Early signs look good for Israel
I managed to stream the entire 90 minutes of Israel's 2012 qualifying match against Malta, on Iraq Goals of all places. The irony of it. My first impressions of the team under Luis Fernandez team were positive, even if it was against limited opposition.
Under Dror Kashtan, the former incumbent, I'd been left frustrated by his negative tactics with the team never fulfilling its potential, especially when drawn in a weak group. This was just the kind of game that Israel would have made hard work of under him, perhaps nicking a late goal at the death to save their blushes.
But not so under Fernandez, who stood in his technical area throughout, ushering his troops forward until the end. Prior to Tuesday's match against Georgia, the early signs were encouraging. The main thing holding them back now appears to be a top-class striker, although Etay Schechter looked the business against Red Bull Salzburg in the recent Champions League qualifier.
● I got a glimpse of the new Faithfold on Sunday. The club's A and C teams played at The Hive and now I can understand why the first team have kept their new signings under wraps. Josh Gordon and Lorian Madanes have joined Alex Kaye in a new-look team and they looked the business against Hendon United Sports Club A. The club's B team also recorded a victory but Daryl Phillips, the A team assistant-manager who scored a hat-trick, is trying to everyone's feet on the ground. "It was a good start to the campaign, but very early days so there's nothing to get excited about yet."
The JC MSFL fixture list has been unkind to Superhoops who face trips to title rivals London Maccabi Lions A and defending champions North West Neasden A in the next fortnight.
I will be making my Premier Division managerial debut at the same time when, together with Adam Fegan, we send North London Raiders A into battle against Hendon in Uxbridge. We couldn't have asked for a tougher start but I can't wait.
● There is also a top game in store in the JC MJSL where defending champions Haroldeans tackle title hopefuls Republic of Mancunia. The teams were involved in an epic battle back in April. Paul Basger put Republic ahead but goals from Anthony Beilin and Johnny Abrams saw the Liverpudlians leapfrog the long-time leaders after a 2-1 win. Thumped 6-0 by South Manchester Sports Club 2nd a fortnight ago, it's a game that the Republic boys can ill-afford to lose, even at this early stage.
● Tennis veteran Lennie Lawrence, 81, won the South of England Tennis Championships at Devonshire Park in Eastbourne. Seeded 23, he beat top seed Paul Drane 6-2, 6-7, 7-6. Lawrence of Aldenham is a former winner of the Wimbledon Veterans title. He has been selected to represent Great Britain at the World Championships in Turkey in October. He is the President of Chandos Tennis Club. Vic Israel, a former Chandos member, won the 75 and over men's doubles, together with Mike Cottee.
Wishing you all a happy new year.
See Danny Caro's weekend round-up at thejc.com. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and/or follow Danny on Twitter:@dcaro