Israel's Night Cricket League witnessed a first in Modi'in when newcomers Dialogz Dragons and Super Lions Lod were involved in a thrilling tie.
Earlier in the evening, Dialogz Dragons (121) convincingly beat Modi'in Young Lions (57) to set up a match against the unbeaten Super Lions Lod team, who had just lifted the Dudi Silbowitz trophy, for winning the Israel Cricket Association's Day League.
No fewer than nine past and present Israel Cricket internationals were playing in a match that ebbed and flowed, producing high quality and played in fantastic spirit by both sets of players.
Dialogz Dragons batted first and after a sensational opening partnership of 42 between Amir Mizroch and Matt Hoffman, the remaining Dialogz batsmen found the going very tough against a well disciplined Super Lions Lod bowling attack which was well lead by Anim Solomon and Isaac Massil who picked up two wickets apiece.
The Dialogz Dragons total of 81 was always going to be a difficult score to defend against the powerful SLL batting line up and with the first four overs producing 29 runs with the loss of no wickets, Dialogz needed some inspiration from Simon Minitzer, Brett Hickson and Amir Mizroch who picked up four wickets between them in the space of four overs to wrestle back the initiative from SLL.
Needing 47 runs from the final eight overs and with the experienced and talented batting line up of Eshkol Solomon, Anim Solomon, Shailesh Bangera and Yefet Nagavkar, Super Lions Lod would have fancied their chances, especially when Eshkol and Anim Solomon raised 28 runs in four overs between them leaving Nagavkar and Bangera to score the remaining 19 runs off the final four overs.
This left them needing four runs for victory in the final over, former Israel under-15 player, Micha Schachat produced a stunning run out while bowler Herschel Gutman claimed the wicket of Bangera leaving the match almost over as SLL needed nine runs off the final delivery. Inexplicably, Gutman bowled the worst ball of the evening, a waist high full toss, which was called a no-ball, resulting in SLL gaining two runs for the no-ball, three runs for Bangera's shot and Gutman having to bowl an extra ball. This time with SLL needing four runs for victory off the final delivery, which they managed to score three of them, leaving the scores level.
Dialogz Dragons (9) eventually won the match in the Super 4Overs, beating SLL (-15). The win puts Dialogz Dragons in second place while Super Lions Lod dropped to fifth.
Elsewhere, the local derby between YMCA and YMCB was a thoroughly enjoyable contest with the Yagod Morris Cricket “A’s” producing a thoroughly professional performance by thumping the Yagod Morris Cricket “B’s” by 123 runs to 54.
Debutant, Saul Weizmann, turning out for the YMCB's, produced a breathtaking fielding and bowling performance which should see him promoted to the 'A's very shortly.
YMCA captain Brett Hickson said: "The YMCB’s fielded heroically with some amazing run outs, superb ground fielding, holding on to most of the catches that came their way, while bowling admirably. They were certainly edging us in the light banter department during the initial stages of the match.
"Towards the middle of our innings I felt the momentum swung in our favour due to great batting by Paul Kloot, Benjy and Aryeh Meyers which enabled us to reach our target of 100 to 120 runs. This was followed up by clinical fielding and bowling by the YMCA’s.
"I must say how proud I am of the lads who seem to improve with each game played. For a lot of the lads this is their first season in the Night League after a layoff from cricket since our university years."
The YMCB's started their batting on the back foot by losing some early wickets and slow scoring. The game was effectively a non-contest after 12 overs with the score a lowly 16 runs.
Joe Neppe, captain of the YMCB's added: "Before the game I was given a great honour by being named captain for the night. I have to admit that I harboured stirring fantasies of a stunning victory. But, alas, it was not to be. Although our bowling and fielding were superb we let ourselves down a bit with the bat. Although there were gritty individual batting displays from half of our batsmen - including the 12-year-old Yair Nagavkar - the rest of us capitulated to the tight and accurate bowling of the well-oiled machine which constitutes the A Team.
"However, there was an added dimension which I have to say that I found emotionally uplifting. I was at the helm of a group of people here in Eretz Yisrael playing cricket against like-minded companions in a brand new city located in the heart of a country which takes centre stage when it comes to being vilified and condemned by so much of the world at large.
"Here we were, Brits, Australians, South Africans, Indians, Israelis, unified in harmony portraying a competitive spirit, each and every player imbued with a "derech eretz" and gracious manner. I truly believe that all connected to the Night Cricket League contribute to the well being and actual betterment of the land in which we all chose to live for whatever individual reason."
There are some exciting fixtures this week with an all Bet Shemesh derby between league leaders Gold Insurance Bet Shemesh Lightning and KAT Israemploy Tigers, which will no doubt be fiercely contested. KAT will play a second match, lining up against Super Lions Lod who would want to put the loss to Dialogz Dragons behind them. In the final game of the week, Pearl Dental will give Bet Shemesh Royals no favours as they look to continue their winning ways after their opening match loss.