Season 2008/09 of the JC MSFL gets under way with some mouth-watering clashes on the cards. Our experts look ahead to all the action across five divisions.
BAFANA BAFANA vs NORTH WEST NEASDEN A
Champions Neasden could not have asked for an easier opener. Having strengthened what was already an incredibly strong squad last season with the additions of Ricky Kennet and Lee Bibring from the Lions, Jamie Cole and Daniel Fox have an embarrassment of riches at their disposal.
I fully expect Neasden to hit the ground running though Bafana are a bit more unpredictable. Player-manager Adam Lawrence was hoping to bring in a couple of players with whom he had "verbal agreements", saying the dynamoic duo would give the team more of a cutting edge.
Regardless of whether or not they sign, I can only see one winner. Neasden have strength in depth and it would need all their big match players to under-achieve for Bafana to get anything from the game. Cole and Fox won't let that happen and even if the hosts stifle Neasden initially, I'm sure Neasden will have a contingency plan.
Bafana keeper Simon Davies is available only until December. I can see him being one of the busiest players on the pitch. The return of Jonny Kay from university is effectively a new signing. But it is Seth Green that Lawrence is looking for an improvement from. "After a season acclimatising, I expect big things from him. He will probably admit that last season was a quiet one by his standards - in our First Division championship win he averaged two goals per game."
Simon Lawrence remains on course to make the Under 18 Maccabiah team.Despite only turning 17 in March he top-scored with 12 goals.
Bafana must get their game-plan spot on to keep this game alive at half time. Anthony Jaff and Dave Ossack are two key players. With Kennet looking to pay back a dividend of his huge signing-on fee, his clash in the centre of the park with Jaff could make the ground shake.
Neasden scored in every game last season and I believe that Bafana don't have the weapons to keep them at bay.
Now's the time for them to prove me wrong.
JC team news: Neasden will be without David Fox, Danny Cole, Lee Bibring, Ryan Sher, Adam Savitz and Jonny Ellis.
Neasden: Ed Bloom, Jake Gottlieb, Scott Shindler, Adam Levene, Marc Greene, Sammy Ross, Ricky Kennet, Matt Sofier, Danny Daggers, Dan Levenfiche, Ben Forman, Darren Yarlett, TJ, Lee Cash, Matt Stock
JC star man: Ricky Kennet (Neasden)
Bafana clean sheet - 10-1
Neasden to score 3+ - 5-1
DC Prediction: BAFANA BAFANA 0 NORTH WEST NEASDEN A 4
CHIGWELL ATHLETIC A vs REDBRIDGE JEWISH CARE A
What better way than to start the season that with a rip-roaring derby. There have been managerial changes in both clubs with Russell Green taking over from Russell Brill at Chigwell while, over at RJC, Darren Brown has joined Trevor Moss in the dug-out.
Though the Chigs finished last season higher up the table than their East London rivals,RJC may well feel they have a slight psychological edge given that they took four points off Chigwell last term.
Of the two clubs, Chigwell have made more signings and better signings. In has come Greg Bookman, Sam McCarthy, Brad Frankel, Sam Lieberman - four names that would grace any Premier Division team.
Booky had a brilliant season for Chigwell B in Division One last term while the return of Frankel is a massive boost. Like Bookman, Lieberman used to be on the books of Wingate & Finchley while there will be no room for sentiment as McCarthy goes up against his former teammates.
It will be interesting to see how the new players gel as Chigwell have lost the likes of : Jon Raven, Andy Levy, Darren Yarlett, Daniel Castle, Ben Rosenthal, Richard Slater, Darren Morris, Saul Fagelson and Jon Swead.
Though not a new signing, the Essex giants were delighted to keep hold of young striker Dean Ben Yosef. "It's a big boost for all at the club that Deano has committed after being constantly tapped up during pre-season," chairman Richard Slater told JC Sport. "It shows us he believes we are getting closer to lifting some silverware and wants to be a part of it."
I can see RJC struggling this season. They will be looking to improve on last season's finish. Lions B boss Gavin Stollar believes they pose a big threat from set-pieces but with Frankel standing firm at the back, they might not have much joy on Sunday.
