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I'm backing Oakwood for the title now

Who is your money on for the MGBSFL title? Mine is on Oakwood. Just. I’ve always been a points-in-the-bag kind of guy. Knowing what you already have over the uncertainty over what could happen in the future. Manage the manageables and leave nothing to chance.

    That is exactly what Dan Kristall and Ric Blank did last summer. Having experienced heartbreak in a major cup final for the second consecutive season, they analysed the situation and did what was necessary to boost their chances of silverware.

    New arrivals included Jake Norton, Zack Collins, Thomas Prais and Louis Rawlings, while Harvey Kaye became a fixture in the starting XI. Kristall and Blank have been waxing lyrical about the right-back who is a leading contender for a place in my Team of the Season.

    Oakwood had an excellent defence last season and with Alex Lee and Dale Bradman virtual ever-presents, they are even better as a unit now, with left-back Lee Warner another of the unsung heroes.

    In attack, Leor Sidle and Sam Cantor have bullied defences across the division and been clinical in front of goal, while Brad Wine and David Woolman have run themselves into the ground. Both are excellent strikers but the work ethic of both has been superb since dropping a little deeper into midfield. But nothing is won yet. They know the Lions will be strong when they host them on April 2.

    Redbridge know they will be crowned champions if they win their remaining league matches. And there’s the small matter of a cup semi-final against first division Finchley City this weekend.

    Jon Jacobs has an equally talented group, with the luxury of two quality goalkeepers in Jay Jaffa and Dan Lee. Ryan Cole has been another stand-out player this year although he faces a race against time to be fit for the Finchley game. Jacobs described Darryl Rubin as a “Rolls Royce of a player” and his partnership at the heart of defence with Zac Neiman has been “a joy to watch”. Jacobs described the former Scrabble man as his “breakthrough player of the season”.

    There have been plenty of column inches dedicated to the three Sollosi brothers, while it was only a matter of time until Daniel Garfinkle was back among the goals. And the return to league action of Dean Nyman has been as good for Redbridge as it has for the MGBSFL.

    The boy oozes quality and always plays with a smile on his face, as does full-back Danny Berg. The Berkley brothers – Matt and James – have also raised their game, while the skills and fitness levels of Russell Goldstein are second to none.

    Redbridge are playing catch-up. It’s looks set to be a thrilling few weeks, so hold on to your hats. An Oakwood win would also be a fitting tribute to former player Rob Davidson who passed away, aged 34, late last year. I think it’s written in the stars.

    * While his team are battling for the Championship title with Newcastle United, Brighton owner Tony Bloom was celebrating a winner of another kind after his horse, Penhill, won the Albert Bartlett Hurdle at Cheltenham, at rewarding odds of 16-1. Bloom said: “I’m over the moon and it’s a brilliant horse we have here.”

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