The game started with a cagey opening, with both teams looking like they hadn't played for a while. The was also some drama which saw a good argument for use of VAR/goal-line tech with three goal-line clearances (two for NLR, and one early on in the game for Blancos) as well as a good claim for handball in NLR's favour.
Blancos had better of the opening 20 minutes but neither side really tested one another. Raiders soon started to get a grip on the game with the midfield three of Mark Leader, Ricky Lawrence and David Esterkin getting on top of their opponents.
The opening goal came on the stroke of half-time and was described by NLR joint-manager Doron Salmon as "a contender for goal of the week". A flowing move, which began on the halfway line on the left-hand side of the pitch, saw a series of quick one-touch passes Raiders worked the ball to Matt Leader on the right. He played a ball down the line to Esterkin who reached the byline before sending a brilliant low cross that was turned in by Gilbert. It was as good a team goal as you are likely to see at this level, straight off the NLR training ground.
The second half was one-way traffic and in truth, Raiders could have hit double figures if it wasn't for the woodwork and better finishing. David Dinkin and Gilbert linked to deadly effect and gave the Blancos centre backs a torrid time.
Esterkin was again the provider as pressure paid off and his cut back was turned in via Dinkin on 66 minutes. A third followed four minutes late, this time Ricky Lawrence's deep cross was brilliantly taken down by Gilbert, he dummied a defender before curling one into the top corner for his second.
Goals four and five came in the final few minutes, with Matt Leader crossing for Esterkin to finish at the back post and then Esterkin with his third assist as he set up Lawrence for a similar finish.
NLR joint-manager Doron Salmon told JC Sport: "It was as complete a performance as we could have hoped for and I'd add the referee, who we've not had before, should be nominated for ref of the week - he was excellent and always had control of what was mostly a game played in the right spirit."
RAIDERS: Ben Law, Lewis Blitz, Brandon Sassoon, Anthony Goodmaker, Elad Hertshten, Mark Leader, Danny Bloom, Ricky Lawrence, Dave Esterkin, David Dinkin, Jake Gilbert. Sub: Matt Leader
SCORERS: Gilbert 2, Leader, Lawrence, Esterkin
BLANCOS: Gideon Rabstein, Joel Barnett, Joe Davis, Jake Doffman, Svi Freedman, Tim Heynes, Avishai Kestenbaum, Gabriel Krieger, Alex Lewis, Elliott Maslawy, Joe Zender. Subs: Oli Sade, Luke Strauss