As with most derbies, this will be a high-octane affair but Chigs know they must make a statement of intent, especially in front of their own fans, and am tipping them to edge it.
JC team news: Eliott Glickman and Muriel Avrham are absent for RJC.
RJC (from): Richard Stern, Jamie Moss, Amir Nathan, Marc Silver, Darren Brown, Anthony Mendel, Glenn Michaels, Richard Caplin, Daniel Orgel, Daniel Howard, Richard Kanolik, Dean Michaels, Jordan Sapler, Nick Burns, Robert Tabor, Scott Mckenzie, David Bennett
JC star man: Brad Frankel (Chigs)
DC Prediction: CHIGWELL ATHLETIC A 2 REDBRIDGE JEWISH CARE A 1
LONDON MACCABI LIONS A vs GLENTHORNE UNITED A
New Lions boss Andrew Myers could not have asked for a tougher opening fixture against a Glenthorne team delighted to be back in the big time.
The Thornes were delighted to ram my words back down my throat last season when they lifted the Division One title and with Steve Faye back on board, I expect them to more than hold their own this term. Relegation is a word that manager Ian Cohen has banned from the changing room and with the old heads of Neil Zeff and Rob Donn helping the less experienced players through the season, I believe they have more than enough to finish inside the top eight.
Most people have already written the Lions off this season. The departure of Mike Pearson, Ricky Kennet, Ben Joseph and Lee Bibring is sure to affect them.
Myers has been quick to bolster the squad with the talented David Dinkin. Keen to put some young blood in at the deep end, Sam Arghebant, David Rose and David Cohen have the chance to show what they are capable of.
I expect the likes of Adam Myeroff, Tony Gold and Aviel Schwarz to be among the names on the Lions teamsheet. The latter two in particular have been there seen it and done it and will lead from the front, but the youngsters might not know what hit them against a team that likes to put themselves about.
There were one or two flashpoints in last season's cup meeting between the teams but I have no doubt that Cohen's boys will only have revenge on their minds from a result's perspective. Lewis Walker set Division One alight last term and he will be looking to get behind the Lions defence.
In his pre-match press conference, Myers told JC Sport: "The aim as always for the club is to be competitive on the pitch and leaders off the pitch."
He has a tough act to follow after taking over from Eilon Kennet and Ben Winston who won nine trophies in five season. Lions have set the benchmark in Jewish football over the last 15 years and I'm sure home fans would rather have wanted to hear Myers saying their going for the treble rather than looking to be competitive. Perhaps it was a smokescreen. Either way we'll know a lot more about both teams come 12.15 on Sunday afternoon.
JC star man: Rob Donn (Glenthorne)
DC Prediction: LONDON MACCABI LIONS A 1 GLENTHORNE UNITED A 0
LONDON MACCABI LIONS B vs MONTANA BOCA UNITED A
A trip to Rowley Lane is what playing in the Premier Division is all about. That will be the message coming out of the Montana camp in their changing room before the game. With Elan Ovits joining the newly-wed Marc Zeidman in the dugout, Montana look to have covered all bases in the motivation and tactics department.
Ovits has an astute knowledge of the game. In Maccabi League terms, he's been around the block, having won silverware with Hillgar Athletic, as well as playing for Faithfold and Hendon United. The team has not brought in players willy, nilly. Montana have kept pretty much all of the team that were promoted last season and added Ricky Bloomberg, Zak McLeod and Darren Cohen, brother of striker Gary.
If given the chance, the Cohen boys could terrorise the home defence but Darren will need to get in front of Virgil Levy and Andrew Binstock in the pecking order. Midfielders Simon Peterman, Tom Miller and Zaki Kramer were driving forces in Division One last term while it will be interesting to see if wing wizard Simon Hecker can cut it in the top-flight.
Player-chairman Raymond Harrod is champing at the bit for his top-flight debut. He warmed-up for the match with a goal in the team's final pre-season friendly, a 2-1 win over UCS Old Boys. The win saw Montana complete their programme unbeaten with victories over some non-Jewish teams.
