Impressive performances from Neil Lederman and Andrew Greenwall-Cohen helped London Maccabi Vale 1st maintain their title charge with a hard fought victory over Finchley.
Missing several regulars for this Middlesex Sunday League Division One clash, LMV won the toss and elected to bat first, confident that their strong bowling line-up would be able to defend most scores.
The 2nd XI regulars clearly saw an opening for a more regular first team slot with Nigel Rothband (18) and Daniel Caplin (11) proving the team with a solid start before both being bowled.
Jacob Freedman (8) hit a couple of big shots before bowing out and then came the stand that really cemented the Vale innings.
Having been shown confidence by the skipper, Jon Daniels (17) rewarded this by hitting a couple of beautiful off-drives at the beginning of an innings that was all about staying around, seeing off the Finchley's dangerous bowler who had already taken the wicket of Caplin before having Lederman in trouble early on.
Lederman (63) was given most the strike and hit some lusty blows over the top of the field before the partnership of over 50 was broken with Daniels moaning about back problems and getting caught.
Things could have gone wrong after another quick wicket with Avi Schwarz being stumped, however, instead the game was put pretty safe by a fantastic innings from Greenwall-Cohen. Lederman took a back seat whilst Greenwall-Cohen started hitting the boundaries in another partnership of over 50.
Lederman was finally caught at deep mid-on, however, the team were already on over 200 with about four overs still remaining. Saul Weitzman (13) came in to support Greenwall-Cohen, however, after three sixes - one of them huge - Greenwall-Cohen missed the ball and was bowled just short of what would have been a deserved 50 on 47.
In came another debutant in Josh Frey and he managed to stay around a while before being caught when Freedman joined Weitzman. The runs were mounting through a few wides and well as Weitzman nicked the strike off a selfless Freedman he was out to an excellent slip catch.
Some quick running in the final over betweeen Kangisser and Freedman kept the scoreboard ticking and at 40 overs Finchley had been set a total of 243 to win.
Vale bowlers to the ready and the aim being to make sure Finchley did not get close to the six runs an over that they needed.
The bowlers carried on where the batsmen had started off. Kangisser was firing on all cylinders and Freedman (0-20), running up the hill, kept the runs down to about 14 off the first six overs with Kangisser (1-20) having taken an early wicket too.
Lederman (2-21) came on first change and snapped up another couple of wickets whilst also keeping the economy rate down. Weitzman (1-21) followed suit, grabbing a wicket at last with his slower ball before Greenwall-Cohen competed with Nelly for all-rounder of the day with a fantastic return of 3-21 off his allotted eight overs. One of those wickets though being a brilliant catch by Lederman.
With Finchley in deep trouble, Frey, a 15-year-old debutant, helped LMV turn the screw by finishing with figures of 2-10 off 4.4 overs. His efforts would have been further rewarded had it not been for three dropped chances including a caught-and-bowled opportunity.
Substitute fielder Zak Frey, filling in for the injured Daniels, also contributed to an excellent performance which keeps the pressure on table-toppers MTSCC who now have a inferior run rate.