Salford and South Manchester reach NJCL T20 final
Salford will play South Manchester in the NJCL Twenty:20 9-a-side finals after the teams came through their semi-finals in contrasting fashion.
Salford were given an almighty scare by a young Maccabi Lions side, fielding seven players under 16.
Salford's decision to bat first seemed vindicated as Zevi Saunders and Elliot Koffman scored rapidly, putting on a 50-partnership at over seven-an-over. The partnership was broken when Lawrence Benjamin bowled Saunders in the ninth over to bring Salford captain, Jonny Wineberg, to the crease.
Wineburg and Koffman continued to build the score, although Koffman started to get bogged down as he looked to reach his 30 for retirement. A big six, his third of the innings, soon saw him retire and Wineberg followed in similar fashion soon after, his 30 coming off just 21 deliveries.
Michael Pine and Harvey Barrett continued Salford's momentum until Pine was run out on 12 in the 17th over.
With Salford looking to accelerate in the last three overs, some superbly accurate bowling from Alex Benjamin, ably supported by Yonny Morrison and Jamie Benjamin, saw Lions take six further wickets.
As the wickets fell, Salford's retirees returned to bat. But Koffman was bowled by Alex Benjamin for 34 and Wineberg could only add a single to finish on 35 not out.
The Salford total of 140-8 looked like it should be enough but was at least 10 below what they had been looking like achieving.
Alex Benjamin's figures of 4-18 were outstanding with Morrison taking 1-29 and Jamie Benjamin 2-30.
The Lions reply started well, aided by a plethora of wides and no balls from the Salford bowlers. Veteran opener Anthony Gellman reached 30 off just 18 balls and his retirement saw Rafi Dines joined by Mark Stein.
They took the score to 65 of the first 10 overs, just below the rate required, before Stein was bowled by Koffman.
Max Lever then joined Dines and they made steady progress until first Dines retired, having reached his 30, and shortly after Lever was run out for an excellent 21.
A quickfire 18 from Benjamin catapulted the young Lions towards what seemed an unlikely victory before he was caught and bowled by Pine.
With 13 needed for victory of the last two overs, Wineberg (1-14) bowled Jamie Benjamin leaving Josh Gellman and Alex Benjamin needing nine for victory from the final over.
A much tighter over from Pine (1-28) saw this become six from the last ball but a wide gave the Lions one more chance and, having lost fewer wickets, they now only needed a four to tie and take the win.
However, Benjamin could only scramble a single, leaving Salford the victors by three runs.
The other semi-final at St. Paul's saw old rivals South Manchester and Manchester Maccabi lock horns on a difficult wicket.
After inviting Maccabi to bat, South's opening bowlers Akiva Lieberman and Rabinovitz kept the bowling tight and restricted scoring opportunities early on. Lieberman took the early wicket of Copeland but it was Rabinovitz who shone with the ball taking 3-9 off his four overs.
The other South bowlers also performed well with Dovid Black taking 3-16 off four overs, and Marcus Shonfield chipping in with two wickets in the final over, courtesy of two stumpings by Steven Glicher. Dan Glicher and Harry Rosenblum completed the excellent South bowling attack.
After their 20 overs, Maccabi reached just 94 with Ray Tammam top-scoring with 22, ably backed up by Landes with 15. Dangermen Steven Allweis and Simon Mann could only manage a run between them.
South started their reply steadily with David Shonfield (18) and man of the match Dovid Black (19) putting on 58 for the first wicket. Lieberman contributed with 16 but South were losing wickets steadily, the excellent off spin of Andrew Williams (2-14) pegging them back with Steven Allweis (1-12) also economical.
With six wickets down, Maccabi had a sniff of a possible shock. However, it was not to be as the South skipper Glicher and Marcus Shonfield saw the side home courtesy of a bye to win the match by three wickets.
South now play Salford in the final.
Manchester Maccabi 94
South Manchester 95-6
South Manchester won by 3 wickets
Salford Jewish CC 140-8
Maccabi Lions 137-4
Salford win by 3 runs