Ovits said: "We know that we still have more in the tank and will need be at our very best against a strong Lions B team."
New Lions boss Gavin Stollar has been the busiest of all JC MSFL managers. Twelve new players have come in with Stollar raiding his former club Oakwood for the majority. Ben Harris, Ryan Fox, James Steele, Elliot Espinoza, Jimmy Lester, Danny Cohen, Oli Leslie, Daniel Stollar, David Kosky, Henry Ziff, Bradley Sharp and Russell Schaller have joined the Rowley Lane outfit with Stollar believing that Jimmy Lester, Elliot Espinoza, Josh Morris and the two players returning from season long injuries, Hadley Silver and Oli Leslie, are the ones to watch out for.
I can see this being an entertaining affair with the JC cameras hoping to get some great action shots. Montana have sold all their tickets for an historical match - their first in the JC MSFL Premier Division. I don't expect them to freeze on the big stage and can see them nicking it in a game where the first goal will be crucial.
JC team news: Montana's Trevor Henen, last season's Division One player of the year, is out.
JC star man: Elliot Espinoza (Lions)
DC Prediction: LONDON MACCABI LIONS B 1 MONTANA BOCA UNITED A 2
Camden Park vs North London Raiders A
A very new-look Raiders team have high hopes for the big kick-off. Manager Adam Fegan said: "As you can imagine by the number of new signings it will be a very different, very new and very young looking Raiders squad. We started the building process as soon as last season finished, and the size of the squad is a testimony to the work that everyone has put in.
"There are lots of good teams in our division this year so we shall have to see how it pans out. But we are an ambitious club and we hope to emulate the success of our B team over the last few years."
The Leaders brothers, Mark and Matt, head a new-look back four with keeper Tim Creswell hoping that the home stopper is the busier of the two.
Camden don't do pre-season or new signings but Division One wouldn't be Division One without them. Justin Rockberger's troops remind me of the Wimbledon of old. Pre-season consisted of a 40th birthday celebration in Ibiza.
Ever the realist, Rockberger made his intentions clear when he said: "We just hope to start and finish every game with 11." Central defender Jamie Lustigman will have his hands full trying to keep the Raiders strikers out and whoever plays in goal for the Graphites, be it Phil Caplin, Lawrence Bond or even Russell Greenfield, could be in for a busy morning.
JC star man: Jonny Silver (Raiders)
DC Prediction: Camden Park 1 North London Raiders A 2
North West Neasden B vs Brixton Old Boys
Having finished much higher up the Division Two table than most expected, Brixton were all too happy to accept an invitation to return to Division One. But having lost Steve Faye to Glenthorne, unless they have made dramatic reinforcements that I haven't heard about, I can only see them making an instant return.
Faye was the man who pulled the strings, the heartbeat of the team and had every opponent saying ‘he's a good player'. I know the Brix will give it their best shots their first opponents are a team that are focused on the job at hand and desperate for a top two finish.
With Ryan Glynne joining Sammy Carr in the hotseat, I can guarantee that you won't see Neasden turn up under-prepared for any match. Complacency and a lack of respect for opponents are two aspects banned from the Neasden changing room.
Making his intentions clear, Carr told JC Sport: "After last seasons final day drama we aim to correct our mistakes by making sure promotion is wrapped up well before the end of the season! After witnessing the success of our A team, all the boys want to have something to celebrate of their own. This year are only aim is to win the title and to win it like our A team did.....with 5 games to go.
"Neasden is a club with great sprit and camaraderie. Rarely do we lose players to another club and this year is no exception."
Five new faces bolster a squad that has remained largely untouched. Ex-Lions pair Marcus Grossman and Alex Bowman along with former Oakwood player Danny Cohen, Harmen's Nick Bord, and strikers Jason Lindsey and Mark Simons, promoted from Neasden C look to have given Neasden all the ingredients for a winning formula.
It's got home banker written all over it.
JC star man: Jason Lindsay (Neasden)
DC Prediction: North West Neasden B 3 Brixton Old Boys 0
Oakwood EDRS vs Brady Maccabi
A few eyebrows could be raised once the word spreads that both myself and league chairman David Wolff have tipped last season's Division Two champions for the title this term.
