Raiders were always tasty. Now they're just different gravy


As a former Norstar London Raiders player and manager, I'm delighted the boys have finally got the monkey off their backs.

They have shown tremendous character to bounce straight back from last year's heartbreak, when Hendon United Sports Club denied them in both league and cup competitions.

Like Hendon, NLR have hardly put a foot wrong over the past couple of seasons, but the return of manager Rob Richman, together with the quality of summer arrivals Liron Mannie, Ben Joseph, Ricky Engleman, Elliott Moslawy and Jordan Marks ensured they got over the line this time.

When the group joined, I imagine Hendon boss David Garbacz took a large intake of breath and realised Raiders really meant business.

The A-team squad has changed dramatically since I was involved with the club, with captain David Rhodes one of the few to have cemented his position.

If anyone deserves an MGBSFL winners' medal, it's Rhodesy. He's a wonderful ambassador for the club, a leader of men and he will be beaming from ear to ear when he lifts the famous trophy in Mill Hill on Sunday morning.

It would be fair to say Raiders have won the championship with a certain amount of flair. They simply ooze class, with the jet-propelled Mannie and top-scorer Matt Stock, along with Jamie Wolfson, who moved to Hong Kong mid-season, and Ben Joseph producing some phenomenal performances.

The presence of Engleman in midfield has certainly beefed things up in midfield and ensured they were never bullied against inferior teams.

But it has been a real team effort as they have kept eight clean sheets in 17 league games, with Jake Doffman, Justin Spiro, Alex Bloch and Jonny Kay rock solid throughout, and they average more than three goals a game.

Credit also goes to chairman Jonathan Adelman for his relentless work in recruiting a large pool of players who can only be described as a real credit to the league.

● Amy Ansell has been one of the driving forces in girls sport. Now she is turning her hand to something new. The former Team Maccabi GB netball star is setting up a new girls lacrosse club called New Stars.

Ansell is looking for players of all levels, aged nine to 18, for team get-togethers at Rowley Lane on Tuesday nights from 6.30pm to 8pm.

She said: "We're not an exclusively Jewish club and we're keen to get more girls playing what is a really cool sport. We want Rowley Lane to be more than a football hub." For further details, email:

● The officials for the two forthcoming finals have now been confirmed. Neil Cooper will take charge of the Cyril Anekstein Cup tie between Hendon United and Norstar London Raiders. Cooper will be assisted by Gary Silver and Steve Levy, with Martin Lavender the fourth official.

Laurie Benson will be the man in the middle for the Barry Goldstein Trophy tussle between Los Blancos and FC Team B. Neal Cohen and Elliott Mayer are the assistant-referees, with Keith Goodman in charge on the touchline.

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