Two nail-biting finishes in the penultimate round robin matches were the highlights of last week's Northern Jewish Cricket League Super Sixes tournament.
The evening tournament at St Paul's began with tournament leaders, Star Sixes, maintaining their unbeaten record with a 10-run win over Manchester Maccabi.
Dovid Black's 21 and impressive bowling from Shaia Rabinowitz, Alex Woolfstein and Marcus Schonfield more than compensated for the absence of the Liebermans for Star.
Meanwhile, the Salford Comets overcame Maccabi Lions by 11 runs, despite a swashbuckling 22 from the Lions’ Wayne Doyle.
The Lions were eyeing their first win until Jonny Wineberg and Robert Marks stifled their progress with two tight final overs.
Having lost in their previous match against Manchester Maccabi by virtue of losing one more wicket with the scores level, Salford Comets were looking for revenge.
Salford posted a solid 54-3, with contributions along their line-up. The Maccabi reply ebbed and flowed with a great run out by Jeremy Korn, standing in behind the stumps, removing the dangerous Lawrence Benjamin.
As Maccabi progressed towards the target, a four from Ray Tammam left him on strike with an opportunity to repeat their previous victory. Two from the final ball would mean the scores were level but Maccabi would win with one fewer wicket lost. However, Tammam could not hit Robert Marks delivery into the outfield and, as Andrew Williams made his ground, Korn removed the bails. With Williams turning for the second run, Korn pulled out two stumps with ball in hand to give Salford their win by a single run.
On the adjoining pitch, meanwhile, league leaders Star Sixes looked to be heading for a comfortable victory against winless Maccabi Lions.
They restricted the youngest side in the tournament to 41-2 with tight bowling, particularly by David and Marcus Shonfield.
In reply, a quick 18 from Nigel Woolfstein and steady scores by the Schonfields put Star in the driving seat but tight bowling by the young Lions, Jamie and Alex Benjamin, clearly stars of the future, caused the innings to stutter.
The Lions fightback was completed as Star could only post the same score, with the same number of wickets down, as the Lions and the match ended in an amazing tie.
The final two matches were as one-sided at the previous had been close. Manchester Maccabi defeated the Lions, who looked to be suffering a hangover after the excitement of their tie, by five wickets with captain Ray Tammam hitting an unbeaten 22.
Salford seemed to be heading for a big score against Star with Elliot Koffman finding some form for a quick 20 before holing out to long-on off Dove Black's bowling.
The tide turned with Salford struggling against the Schonfields tight bowling, but they still posted a respectable 52-2.
The ever reliable Daniel Paul opened the bowling for Salford and took a wicket with the second ball. The pressure was then on Star and Shaia Rabinowitz looked unusually cautious. But Nigel Woolfstein was playing aggressively and, in the third over, he took the game by the scruff of the neck, destroying the Salford bowling.
His quick fire 34 not out - a boundary coming off every ball of the over – gave Star the five-wicket win.
Star Sixes, therefore, top the NJCL Super 6s table and will play Maccabi Lions in the tournament semi-finals, the only team to take a point off them.
Salford Comets end up second in the table, with the same points as Manchester Maccabi but a better aggregate score in their two matches by just one run. They will meet in the second semi-final.
Both semi-finals will take place on the evening of July 28 at St Paul's on Lower Broughton Road, with the finals later that evening.
There will also be food, fun arts and sports activities for the whole family from 6pm, with an Under 14s North Manchester versus South Manchester match at 7pm along with an All Star match.
Maccabi Lions 40-4
Salford win by 11 runs.
Star Sixes 60-2
Manchester Maccabi 50-2
Star Sixes win by 10 runs
Maccabi Lions 41-2
Star Sixes 41-2
Salford win by 1 run
Maccabi Lions 42
Manchester Maccabi 43-1
Manchester Maccabi win by 5 wickets.
Salford Comets 52-3
Star Sixes 54-1
Star Sixes win by 5 wickets
NJCL Super 6s 2011 Final Table
1. Star Sixes Pl. 6, W. 5, L. 1, D. 1, Pts. 11
2. Salford Comets Pl. 6, W. 3, L. 3, D. 0, Pts. 6
3. Manchester Maccabi Pl. 6, W. 3, L. 3, D. 0, Pts. 6
4. Maccabi Lions Pl. 6, W. 0, L. 5, D. 1, Pts. 1
Semi-final line-up - July 28
Star Sixes (1) vs Maccabi Lions, Salford Comets vs Manchester Maccabi