But the acquisition of Adam Levine is something that will make the Oaks even better. They only lost once last season and beat London Maccabi Lions B in pre-season. Ric Blank and Jonny Beilin were wise in making their key players sign long-term contracts prior to last season. Steven Berke, Antony Kintish and Eddie Manson are just three names that grab me. The trio were shining stars in the last campaign and I expect them to take Division One by storm.
Brady also surprised the masses last season. Tipped for relegation, Lynton Stock excelled in a season where Steve Weston was arguably one of the signings of the season. The nucleus remains the same with the experience of Jason Sears and the quality of Jerome Colmans, captain Rob Klienmann, Joel Lassman and Andrew Schuster ensuring they won't be underestimated.
Jonathan Meltzer has taken over from Stock and believes that the division "will be its toughest for three seasons". The Edgware club has lost a few players but Meltzer is confident the squad will be ok. He said: "We have had a mix pre-season trying some new young influential players and trying to find the correct balance which hopefully we have achieved."
I expect Oakwood to hit the ground running and win by a couple of goals. If they are to clinch a place in the top-flight next season it's games like this they'll have to win at a canter, saving their best for the matches against the likes of Neasden and Chigwell.
JC star man: Adam Levine (Oakwood)
DC Prediction: Oakwood EDRS 2 Brady Maccabi 0
South Manx A vs Chigwell Athletic B
Under new manager Jon Nitka, I expect Manx to finish the season with the best disciplinary record. Knowing him as well as I do, and having played alongside him at Temple Fortune many moons ago, I know that the title is the only thing that interested him.
After off-loading Mickey Collins from the hotseat, Mancs approached John Smith but in the end Nitka, another ref, was given the nod. In his day, Nitka was a no-nonsense central defender. I expect his winning mentality to rub off on the team.
The Kent brothers are rarely out of the headlines or goal charts for Mancs so Chigwell must show their mettle in what is expected to be a no-holds-barred contest.
Chigwell's preparations for the campaign have not been ideal. Richard Bronzite and Danny Rosenthal will steer the ship over what could be rocky waters. But chairman Richard Slater, who also plays for the team, is looking for them to build on last season's JC Cyril Anekstein Cup final slot though their chances have been hit by the absence of top-scorer Daniel Gordon.
Manx might have the Kent brothers but they will do well to get past the presence of Paul Hizer and Jon Swead. Hizer was a commanding figure at the heart of the C team defence last season and impressed me greatly when FC Team A played them towards the end of the season.
The pair will be joined by left-back Saul Fagelson, a player that every manager would love to have in their team. He'd run through a brick wall for the team and it's that kind of attitude that will keep the East Londoners in promotion contention right to the wire.
Chigs skipper Adam Shafron will be looking to get as much of the ball as possible, allowing Slater, Doron Weinstein, Russell Yershon and Glenn Davis to do their stuff going forward.
This is definitely one match to keep your eye on this weekend. I can't see it finishing goalless or with 22 men on the pitch. And the ref will be dishing cards out like confetti.
JC star man: Paul Hizer (Chigwell)
DC Prediction: South Manx A 1 Chigwell Athletic B 1
Rapid Banta v London Maccabi Lions C
Much like their A team, Lions C have not set their sights too high this season with "establishing themselves as a Division Two team" their target for the season.
Promoted from Division Three despite finishing mid-table last term, there has been a change at the top with the dream team of Frank Steinberg and Paul Buxton having taken over from Laurence Swerner.
Ed Zneimer, the old war horse, has rejoined the club and will form a very effective partnership in central midfield with Craig Henry. I cannot see this midfield pairing coming off second best in any league game all season. Both are strong in the tackle and brave as lions (excuse the pun) and the Banta boys will have their work cut out trying to string attacks together.
Steinberg believes that Jonathan Green, Guy Marks and James Stanley are the ones to watch out for. The trio have impressed him during pre-season and have come to the attention of the club's A and B teams in the top-flight.
