KCJ's beat Redwood by 23 runs to register their first win in nine month. Gold 'A' cemented their position in second spot by inflicting MYL's first loss of the season in a thrilling 11-run triumph.
In the two other matches, PDCC's season continued to stutter as they went down to MYL by 98 runs, while YMCA maintained their chances of a top two finish with a bonus point win over KCJ (115-77).
In the top-of-the-table clash, MYL won the toss and elected to field and with only a quarter of their innings remaining, they moved from 53 to a competitive total of 90. MYL's innings got off to a solid start but when Rael Olwyn claimed a hat-trick midway through the innings, MYL were always struggling to keep up with the run-rate and give GOLD 'A' a much deserved win.
KCJ were the clear underdogs coming into this contest against Redwood, which was played under lights with the white ball in Modiin on a slightly slanted and very hard pitch. The match seemed to have been closed to the public as there were no spectators.
Sitting bottom in the league standings, KCJ were in desperate need of a win. Redwood, sitting mid-table and well aware of KCJ's bad form, were licking their lips coming into this cracker as a win would put them into third place on the league standings.
KCJ's captain, Aryeh Gluck, won the toss and perspicaciously elected to bat. Benji Flacks, KCJ's new recruit, opened the batting and after getting out on the first ball of the innings to a beauty bowled by Edan Nissen, proceeded to lead the charge with some big hitting down the ground. He was aptly supported by Yoni Fiddler and the pair put on 41.
The runs continued to flow in the second pair and another new recruit from the suburbs of Melbourne, Ronen Slonim, starred with an impressive 27. He was awarded best batsmen. With some tight bowling by Matt Hoffman as well as Simon Levy and Natan Wiggman, Redwood were able to slow down the run rate and KCJ ended up posting a respectable 107.
With a required run rate of 26.75 runs per pair, no sense of urgency was apparent during the session of the opening pair but nonetheless they managed to put on a good 20 runs. The second pair upped the ante and Alon Benjamin made a well worked 22.
With 62 runs required in the last eight overs, disciplined bowling by Aryeh Gluck, Jason Bloom, Benji Flacks and Shmuel Berkowitz who each took one wicket, kept the third pair to a low score and left the last pair with the daunting challenge of making 59 runs in the last session.
In the first two overs of the last session, with some astute batting by the left and right-hand combination of Matt Hoffman and Simon Levy, they managed to put on 31 and looked like they were well on their way to chasing down the target.
Under immense pressure, Shmuel Berkowitz, the left-arm swing bowler, was given the nod by the captain and he succeeded in dramatically stemming the flow of runs. In doing so, he managed to secure himself the best bowler award with figures of 2-4, and together with Benji Flacks, they brought Redwood's chase to a sudden halt. Matt Hoffman finished with a notable 27 but Redwood ended up losing by 23 runs.
The game was played in a cordial atmosphere and with bowling figures of 1-1 and batting figures of 22 runs, Benji Flacks was awarded man-of-the-match.
Redwood's captain, Gidon Sacofsky, will likely go back to the drawing board and may perhaps think about revising Redwood's strategy and tactics. Redwood's selection committee may also be expected to shake things up after this shock loss to foot of the table, KCJ.
Aryeh Gluck showed a glimpse of his imposing cricket mental prowess and implemented certain strategic and psychological measures to inspire confidence and nerve in his team, whose confidence has been at an all-time low. These measures appeared to have paid off.
The next game for KCJ against league leaders, MYL, will be telling while KCJ will need to pull out all the stops outthink and outplay the exceptional talent that MYL has to offer.
MYL 158 - 60 PDCC
KCJ 77 - 115 YMCA
GOLD 'A' 90 - 79 MYL
KCJ 107 - 84 REDWOOD
The next round of action takes place tonight, with MYL taking on KCJ and Redwood playing PDCC in Division One, while in Division Two, it's top vs bottom as Israel Academy play YMCB and again against PDCC B.