The magic of the Morrison


The first national round of the Peter Morrison Trophy has thrown up some intriguing north versus south battles with teams from the provinces looking to make their mark in the capital on what will undoubtedly be a super Sunday.

Cup holders Manchester Maccabi 1st face a testing afternoon in the lunchtime kick-off against JC MSFL Premier Division new boys North London Raiders B in Hatfield.

Maccabi, co-managed by Stuart Delmonte and Tony Rosenberg, will travel without captain Michael Sacks who required 20 stitches just below his knee following a reckless challenge in last week's defeat against Windmill Failsworth.

Looking ahead to the game, Delmonte said: "We need an absolute miracle to get though." And it's clear that the mind games have already started. He went on to say: "At this stage, I'm not even sure I'll be able to raise a full team. We've got lots of players missing and a couple who we're sweating over.

"They're about 70-30 against and whereas last year we had strength in depth, we really don't have that this time around.

"We're playing on a 3G pitch which will really favour the home side and doesn't really help us."

Raiders will be close to full-strength with David Esterkin and James Foley-Comer the only absentees. It's definitely one to keep an eye on.

Delmonte has tipped local rivals South Manchester Sports 1st to lift the cup this year. They travel to Rowley Lane to take on second division Lions B. South chairman Jonny Davis is unable to take his place in the directors' box following a knee operation.

"For me, South Manchester Sports Club are the big favourites," Delmonte said. "They have been absolutely flying this season and have won every single league game. I know a lot of their players. They have great strength throughout the team and I'm certain they'll win it this year."

There's also a real treat in store at Parmiters in Garston where first division Oakwood entertain Leeds Maccabi 1st. A big crowd is anticipated in what is expected to be a high-octane affair between two tough-tackling teams.

It promises to be an enthralling contest with Leeds hotshot David Woolman looking to continue his excellent run of form. But with Eddie Manson, Ilan Scorah, Adam Levine and Dan Ash in dominant mood, there's a chance it could go the distance.

Leeds boss Ian Selwyn said: "We know it will be a very tough game against Oakwood and to be fair to them, this is the draw they wanted. It's their cup final."

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