MAL edge out Belmont and Edgware in thriller
BECC II 197-8, MAL 201-7. MAL won by 3 wickets
MAL consolidated their position at the top of the Maccabi Sunday League, with a three wicket against Belmont & Edgware.
After inserting BECC, opening bowlers Yoav Lebens and Tony Wise started well, with both swinging the ball and extracting bounce.
Alex Ziff was soon back in the pavilion for a duck, as Wise trapped him in front. He was quickly followed by Simon Durban, bowled by a cracker from Lebens who sent leg stump flying out the ground.
Daniel Geey joined Warren Averbuch with the score on 16-2, and set about a rebuilding job.
The pair took their time and at halfway, with the total on 69-2, it looked like MAL were firmly in control.
Geey was eventually bowled by left-arm tweaker Grant Traub for a well-made 33, with Jonny Reid following without troubling the scorers to Simon Levy and a good tumbling catch from Maccabiah-bound keeper Gideon Caller.
Averbuch's innings was ended by Traub on 44, again an LBW victim. There followed several overs of utter carnage as Richie Weinburg cut loose. His innings of 62 came from only 27 balls, and featuring five sixes and four boundaries, with good balls as well as bad being dispatched in equal measure. He was given good support by skipper Ryan Monk.
With the score at 164 after 35 overs a total well in excess of 200 looked on the cards, but some good death bowling from Simon Levy and Mark Landau saw the hosts fail to reach this target, finishing on 197-8.
MAL's reply didn't get off to the best of starts as leading scorer Landau fell to a terrific diving catch at square leg by Warren Averbuch off the bowling of Alex Ziff with the score on just 11 in the third over.
This brought Yoav Lebens in to join Gideon Caller. Belmont looked to squeeze youngster Caller to keep the dangerous Lebens off strike, but the pair ran well between the wickets, and took the score to 70 in the 14th over before Caller was smartly caught and bowled by the excellent Weinburg for 13.
Jamie Breslaw and Pinty Baddiel came and went relatively quickly to leave the score on 110-4 in the 21st over.
However with Lebens very well set, and the evergreen Wise joining him, the chase still looked relatively comfortable.
Lebens went serenely past 50, calmly taking the runs on offer and striking impressive boundaries all around the wicket. When Lebens fell to a smart running catch by Weinburg off Henry Ziff for 73 off 62 balls at 149-5, things looked slightly in the balance again, a situation made more precarious when Steve Leven was dismissed for a duck by Averbuch. Calm heads prevailed however as the experienced heads of Wise and Traub took MAL to the brink of victory on 193 with 3.1 overs to go, before Michael Ziff bowled Wise for 20.
MAL were not to be denied though, bringing up victory in the next over, with more than two overs to spare, and Traub on 27 not out.
BECC will be disappointed with the 45 runs that they conceded in extras, but played hard and were a pleasure to play against and a good test of the strength of MAL's credentials, coming off the back of the shock defeat to Southgate three weeks ago.
Elsewhere, an unbeaten 116 from Maccabiah-bound Adam Brand steered London Maccabi Vale 1st to a seven wicket win over West Ham in a friendly at Rowley Lane.
The visitors accumulated 189 from 40 overs. Brand performed admirably in the face of some tight bowling on a dusty, crumbling wicket to lead Vale home with four balls to spare.