweet boundaries from the first over. Opening partner Adam Katten was out in the 5th over, to a short ball from Jon Freedman which he could only fend into the gully, to be dismissed for 1.
Yoav Lebens joined Landau and the pair were looking good and scoring freely until Lebens nicked behind for 11 off Freedman looking to guide a single to third man. Landau was timing the ball well, but his innings was ended by a smart catch by Scott Gerard at mid-wicket having reached 30, to give Freedman his third wicket.
The third wicket slowed the scoring rate, as the middle order consolidated. Tony Wise struck a couple of nice boundaries but was undone when trying to force the pace against David Marks' slow bowling, being bowled for 12. Matt Plax joined Baddiel, and the pair ticked over the runs. After 23 overs MAL needed 120 in 17 overs. A couple of big overs - with Baddiel timing the ball sweetly - took the score to 115 before Jon Lederman got him to play-on for a well made 30.
Grant Traub and Plax put on 41 in just over five overs to keep MAL very much in touch. Plax was dismissed for a valuable 24 in the 31st over with the score on 156, and 68 runs still needed. That was Jon Lederman's second wicket and his third followed in his next over as he bowled Simon Levy for four, to leave MAL at 165-7.
Skipper Gav Lebens joined Traub and their partnership proved vital, as they put on 53 in six overs to take MAL to the brink. Lebens' 24 included a big six over square leg off Simon Renshaw. With just six needed, Jon Lederman took his fourth wicket, bowling Lebens to leave the game still in the balance.
A scrambled single from No. 10 Klinger, and a cleanly struck boundary over mid-wicket from Traub, and the scores were level, with one run required from the last over, to be bowled by Ben Lederman. There was a final twist as Klinger was bowled from the first ball, but a legside wide meant that MAL got home by one wicket.
It was hard fought game played in a good spirit, with some excellent individual performances. Credit must go to Harris and Spanjar for their 50s, and Lederman (4-37) and Freedman (3-38) who bowled well. For MAL Grant Traub stands out, with his 1-24 from eight overs and 38 not out, but it was very much a team batting performance with contributions throughout the order.