Jewish cricket season preview
Comeback king: After a spell at Belmont & Edgware, Saul Weitzman made an instant impact upon his return to London Maccabi Vale
London Maccabi Vale have won the first silverware of the season after retaining the Maccabi Indoor six-a-side Trophy in Canary Wharf.
Led by Team GB star Saul Weitzman, LMV won all four matches in the round robin tournament.
The outdoor cricket season starts in earnest on Sunday. Ahead of their CCC trip to Beaconsfield on May 2, LMV have secured a sponsorship deal with Bank Hapoalim Private Banking worth £2,000 for the current year.
1st XI captain Adam Brand will be looking to steer the Rowley Lane team back to the top tier of the Middlesex Sunday League.
In his 40th year with the club, chairman Terry Hyman believes that they are entering "an unprecedented era, with our incomparable colts set-up starting to bear fruit and provide a substantial contribution to both our senior teams". The club runs three colts team from Under 11 to 15 with weekly coaching sessions held at their Rowley Lane home.
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MAL have become the latest Jewish team to enter the Middlesex Sunday League fold. Having dominated the Maccabi League scene over the past couple of seasons, Gabriel Lebens' troops hope to establish themselves in Division Three. Based in Mill Hill, they hope to also hope to defend the Maccabi T20 title, and mount a tilt at the Maccabi GB National Knockout Cup.
The bowling attack looks strong, with vice-captain Marc Landau sharing the new ball with Yoav Lebens. Brothers Josh and Jon Begner return to the fray while left-armer Grant Traub and Avi Gelley make up the spin attack.
With the bat, Gideon Caller should be able to score heavily following his Maccabiah experience. Pinty Baddiel will look to anchor the middle order with Traub, Elliot Unsdorfer, Matt Plax, Gav Lebens capable of clearing the ropes.
MAL also hope to get the best out of experienced all-rounders Charlie Sherrard and Tony Wise.
Landau said: "A successful pre-season has seen a few new faces, as well as some old faces returning. Hopefully this will lead to some good competition for places. We will be pushing ourselves in the competitive games."
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Five teams will contest the Northern Jewish Cricket League. Manchester Maccabi, Bury and Whitefield, Salford and Leeds will be looking to push favourites South Manchester all the way.
The 35-over-a-side format will be played at two grounds - Scholes Field and St Paul's. There will be T20 Cup and a Super Sixes fun day. South, Bury and Maccabi will also contest the Maccabi GB Cricket National Knockout Cup while the NJCL will play five representative matches against sides from the Greater Manchester Amateur cricket league.
On Sunday, champions South Manchester take on Bury. Unbeaten in the league in two years, South once again look a formidable side with Akiva Lieberman spearheading their quest for a hat-trick of titles.
Captain by Richard Blackston, Bury and Whitefield go into the season mourning the loss of opening batsmen David First. He recently passed after a short illness aged 53. Blackston described him as "a stalwart of Jewish cricket".
Having lost a several players to South Manchester, Blackston said: "We hope we can mount some sort of challenge."
The other match sees Manchester Maccabi take on Leeds at St Paul's. Maccabi hope their blend of youthful energy and experience can push favourites South Manchester all the way.
Leeds Maccabi have relocated home games to Manchester after losing their ground at New Rover. The capture of outgoing chairman Jonny Wineberg should strengthen their team.
Salford, who have gained a lot of players from the merger with Sedgley Park and should be a strong outfit, have no game this week.
Predicting a tough season ahead, Manchester Maccabi skipper Ray Tammam hopes to see some of the club's leading youngsters step up to the plate. With Dan Rose his vice-captain, Tammam hopes that the likes of Jake Woolfstein, Josh Davies, Dean Clyne and Ashley Landes will fill the void left by retired all-rounder Anthony Gellman. They will also have to do without promising Maccabiah bowler Steven Allweis, who will miss a chunk of the season due to A-level commitments.
Maccabi will be defending the 40-over and T20 cups. They will also be looking to go one better in the league, having finished runners-up in 2009.
Big things are also expected from Adam Goldstone and Andrew Williams, along with veterans Simon Jeffries, a rep team representative, Nigel Woolfstein and Tammam as the team looks to provide tough competition for perennial champions South Manchester.
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