One last score to settle

By Danny Caro, May 30, 2014

We’ve known for some time now that Hendon United are the best Jewish men’s team in London, although Norstar London Raiders and Oakwood pushed them close.

No doubt, there will be plenty more l’chaims at Raleigh Close as the Hendon players toast their treble success, and boy do they deserve it.

David Garbacz’s ‘invincibles’ completed their run-in like a team possessed. Following their double cup success, their route to the title was something of a procession in the end.

But spare a thought for Raiders. "Three points behind the ‘greatest Jewish team ever’ isn’t too bad in our first season." Those were the words of NLR boss Phil Peters after his team had the carpet pulled from under their feet, at the 11th hour.

Top of the league only matters in May, but like Hendon, and Oakwood for that matter, the season has been a big success for all at Brunel.

Indeed NLR win my vote for club of the year, with their respective B and C teams crowned champions, as well as victory at the Maccabi 5’s and in the MGBSFL-MMFL Invitational Cup. Added to that, North London Raiders claimed the Maccabi Masters title for the first time.

So with league titles done and dusted, attention now turns to the individual prizes. I’d be genuinely surprised if one of Ari Last or Greg Corin don’t win the major accolade at the MGBSFL awards next month.

Last has taken his game to another level since the departure of Josh Lipman. His manager, David Garbacz, described the midfield general as "truly inspirational" and he stuck away his penalty in the recent Cyril Anekstein Cup final like a true champion.

Pipped to the post by Lipman two seasons ago, Corin has been on top form for the last nine months. There is no better left foot in Jewish football and he has supplied a ridiculous number of assists in his team’s pursuit of Maccabi football domination.

For me, the Young Player award will go to one of Yoav Kestenbaum of Hendon or NLR stopper Jake Doffman – one of the big reasons why L’Orange were so close to silverware. It’s such a shame that injury has ruled him out of the forthcoming European Maccabi Football Trophy, but I’m sure his time will come again. Kestenbaum has earned rave reviews from his boss throughout the season, while the precocious talents of Avi Korman Ari Nevies and Yehuda Korman cannot be ignored.

* Having taken Chelsea to a Champions League final, Avram Grant would be a fool to ignore the vacancy at Maccabi Tel Aviv after Paulo Sousa left the Israeli champions for Basle. It’s got his name written all over it.

Last updated: 11:50am, May 30 2014