Steinberg is "excited about the the blend of exciting youngsters with the experience and discipline of 'older' players with our 20 goals a season man Laurence Swerner still going strong. He said: "It could be an intresting season."
Banta were glad to see the back of last season. Highlights were few and far between and everyone in the camp remembers that the school report read ‘could've done better'.
But they couldn't have wished for a harder introduction and will do well to register against a Lions team who look to be going places.
JC star man: Paul Buxton (Lions)
DC Prediction: Rapid Banta 0 London Maccabi Lions C 2
Red Sea v Southgate Harmen A
Last season was the first for about four years that I didn't tip Harmen to win the Division One title, and how glad I am about that? Extremely! That said, I didn't for one minute believe that they would get relegated.
So, in time honoured tradition, I'm tipping them for the title, albeit the second division championship. Having kept the majority of the team that Simon Lyons put together, new boss Dan Uzan knows that nothing less than a top two finish is acceptable.
With experienced keeper Andrew Okin, Jon Morris, Jonathan Hirshler and striker Alex Bourne forming the spine of the team, I can't see them failing.
Red Sea expect to be a serious Division 2 title contender and we will do so having kept all of last season's signings and strengthened the squad.
Manager Dan Wynne said: "I think the Benfredj brothers will always be involved and get noticed, while Gideon Gold will challenge Sacha for the Golden Boot. Ilan Shaki brings great strength to an already strong and attack minded back four.
"Pre-season has gone very well, fitness is very good and we have challenged ourselves playing Premiership and Division one teams.
The outcome of this game depends on who wins the contest between Shaki and Bourne. In terms of the best of the rest, Harmen know they owe their fans and Stuart Cohen big time.
Harmen A squad: Andy Okin, Tony Chadwick, Richard Segal, Dan Sato, Ian Bean, Craig Phillips, Jon Morris, James Sandler, Roi Makdasi, Paul Stein, Dan Beckwith, Jon Hirshler, James Nathan, Alex Bourne, Lloyd Becker, Ben Nassim
JC star man: Ben Nassim (Harmen)
DC Prediction: Red Sea 1 Southgate Harmen A 3
Southgate Harmen B v North West Neasden C
There were rumours of Neasden C being in dissarray over the summer but striker Simon Beresford did his best to silence them. Still, the departure of Daniel Beresford and striker Mark Simons has been talked about as much as the one of West Ham boss Alan Curbishly.
Runners-up in Division Three last season, Neasden C know that many tests lie ahead of them this season. A tricky opener against Harmen B should produce goals with Harmen new boys Ben Kent and Jeremy Teacher keen to impress.
Harmen were hit by two departures over the summer with Big James Naylor hanging up his boots and. Adam Rose, who played in nearly every game last season, leaving for pastures new.
Joint-manager Simon White said: "The team will want to improve on last years performances, but we are not setting targets for achievement, rather targets as to how we play football. We want to enjoy it, and try to play an attractive game. Whatever happens we want to play the beautiful game."
White also predicts big things from Simon Gold. "He will be plying his trade up top and he will score goals. Between us, we have scored close to 300 goals over the seasons, and there have been quite a few."
Every successful team needs a leader and Harmen have just that in Grant Taylor, whom White describes as "our terrier in midfield". He added: "If he can keep his aggression to a low simmer he will be massive for us. When he plays we all play."
Not one to mince his words, White accused keeper Elliott ‘Vern' of "lacking focus in pre-season" but believes that a combination of an experience and an abundance of goals will stand the team in good stead.
Harmen's big three - Elliot Wallis, James Lesner and Ash Burns - are still at university but will be used when available. By my calculations, Harmen will be boosted by their appearance on Sunday.
The clever money is on Harmen setting their stall with a comfortable home win.
Venue - The Mole
JC star man: Simon Gold (Harmen)
DC Prediction: Southgate Harmen B 3 North West Neasden C 1
To follow ...
DIVISION THREE (By Craig Silver)
CATFORD & BROMEY MACCABI vs FC TEAM B
The opening day match in Division Three is the first ever meeting between these two sides as newly promoted FC Team B travel to south London to take on relegated Catford and Bromley Maccabi.
