Israeli Night League finals preview
It has been eight months of fascinating Night Cricket in Israel. With 12 teams and 77 games, the league has reached the finals stage and are about to find out which team will walk away with the Division One and Division Two Championship.
On May 29, Pearl Dental Cricket Club, who have won three trophies, will look to add to that feat as they take on the leagues newcomers, Kiddush Club Jerusalem in a game that promises to be a fiercely contested affair and one that will no doubt be settled in the last few overs of the match.
KCJ captain Jason Bloom is looking forward to the challenge of coming up against his ex-teammates, whom he helped win gold with last season. He told JC Sport: "It has been a fantastic season for us and we are thrilled to have made it to the finals.
"We've played well as a team throughout the season and have enjoyed our time on the Israel Night League cricket court. We feel we are well prepared for the finals and excited to take on our rivals again, although we are not expecting an easy game and of course will need to stay focused to achieve gold.
Pearl Dental skipper Iain Levy is eagerly looking forward to the final. Having participated in the last three finals, he said that he is "confident that our big game experience will come through. We have been able to keep the nucleus of our team together throughout these years and whilst we lost to Kiddush Club in the regular season, we have proven before that when when it comes to the business end of the season, our guys have stood up."
He added that after so many years of having a great rivalry with Pommeranz, the addition of the KCJ has added an even bigger rivalry to the league. "With the core of the Kiddush Club team being made up of players who left Pearl Dental because they weren't able to get enough playing time, the familiarity and closeness of the two teams adds a real sense of rivalry to this final."
There are potential match-winners littered all over both teams, including Israeli International Gerrit Grundling, who is welcomed back into the side after missing the last few matches due to a back strain, while Rafi Karp is in excellent form after his five-wicket haul in the semi-finals, which included a hat-trick.
Danny Brill’s tricky leg-spin can also cause the KCJ batters some problems. The experienced trio of David Wiseman, skipper Levy and his brother Craig will know what to expect from the final and the rest of the squad, David Kable, Benz Hain, Yoni Salomon, Josh Cohen, Daniel Hyman and Tony Harris will all be waiting eagerly for the call-up into the starting eight.
For KCJ, they will be relying heavily on the South African born, Olwyn brothers, Aryeh and Rael, to rack up the runs while they possess the quickest bowler in the final, left arm, Australian-born Aryeh Gluck, who has the ability to knock batsmen over. Skipper, Bloom will have a tough call to make on the final eight, as David Lashansky, Ilan Buchbinder, Dave Lawrence, Michael Stern and David Lewin are all worthy inclusions into the starting eight.
In the Division Two final, which will start at 7:15pm, sees Bet Shemesh Royals line-up in their first-ever final – after a much improved season. The opponents will be Pommeranz Juice Good Old Boys, whom they lost to by one run, off the very last ball of the match during the round-robin.
The court will be open from 5pm, with the Division Two final due to take place at 7:15pm and the Division One final at 8:45pm. Spectators are urged to get their early as seats are first come first served. Refreshments will be available.