MAL retained the Maccabi GB T20 in emphatic style after crushing Southgate by nine wickets with more than nine overs to spare in the final in Bushey.
A 20-run victory in the semi-final over Belmont & Edgware was followed by a one-sided final where, having dismissed Southgate for 86, an 83-run partnership between captain Mark Landau and Yoav Lebens eased them home.
The semi-final against BECC A was a close-run thing. Landau elected to make first use of what looked a hard and flat track. He and Chris Tomaszewski got the innings off to a solid start, putting on a partnership of 31 for the first wicket before Landau lofted a catch off Jonathan Evans and was caught for 16 off 12 balls.
Lebens came in at three and he and Tomaszewski took the score to 87 in the 11th over when Joel Phillips bowled Tomaszewski for 19 from 25.
87/2 quickly became 89/3 as Pinty Baddiel was bowled by Mayer for 1. Matt Plax joined Lebens and another strong partnership of 41 followed. Lebens brought up his half century from just 32 balls, eventually being well held on the deep square leg boundary for 58 from 36.
Yitzy Hill was bowled by Evans for 1, before Plax was run out in chaotic scenes for a well made 17 from 15 balls. Aaron Djanogly and Rafi Grant were out in the 18th over, and though there were no major contributions down the order, some inaccurate bowling meant that too many extras were given away (39 in the innings in total), and Avi Gelley and Yanky Baddiel were able to see the 20 overs out to get MAL to a good total of 170.
BECC’s reply got off to the worst possible start when Yoav Lebens had skipper Ashley Connick caught by Yanky Baddiel for 1 in the first over. Ben Frais and Jon Evans recovered the innings. They took the score to 49-1 at the end of the fielding restriction overs.
The second wicket fell on 53, Evans getting a leading edge and being well held in his follow through by Landau for 31. Kay joined Frais and a sensible partnership saw them add 43 for the third wicket. Lebens had Kay well held at deep square leg by Yitzy Hill for 12.
With Simon Durban joining Frais, the game was still very much in the balance. Yanky Baddiel picked up Durban with a sharp caught and bowled, and also had Levy caught at mid-on by Landau in the same over for a duck.
Frais was still looking dangerous and he went to his half century in the 15th over, before skying Avi Gelley’s final ball, the catch being well held by Rafi Grant. With Frais’ dismissal went BECC’s chances, and although Phillips offered some resistance, Tomaszewski had Mendel LBW for 0 to one that kept very low, and Landau bowled Shulman for 6.
Phillips was 9th out, striking a low full toss from Landau out to Yanky Baddiel at long on, for 13. Monk was last out, run out for 2 as Avi Gelley scored a direct hit, after Landau had spilled a sharp return catch opportunity.
In the other semi final, Ashley Smokler (73) and Benny Wolpe (49) helped Southgate post 173-5. BECC were never in contention as they were dismissed for 106 with the wickets shared pretty evenly.
MAL went into the final in buoyant mood but with Southgate captain Richard Mitchell winning the toss and elected to bat, they were forced to take to the field again.
Southgate were soon in trouble as kamikaze calling saw Morris run out for 1, Pinty Baddiel throw being well gathered by Djanogly who took the bails off. Wolpe joined Smokler and though they were together until the end of the 10th over they were unable to get the bowlers away.
Wolpe was finally bowled by Yanky Baddiel for 7 from the fifth ball of the 10th over, with the score on 35. Baddiel also picked up Taylor’s wicket, with Rafi Grant holding a fine catch at mid-off for 4.
Frustration eventually got the better of Smokler as he swung at Gelley’s off-spinners and was bowled. Tomaszewski returned and quickly had Ray Bean LBW for 4.
With the score at 54-5 in the 14th over, it was always going to be very difficult for Southgate to make a competitive total. Avi Gelley then picked up his second wicket, bowling Duddridge for 4, before Yoav Lebens took a deserved wicket, bowling Cohen for 10.
The tail was unable to have much impact – Hart was run out for 1, thanks to a good pick up and throw from Plax, and some good work behind the stumps from Djanogly. There was time for Yoav Lebens to bowl a rare maiden, before Mark Landau took the final two wickets in the 20th over.
Southgate’s total of 86 never looked like being remotely enough, and though they would have been boosted by Ray Bean bowling Avi Gelley in the first over, that would be their last success.
Landau and Yoav Lebens ran well together and put the bad balls away as they put on a partnership of 83 in less than 10 overs. Lebens finished the game with a flurry of boundaries, including a cheeky reverse sweep for four to win the game. He finished 44 not out off 35 balls, with Landau 31 not out from 22 balls, as MAL retained the title they won in 2008 (the competition wasn’t held in 2009).
Belmont & Edgware A finished third after winning the 3rd/4th place playoff game. Electing to bat first, BECC B were dismissed for 96 with notable contributions coming from Cliff Horowitz (23), Joel Phillips (4-11) and Ben Frais (3-18).
BECC A got over the line with three wickets to spare.
MAL 89-1 Yoav Lebens 44 not out, Mark Landau 31 not out
MAL won by 9 wickets
Belmont & Edgware B 96 Joel Phillips 4-11, Ben Frais 3-18
Belmont & Edgware A 99-7
BECC A won by 3 wickets
MAL 170-8 Yoav Lebens 58
Belmont & Edgware A 148 Ben Frais 50, Jonathan Evans 31, Mark Landau 3-24
MAL won by 22 runs
Southgate 173-5 Ashley Smokler 73, Benny Wolpe 49
Belmont & Edgware B 106
Southgate won by 67 runs