This fixture is also quite unique as it will be one of the oldest teams in the MSFL taking on one of the newest. Lester Jacabs' Catford have been in the league since 1964, as for Team Mitch Young only set up the club in 2005 but it's a club that have made giant strides.
Catford have made few changes to their squad, but unfortunately missed out on signing goalkeeper Paul Leonard, labeled by Jacobs as "the Brad Friedel of Jewish football". That being said though Jacobs firmly believes his side have the quality to bounce straight back from relegation, but then again, he is an optimist!
This is another game that could swing either way, however I can see the visitors getting off to a flying start.
Ref H. Gould
JC team news: Catford's Ryan Kangisser is a doubt after picking up a knee injury during Wednesday's Maccabiah cricket trial.
JC star man: Scott Simons (Catford)
CS Prediction: CATFORD & BROMEY MACCABI 2 FC TEAM B 4
FC TEAM A v ZIG ZAG
I'm looking forward to this one and am expecting plenty of goals between two sides who love to express themselves in front of goal.
Home striker Adam Goldsmith is relishing the big kick-off. Having taken centre stage in last week's JC preview, he knows he has a big boots to fill as the new A team striker. Mike Perkin and Adam Katz will battle it out for the gloves while it will be interesting to see how the team handle the tag of being one of the bookies' favourite.
Neal Cohen's Zig Zag have earned the new reputation of being the perennial under-achievers but this season it could well be their time to shine. Cohen will be hoping that main striker Josh Flax will provide the much needed fire power up-front.
I'm also wondering how many of FC Team's Saturday team might feel like a kick about on Sunday morning. I'm sure club chairman Mitch Young will be in attendance watching in the Directors box eagerly anticipating how messus Newsome and Freed handle their first game in charge. And I think he will be rather pleased with the results.
Venue - Mill Hill Country Club, Ref - T. McEvoy
JC star man: Josh Flax (Zig Zag)
CS Prediction: FC TEAM A 3 ZIG ZAG 2
L'EQUIPE vs DYNAMO HENDON
If I'm honest, I am not too sure how these two sides will fare this season. L'Equipe are newly promoted and are in a tough division so survival will no doubt be a major objective. As for Dynamo Hendon, I think they will be looking to improve from a inconsistent campaign last year.
They go into the new season with mixed emotions. Last season they were hoping to push for promotion but with the lack of availability from some of their key players they ended up fighting the relegation battle and just got themselves out of jail in their last game of the campaign.
Manager Jeremy Brown has kept to his method and will be bringing in lots of new faces, most of which are new to the MSFL. He said: "I have always believed in bringing more youngsters and newcomers to the MSFL and getting more Jews of all ages out there, playing football with friends."
"With key experienced players like Gideon Spector and Michael Patterson still playing for Dynamo, it will be a good bunch who are capable of achievement and they will certainly be pushing for promotion again."
Having won 11 out of 12 last season, L'Equipe hope to continue where they left off. Player-manager Oliver Manson says: "Our aim is to win promotion, and if the Minor Cup happens again then we want to go at least one stage further this year after our semi-final heartache last time out.
Manson believes that a great team spirit is the reason why no players have left. Nick Stern has joined from Brady Maccabi. Paul Rubinstein, injured for most of last season, "will be like a new signing," said Manson.
The gaffer believes his team "will be the ones to watch. If we reach the levels of late last season from the offset we could have a very good campaign.
"We don't have any stand-out players, but Jason Miller was hitting nearly a hat-trick a game on average at the end of last season so hopefully he can start the season well and then we might see him lead the goal charts come May.
Venue - Hatch End Playing Fields, Ref - J. Solomon
JC Star Man : Gideon Spector (Dynamo Hendon)
CS Prediction: L'EQUIPE 2 DYNAMO HENDON 2
MONTANA BOCA UNITED B vs SOUTH MANX B
This is another game I am looking forward to with two teams who have made big improvements to their squads.
