Hendon feel heat of Bern return


You should have seen the look on the face of Hendon United manager David Garbacz when he heard that Daran Bern had returned to action in the JC MSFL.

Bern was one of the main reasons why the Hammers finished last season empty-handed after taking Redbridge Jewish Care the distance in the League Cup and Premier Division title race last season.

It has certainly been a big couple of weeks for comebacks with Arsenal hotshot Thierry Henry getting the ball rolling, followed by Paul Scholes at Manchester United.

But the return of Bern has serious repercussions for Hendon's treble aspirations.

Last season's Player of the Year has been sorely missed in the Maccabi League. He lit up Vienna, on and off the pitch, at the European Maccabi Games, and I can't wait to see him in action in the Peter Morrison Trophy last-16 clash against Hendon on Sunday week. It's safe to say that Garbacz does not share these sentiments.

● Clubs in the Olim League are on red alert after hearing that Shirley Park star man Nicky Plonek is off to Israel for five months. The former West Bromwich Albion and Telford United midfielder said: "I'll be in Israel for five months, working in Ashdod on a community programme." And it appears he could be on the move from Shirley Park. He added: "When I return, I'll definitely be looking at possibilities for next season."

● It's great to see the achievements of Jewish rugby players recognised at both ends of the ladder. While Scott Spurling has been picked for the England under-20 squad, the evergreen John Goldman has just collected a special award from the Rugby Union Writers' Club. Now 71, Goldman still plays and trains for his home club Mill Hill every week. Upon receiving a tankard, he said: "I think I received the jug for being so senile that I'd forgotten to stop playing!"

● Bragging rights will be up for grabs at Rowley Lane on Sunday where some of the country's top young stars go head-to-head in an intriguing battle. The two London Maccabi Lions under-18 teams will battle it out in the last 16 of the Herts County Cup. Alan Greenberg, one of the managers involved, described it as the "Lions' junior section match of the century". Sean Ladier will referee the tie.

● Temple Fortune striker Ben Isaacs and North London Raiders Masters player Andrew Binstock are both on the comeback trail after undergoing cruciate operations. Fortune have two other players in the wars with Masters players Robert Botkai and Andy Montlake ruled out for the season.

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