MSFL preview: Premier Division
Neasden and Lions look strong again
Exciting times lie in store for a rejuvenated South Manx, whose pacy players will be looking to get them off to a flyer. They almost folded last year but player-manager Craig Edwards rescued them and now he is promising to lead them to bigger and better things.
Dominic Cheniart is a player who would walk into any Premier Division team. Edwards predicts that he "will take the league by storm".
The talented Ben Lampert, Mark Harris, Josh Greenham, Shim Ben Sour, Edward Alexson and Ben Zloof have also come in. Ben Levy and Shaun Simmons have left the club.
Edwards, who will form a formidable partnership at the back alongside Adam Littas, has managed to keep hold of star man Paul Babai, a player who impressed for the MSFL Rep Team last season. Edwards said: "He is our rock. We've had virtually every club offering him huge wages and he has turned them all down. That shows how committed he is to the Manxs."
With Cheniart, Lampert, Babai, Shai Davidi, Jamie Kent, Johnny Haik and Rob Hershkorn key to his plans, Edwards said: "We hope to be up there fighting for the title now we have strengthened. We also expect a good cup run. Either way, we are confident we will get our first piece of silverware this year. I believe that the usual suspects will be up there but we feel we are ready after a year's experience to deal with anyone."
Faithfold A showed great promise last season and are something of a dark horse. The loss of Paul Lenchner and Richard Baum to rivals Neasden has been softened by the addition of Alex Kaye, last season's JC MJSL Player of the Year. Kaye was at the centre of a tug-of-war between North London Raiders A and Faithfold but chose the Hoops as he believes that they have a better chance of winning something this season. London Maccabi Lions starlet Ben Joseph was another target. The return of keeper Ben Law from a shoulder injury comes as a further boost.
The emergence of James Frenner and Joe Cohen helped the club enjoy a spell at the top of the table last term and with the quality of Alex Taylor, Alex Levack and David Lederman, you rule them out at your peril.
Manager Zuriel Solomon is targeting "the league title, two cups and a good run in the non-Jewish cups. Our unity and club mentality are our strengths".
Star man: Dominic Cheniart
It is hard to look past defending champions North West Neasden A. Having clinched a hat-trick of league and cup doubles, manager Jamie Cole is keen "to remain unbeaten in the league".
An extended run in the non-Jewish cups is another priority for the team that has signed Lee Platt, Richard Baum, Paul Lenchner, George Fierstone, Elliot Greene, Rob Lerner. Scott Shindler and Adam Levene have moved on.
Cole has been delighted with the pre-season form of Fierstone, Platt and Kyle Bentwood.
First team coach Darren Yarlett said: "We had a list of six targets and managed to get four of them so we are happy. What has been most pleasing to see is the quality of the B team who have joined in our games during pre-season. If we can use those guys then great but they also have a big season ahead. This season you look around the squad and it's probably as strong as two to three years ago which is very good for us."
New boys North West Neasden B are aiming for a mid-table finish. Managed by Sammy Carr and Ryan Glynne, they have also entered the London FA Sunday Intermediate Cup. Glynne said: "We've had a good pre-season and expect to do well. The pressure will be high every game but we will try to keep the performances up."
They have drafted in Zack White and Adam Harvey while the rest of the squad remains intact.
Striker Ryan Sher is set to miss the first couple of months following an ankle operation.
Asked for a favourite, Glynne said: "Lions A and Hendon are the two we fear."
Hendon United Sports Club A are preparing for another assault on MSFL silverware. It will be something of a family affair for manager David Garbacz who will have five sets of brothers at his disposal. Big things are expected from Ari, Avidan and Ari Last, Josh and Paul Bentleys, Motty and Dovid Korman, Rafi and Ben Kon plus Greg and Russell Corin.
Garbacz said: "There have been changes within the club with the B team folding. Consequently we have signed their strongest players plus a couple more besides. We have signed Rafi and Ben Kon, John Toby and Martin Smulovitch plus a new keeper in Russell Corin and are looking seriously at a new forward, although are yet to complete the signing." Yoni Ben Ari and Ilan Scorah have been released.
Garbacz believes that the Neasden A, Lions A and Hendon will contest the title. He predicts big things from Greg Corin, Yishai Last, the Kon brothers and Dovid Korman.
"Last year, we missed out on the title by a single point and were runners-up in one cup and semi-finalists in another without ever really reaching top heights. This year we have strengthened and there is a lot of competition for places and although the league is our priority we will be taking all competitions very seriously. There is a strong determination and belief within the squad that this could and should be our year."
London Maccabi Lions A will be looking for more of the same from veterans Pete Lazard and Aviel Schwarz. The team featured last season's Player and Young Player of the Season and manager Eilon Kennet is keen to bring through some members of the club's thriving academy at Rowley Lane.
Daniel Levy has taken over at London Maccabi Lions B. He is confident that several of last year's Under 18 team will shine. Levy said: "We're expecting a very competitive season. The A team are much stronger which will make the Bs, and subsequently the Cs, stronger too. The club has three teams in the top two divisions which is a great achievement.
"Last year was disappointing and was a reflection on us having nothing to play for before the turn of the year. I foresee us consolidating and steering well clear of the relegation battle this season."
North London Raiders A, last season's Division One champions, have kept their squad intact and made a notable addition in the shape of Team GB and Rep Team keeper Danny Berliner from Hendon A. With midfielder Adam Jocelyn and winger Jamie Wolfson returning from their travels, the team is looking to do much more than just make up the numbers.
Sam McCarthy senior, the father of utility player Sam McCarthy has taken over the reins at Redbridge Jewish Care A following the departure of Greg Bookman. Having lost a number of players to Chigwell Athletic, the team has plenty to do if they are to end their long wait for silverware. But it is clear that they have an abundance of quality and strength in depth. Three quality keepers - Daniel Lee, Jay Jaffa and Ben Rosenthal - will battle it out for a place between the sticks while Adam Hakimi, Brad Frankel and Joel Berg have a vast amount of experience. Brothers Daniel and Jamie Cooper will pose a major threat at set-pieces while Mitch Lassman, Adam Stolerman, Lewis Walker, Daran Bern and Ben Sollosi will be on the goal trail.
Southgate Harmen A have signed several new players including Toby Lustigman from Montana. Alex Norman is also rumoured to be joining. Manager Dan Uzan said: "We will prove to the rest of that we are worth our place. We will go out to win the title."