But most importantly I am interested in seeing if the ‘Schnitzelman' Richard Fogelman can carry over the form from last season which saw rifle home 36 goals in all competitions last year and finish with the golden boot.
Manx have targeted back-to-back promotions. Evergreen player-manager Simon Davidson, who led the team to the Division Five title last term, claims that "another winners' medal may be asking just too much with the new make up of the divisions.
"If it wasn't for our new signings all being at university we would walk this division but unfortunately they can't play most weeks so it is hard to predict what this season will bring."
Montana boss Bobby Major welcomes new assistant Daniel Beresford to the backroom staff and they have made some tasty additions to the squad set up and the squad. Speaking of Beresford, Major said: "His positive attitude and winning mentality is already rubbing on to the players."
Warren Averbuch, Blake Buckman and Josh Mizrahi have joined during the summer with Major confident that the new additions will "add strength at the back and pace and flair in both midfield and up front. Additionally, we are currently trying to tie up a couple more signings that should be concluded in approximately a week's time."
Jeff Gotch will continue as captain. Major said: "Under his leadership the players are hungry and are aiming for great things this season and I believe promotion is there for the taking. I would like to wish all the teams in the divison good luck for the season but we fear no one."
With the neutral eye I can see this being a very entertaining game.
Venue - South Oxhey, Ref L. Thorne
JC star man: Lee Duskwick (Montana)
CS Prediction: MONTANA BOCA UNITED B 1 SOUTH MANX B 2
PURE ORANGE FUNCTION BAND vs AC CRICKLEWOOD
I think this is a match where we will see two MSFL teams who can both show plenty of fight, determination and grit. As a result it will be an entertaining match-up as the battle of the new managers see Maurice Martin's Tangerines take on the new management at the experienced Cricklewood at Chase Lodge.
Cricklewood have had a summer of change as Elliot Chalmers took over from Rob Wilson. The team were dealt an early season blow when striker Richard Davis tore his cartilage. The performances of Mark Wagman, James Temple and Nigel Goldthorpe will be key.
As for Pure Orange, I observed them recently in a pre-season friendly and it was clear they were a squad who have got plenty of big ambitions. Passing the ball around with a lot more confidence then previous seasons and also showing a huge aerial threat in front of goal. Whether they can implement these kind of performances in the MSFL - will find out Sunday.
A tough pre-season against higher league opposition included matches against Rapid Banta and Chigwell B and ended with a strong 4-1 win over new boys Glenthorne B. John brothers Gabriel and Reuben have both signed long-term contracts together with stalwarts Mark Radzan and Adam 'Rhino' Diamant.
Temple clash against Diamant could shake the pitch. Two big-hearted players hate coming off second best and the tussle will be worth the admission fee alone.
I think the Tangerines will make a good start, and think this could well be a season for them to make an impact.
Lee Greenfield to have a goal disallowed - 8-11
Natie Grossnass to score first - 5-1
Gabriel John to score a hat-trick of pens - 150-1
Mark Radzan to have a shave pre-game - 250-1
Scott ‘Mido' Jay not to find the pitch - 10-1
Michael Lax to grab an assist - 11-4
Pure Orange to keep a clean sheet - 25-1
Pure Orange to score 3 or more goals - 28-1
Venue - Chase Lodge, Ref - J. Smith
JC star man: Scott Jaye (POFB)
CS Prediction: PURE ORANGE FUNCTION BAND 3 AC CRICKLEWOOD 1
DIVISION FOUR (By Craig Silver)
EAST LONDON KNIGHTS vs FC MARYLEBONE
It's a big welcome to the JC MSFL to the new East London Knights as they start their campaign with a tricky home tie with all French squad FC Marylebone.
Jon Davody's Marylebone were unlucky not to grab promotion in their first season in the MSFL, unfortunately for them though they just didn't have enough energy in the tank to stop L'Equipe and South Mancs B going ahead of them. That is something they will look to improve on and they will also look to work on their vulnerability to concede late goals.
They have appointed a new captain in experienced striker Mikael Benguigui who I played against in a pre-season friendly, from that impression I expect Benguigui to be a regular scorer this season. He also is very technically gifted with the ball and is someone the Knights will need to lookout for.
