Pearl Dental claimed their third consecutive Israel Night Cricket League title after clinching the Division Two crown with a 40-run victory over YMCA at the Modi'in Cricket arena.
The crucial toss was won by PD's David Wiseman and he had no hesitation in electing to bat. His counterpart, YMCA's Brett Hickson, said that he would have loved to bat first and set a target.
The YMCA players were confident before the game as they had already beaten PDCC once before in the season and Hickson had watched most of the PDCC matches, so he had highlighted the strengths and weaknesses to his team.
Not even a change in tactics by Hickson, by using his two main bowling weapons, Saul Weitzman and Benjy Myers in the first fpir overs could stem the runs flowing from the Pearl Dental bats. Danny Brill and Craig Levy got Pearl off to a very solid start with an opening partnership of 31, followed up by 38 by the Iian Levy/Jason Bloom pairing.
Wiseman and David Lewin continued to pile up the runs with 37. The key to the PDCC batting was the running between the wickets and the fact that they did not lose any wickets in the opening 12 overs. At the interval Wiseman was happy but cautious, saying; "We are thrilled to have gotten 112, but the YMCA are a strong unit so the job is not yet complete."
Hickson and Clint Rubin started the run chase relatively well, but their partnership of 19 was hampered by the loss of three wickets (-15 runs). Weitzman and David Leshansky put up a brave fight scoring 38, but they needed support from their teammates to get close to the PDCC total and the disciplined bowling and fielding unit of PDCC never allowed them to settle.
Brill picked up three wickets, while Wiseman and David Kable chipped in with two apiece to cap off a thoroughly deserving 40-run victory.
Victorious captain Wiseman was "relieved" to win as "we had and an up and down season winning five and losing four, but we seemed to click in the finals." He was full of praise for opposition, saying: "YMCA has proved to be a revelation - coming into the league and immediately establishing themselves as a team to be reckoned with. We know that whenever we play them, we have to be at our best."
Hickson was upset after the game, but admitted that "Pearl outplayed us in all aspects of the game, but as this first season in the night league we have a lot of positives to take out of the game. But kudos to Pearl for playing a great game and deservedly taking the honours.
"Pearl gave us a real lesson in how to play the indoor game. They batted sensibly and clinically, playing the percentages game. Scoring mainly two and threes, playing very few risky shots and losing only two or three wickets was the platform for their good score. They backed this up with accurate bowling and very sharp fielding.
"For me their style of play has been a real eye opener, something I hope to bring aboard when starting the next season with the YMCA’s."
After the prize giving ceremony, both sets of players and supporters shared a few drinks and rated this season of the night league as the best yet.
Wiseman and Hickson were full of praise for their players in a season that has lasted all of nine months. Wiseman mentioned that "after losing some talented players in the last off-season, pressure was on us to replace them."
He went on to say: "In David Kable, Yoni Salomon, Ilan Buchbinder and Rael Olwyn, we were lucky to find some fantastic cricketers and it was because these of guys we were able to make it three on the trot. We can't wait for the next season. We get hung up about winning and losing but ultimately everyone who plays is a winner. The fact that we can play cricket in israel is amazing."
Hickson mentioned a few standout players this season, saying: "I would like to thank my players for their inspirational performances during the season: David 'Chopper' Harris, Saul Weitzman, David Leshansky, Yonatan Karmi, Joe Neppe, Adam Finkelstein, Clint Rubin, Paul Kloot, David Benjamin, Aryeh Meyers and Benjy Myers. Last but not least our manager and sponsor Michael Morris.
Hickson cheekily added that "the league has been a great opportunity to escape some of the housework," before mentioning that he has "absolutely loved the league. The atmosphere has been great while the camaraderie between the players has been excellent. I have personally made many new friends."
This week sees the Division Three final as two Bet Shemesh teams, KAT Israemploy and Gold Insurance Bet Shemesh Lightning battle it out for bragging rights. This game starts at 7:45pm on Thursday evening and both teams would want to end the season off with a win and the gold medal.