Maccabi League leaders go head-to-head
North West London bragging rights will be up for grabs at Hadley FC on Sunday as two of the most successful Maccabi League teams of the noughties go head to head in Arkley.
The first JC Cyril Anekstein Cup semi-final of the season features a clash of the titans as treble-chasing rivals North West Neasden A and London Maccabi Lions A clash at Hadley FC.
By some bizarre coincidence, it will be the first meeting between the two MSFL giants this season as they have so far avoided one another in the Premier Division, where the Lions hold a nine-point advantage, having played three games more.
On paper, there is little to separate the sides between whom there is no love lost. It will be interesting to see if London Lions manager Tony Gold, releases his Neasden players for the tie with Lee Cash, Jonny Ellis, Daniel Cole and Daniel Stanton in top form for the Rowley Lane club in the HSCL.
Both teams warmed up for the match in style with Neasden, minus joint-manager Jamie and Daniel Cole, who were in Israel for Pesach, making light work of a potentially tricky tie against South Manchester Maccabi 1st, for whom talisman Mike Filson was also in the Promised Land.
The Lions had some shooting practice and did not disappoint after smashing 10 against a depleted Camden Park.
They will look to Mike Pearson, David Dinkin and Joel Ross to maintain their excellent goal-scoring form. For Neasden, Ben Ellis and James Gershfield have scored some important goals in recent weeks.
There are also some mouth-watering clashes in store in the league. Division One favourites North West Neasden B will be in for a tough time against promotion rivals Southgate Harmen A. Jonathan Hirshler, the Southgate skipper, missed last week's defeat against leaders North London Raiders A due to an ill-timed family excursion to Centreparcs. Harmen boss Daniel Uzan hopes his talisman returns in time to deliver some killer set-pieces.
Alex Aviram, manager of Division Three table-toppers Woodford Wanderers, will be looking for some bouncebackability when they entertain title rivals UJS Norstar A.
Zig Zag manager Neal Cohen wins my award for quote of the week. After masterminding a sensational second half comeback, after his team trailed 4-0 at the break, he said: "UJS Norstar A are the poorest second half team I've played against in eight years!"
Faithfold hotshot Daryl Phillips was a happy man after the Superhoops overcame all the odds to beat Liverpool Haroldeans in the Peter Morrison Trophy. "All the elements were against us from the pitch to a strong wind, the clocks going fowards, no warm-up after arriving late due to all the roads shut due to the Liverpool marathon that we obviously didn't know about. We were forced to start without a limbering up and with one of our players in the toilet.
"It was a real team effort where I felt a special bond was created amongst the boys, not just in the game but over the whole weekend, and I would like to thank two lovely Scouse girls we met the night before who got us through this game. Thanks ladies!"