As we enter the final strait of the Jewish football season, it is fitting that the top two divisions in the JC MSFL will be the last to be decided.
There is little argument that Oakwood are worthy winners of the Division One title, but the race for second place is going right to the wire. Norstar A missed the chance to cement Premier Division football next season following a inspired second-half performance from Brixton Old Boys A on Sunday.
It was a case of defeat being snatched from the jaws of victory by Phil Peters’ men, but they have a chance to crank up the pressure on BOBs a week on Sunday when they travel to Woodford Wanderers in their final match of the season.
With no football this weekend, due to Passover, Peters has ample time to overcome last-minute nerves and put down a marker. Indeed, the race for second place will be decided in east London with Brixton travelling to Redbridge Jewish Care B in their final game seven days later. And don’t forget, if Norstar slip-up against Woodford, RJC could still go up if they beat Brixton, so it’s still all to play for.
Brixton have experience on their side and I recall seeing some great pictures of manager John Nitka in his South Mancs days when he celebrated going up with a David Pleat-style cameo.
The Premier Division title race appears more clear-cut. Hendon A are showing no sign of nerves as they close in on the treble. The Hammers have plenty to look forward to in the closing weeks with two cup finals at Wingate & Finchley already booked. With five league games remaining, David Garbacz’s troops have been the model of consistency this season, losing just once in Jewish football. That was against London Maccabi Lions A, the team they play next. Win that and they will have one hand on the trophy last won in 2007.
It has been a real team effort for a close-knit Hendon team, but I guess you’d expect nothing less from a side with several sets of brothers.
* Quote of the Week goes to Eilon Kennet, the manager of Redbridge Jewish Care A. Eyebrows were raised when he left Rowley Lane last summer, but following a 2-1 win over his former club, London Maccabi Lions A, it appears he had the last laugh. "It was great to see my old players and nice to pit my new resources against my old ones," Kennet said.
"Strangely, with just a couple of exceptions, it was more or less last year’s team, which was a bit of a surprise as the main reason I left Lions was to allow someone else to rebuild the team. But I guess its pretty hard to drop legends like Avi Schwarz and Pete Lazard."