The opening weeks of the MGBSFL season have featured some eye-catching performances, both individually and collectively.
The early signs are pointing towards Norstar London Raiders, defending champions Hendon, Oakwood and a much-improved Harmen pushing for honours, while it would be foolish to write off former winners Faithfold and Redbridge altogether.
In terms of star performers, my award for September Player of the Month goes to Lorian Madanes. His goals and creativity have catapulted FC Team B to the top of Division Two, with an unblemished record. His boss, Mitch Young, who wins my top managerial prize, made him captain for the day in the 6-3 win over Catford & Bromley, and told me after that he “dictated the play for 90 minutes”.
Young has worked hard to secure the services of the mercurial Madanes, who should, in all fairness, be playing in the league’s top division at the very least.
But you can’t knock Young’s ambition. Having recently become a father for the second time, he remains as passionate about Maccabi football as ever, and his respective A and C teams are going strong too. Indeed the C-team are virtually a Who’s Who of Jewish football these days, packed with household names such as Adam Stolerman, Matt Davis, Ben Graham, Aron Barnes and Ben Graham.
* Norstar London Raiders A have been rocked by the news that midfielder Elliot Espinoza has been ruled out for 12 weeks with torn medial ligaments. Boss Rob Richman described it as a “blow” but he had good news for NLR fans, with captain David Rhodes and Matt Stock on the comeback trail.
Rhodes has not played since lining up for Team Maccabi GB at the European Maccabi Games in June. He returned to training this week and Richman hopes to include him in the squad for Sunday’s crunch clash against Oakwood.
Stock looks set to return for the league leaders in the next week or two.
* Scott Shulton expressed delight after rejoining Bishops Stortford from Wingate & Finchley. He said: “I couldn’t resist the chance to play in a higher league."
* I’m pleased to report Benjamin Lederman is settling into his new Brisbane home well after signing a six-month deal as overseas pro at Northern Brothers Diggers CC.
Having helped Radlett and London Maccabi Vale to promotion, the young fast bowler is doing something I wish I’d done at his age.
One of the top bowlers at the 2013 Maccabiah Games, I expect him to return mentally and physically tougher next summer, and his dad, Jonathan, hopes he "would’ve learnt how to tidy his room by then too".