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Raiders complete Maccabi Masters double

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Elan Ovits has described North London Raiders as the best team to have graced the Maccabi Masters League after they completed the double with a 3-1 victory over Waldaf Town.

Raiders stormed out of the blocks and hit the target three times in a magical 20-minute spell in the first half. A deadly double from Tony Plaskow plus one from David Lederman effectively ended the contest at Wingate & Finchley, although Waldaf striker Alex Bourne pulled one back in the second half.

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NLR joint-manager Elan Ovits told JC Sport: “I thought we were the stronger team for most of the game and played some terrific football, especially in the first half.

"Credit to Waldaf they never gave up and were much more competitive in the second half.

"We had a game-plan, which the lads stuck too and controlled the first half with some fantastic inter-change play and quality crosses and goals.

"Despite scoring three first-half goals, we weren't able to maintain our high tempo for 90 minutes and Waldaf deserved their goal."

NLR cup success comes hard on the heels of their successful defence of the MMFL Division One title.

The arrival of players of the calibre of Danny Daggers, Daniel Hodes and Daniel Fox has helped keep NLR above their rivals.

"I've been playing Masters for five years and managing the team with Gavin Hodes for two,” said Ovits.” This is by far the best squad of players we've ever assembled and finally after three attempts we've won a cup final.

"The lads have showed true commitment and consistently maintained the very highest standards from start to finish. It's been a privilege to manage and play in the best ever Masters team.

"As champions we know that all the other teams are going to get stronger and want to beat us. However, the real challenge for us to continue to maintain our very high standards and focus.

"If the lads show as much commitment and quality as they've done this season, then we will be in a good place and challenge for honours once again.

"Finally, most of us lads have been playing 11-a-side football for the past 30 years and have enjoyed every minute of it.

"This is mainly down to the fantastic organisation and dedication of our Jewish leagues committees and volunteers.

"We hope to see many more clubs join Masters football in years to come and continue to enjoy playing the wonderful game."

Waldaf player-manager Jeremy King believes Raiders "effectively won the game in an amazing 15-minute spell".

He told JC Sport: "They are a fantastic team and we knew we had to be at our best to beat them. We went with an attacking plan to put them on the back foot, but it didn't work. However, in the second half we dominated the game and ensured Raiders were never comfortable and were a little unlucky not to have scored another.

"That said, Raiders are a great team and we determined to come back even stronger next year having tasted our first final in only our third year in Masters."

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