Onto the Knights, set up by former Chigwell and FC Team's James Ryan. The striker has been in top form in pre-season and signed a number of players from Chigwell Athletic. Mike Konzon and Zach Forrest join from the East London club while Michael Marks has followed Ryan from FC Team.
They will be a tough opposition for any side and if Ryan has the same mentality as his mentor Mitch Young at FC Team they will certainly be a force to be reckoned with.
JC team news: Chris Bell (groin) and Darryl Rozelaar (knee) are both out for the next few weeks. Goalkeeper Jon Labi is a major doubt after picking up an ankle injury in the team's final pre-season friendly.
There will also be a late fitness test for Marc Pollack and captain Justin Bell who both picked up knocks in the same game.
Simon Marks is away on international duty and Josh Danan will face a jet lagged test as he returns from Leeds on Sunday morning. Apart from that the rest of the squad are fit and looking forward to Sunday.
Venue - Wanstead Flat PF, Ref - A. Yuchetel
JC star man: Mikael Benguigui (FC Marylebone)
CS Prediction: EAST LONDON KNIGHTS 3 FC MARYLEBONE 2
WOODFORD WANDERERS vs PINNER JFC
Woodford are another new team in the division this year but are a side I know very well and already I can see with the squad they have being a big threat not only in the division, but quite possibly in the cups as well.
In their AJY days as Leytonstone Victoria and Athletico Woodford. Former Chigwell Athletic player Alex Aviram has brought back together a squad that he believes will take the JC MSFL by storm.
However, that will be put to the test starting on Sunday and I will be interested to see how the boys perform after three years of drunken nights at university! They're certainly not as fit as they were but their footballing brains remain strong.
Familiar names include Jerome Marks from Glenthorne United A, Andy Levy, Elliott Gold, Daryl Green, Darren Ezkiel and goalkeeper Daryl Kay from Chigwell.
If I was Pinner, I would take note and look into how they could stop these Essex boys from going goal crazy on Sunday.
Pinner are a team with a lot to prove this year. Last season I think we can say was a learning curve for the youngsters who suffered a nightmare start. And to be honest I can't see it getting any easier for them on Sunday.
Venue - Redbridge Sports Centre, Ref - R. Caplin
JC Star Man: Andy Levy (Woodford)
CS Prediction: WOODFORD WANDERERS 4 PINNER JFC 0
UJIA vs REAL LIFE
The Division Four opening day fixture list is completed with UJIA entertaining newcomers Real Life at the Gibbons Recreational Ground. It should be an exciting match with goals a plenty, I'm sure the two sides will hope the pitch at the Gibbons would have held up nicely in the summer rainy months.
Real Life are a team I haven't heard much about but have shown in pre-season that they are a team that can play and may well be a threat to their fellow rivals in the division. They gave division three's Zig Zag in a friendly as they went 2-0 in the first half however, they were eventually beaten 4-3 by Neal Cohen's men.
Manager Andy Wisnia is confident his side could make a big impact on Sunday: "We have plenty of natural footballers and a very strong centre midfield. However, winning at this level is really about good organisation.
"We now have several 'captains' in key positions that are not just good on the ball, but are used to organising on the pitch as well. Nick Stone joined part-way through last season from Division Two and was a sensation at centre half. Also, if we can keep him fit, watch out for Andy White up front."
Having been relegated on the last game of last season, UJIA learnt that they must kill off games in order to succeed. They are looking to bounce back with a vengeance. New player-manager Darren Rolfe is determined to win some silverware and his 20-man is fronted by striker Gil Jennings. Ben Rosenheim, Nick Simmons, and captain Matt Radstone have given the team a real buzz. The old heads like Paul Rodin, Simon Stebbing and Olly Olsen will nurture our youngsters with discipline and guile.
I am not quite sure which way this one so will go with the points will be shared come 12.15.
Venue - Gibbons Rec, Ref S. Ansher
JC star man: Gil Jennings (UJIA)
CS Prediction: UJIA 2 REAL LIFE 2
(Additional reporting by Craig Silver)