China not as fine as memories of the Coe-Ovett rivalry

By Danny Caro, August 8, 2008

The Beijing Olympics gets under way today but being brutally honest, they don't do as much for me as they did when I was a kid. I grew up on a diet of Sebastian Coe and Steve Ovett having a broiges with Steve Cram coming in as the new kid on the block. That's not forgetting my childhood hero Daley Thompson, the original superman.

But with no Jo Ankier in the Great Britain delegation and a seven-hour time difference in the Far East, I might not give the event too many viewing minutes, instead keeping an eye on the transfer market and to find out what new signings Liverpool might be making. But unlike my mate Richard Reggel, I wouldn't go as far as calling it a poor man's Maccabiah Games.

I will return to my former Lymington Road stamping ground on Sunday when London Maccabi Vale take on Hampstead. I represented for the Middlesex County League Premier Division club for 17 years, starting as an Under 11 Colt and worked my way into the first team. I have some wonderful memories of my time there and hope the team goes a little easier on me than they did a couple of years ago when, playing for Casual Nomads, I was dismissed for a duck.

Times have certainly changed since I left, with the team captained by former Middlesex all-rounder Paul Weekes. The only English cricketer to have scored more than 150 runs in both innings of a first class game, Weekes is also Hampstead's director of cricket and head coach.

The culture of the club has taken a turn for the worse with a little bird telling me that several Saturday players get paid and the top batsmen earn £2 for every run scored. Having averaged more than 50 for the club for my final few seasons, it appears that I probably retired too early.

JC MSFL champions North West Neasden A were given a scare in their latest pre-season friendly against Division One new boys South Mancs A. They came from a goal down to win 5-3 courtesy of strikes from Benji Dymant (2), Daniel Cole, Lee Bibring and Matt Sofier. Manager Jamie Cole commented: "It was not a great performance but credit to South Mancs who have a great squad. We look forward to maybe meeting them in the cup. Zig Zag boss DJ Neal Cohen recently became engaged to his sweetheart Shelley. The die-hard Spurs fan has warned that despite Shelley and her family being big Arsenal fans, any children the pair might have will definitely be Tottenham fans. Cohen has also been busy strengthening his squad. He has re-signed Dave Widra and snapped up Nick Levy from London Maccabi Lions plus Brett Levene and Paul Shenkin.

Last season's golden boot winner Richard Fogelman, aka Schnitzelman, maintained his free-scoring ways with a four-goal salvo against new Division Five outfit East London Knights. He turned up for the match without his boots and borrowed a pair from ELK player-manager James Ryan. After the match, Ryan said: "I should've let him play in his socks."

Maccabi has resurrected its tenpin bowling league from September 2. They are looking for novice and regular bowlers to join. Anyone who is interested should email me or go to for further details.

Last updated: 6:42pm, September 9 2008