Tel Aviv beat Eilat by just two runs; Petah Tikva's unbeaten run ended by Ra'anana 2
Defending Division 1 champions Ra'anana left it late before securing a 39-run victory over Lod Rangers in Lod on Friday. Batting first, Ra'anana struggled to build momentum with a heavy outfield and tight Rangers bowling combining to make scoring difficult. A 57-run 7th wicket stand between Adrian Vard (45) and Des Moss (18) at least gave Ra'anana, who declared on 161/9 in the 37th over, something to defend. Although Rangers made a bright start to their run chase, the wicket of Gayan Gamage (33) sparked a collapse which saw them crumble from 79 for two to 91 for eight in the space of 10 overs, with spinners Josh Evans and Steven Shein (three for seven) sharing six wickets between them. A stubborn 9th wicket stand between Shimon Pezarkar and Borgarker seemed set to have secured the hosts an honorable draw, but with just two overs remaining, Evans returned to take two wickets in successive deliveries, finishing with five for 18.
Lions Lod, began their quest to regain their league crown with a draw against Neve Yonatan in Lod on Saturday. Anim Solomon took four for 29, with Neve Yonatan reaching 140 for five after Lions had been dismissed for 162 in 43 overs, Shamu Razpurker taking three for 28.
In Division 2 league action, Tel Aviv defeated Eilat last Sunday by just two runs in a sensational start to their season. In what has become a tradition Tel Aviv made their annual pilgrimage to Eilat, looking to reverse 2 straight defeats on their previous two visits. Before the game started both teams stood a minutes silence in tribute to Jerrold Kessel who passed away last month after a long struggle against cancer, followed by a special presentation made to Mr Isaac Solomon in recognition of the outstanding contribution he has made to Eilat cricket over the past ten years.
Tel Aviv were soon reduced to 68 for six with Avner Dighorkar creating havoc with his whippy seam bowling. However Yochim Gras (35*) and Daniel Petaly (27) pushed Tel Aviv to 145, Dighorkar finishing with the remarkable figures of seven for 32. After an excellent lunch provided by the local side Tel Aviv tried their best to end the game as early as possible, conceding 45 runs in the first five overs. Mike Mohnblatt was brought on to stem the barrage, which he did with aplomb, taking three for 16, before Stanley Perlman, in his 35th season, cleaned up the tail with three for 21, allowing Tel Aviv to earn the narrowest of victories. Petah Tikva's excellent start to the season continued, with T20 wins over Lod (by 34 runs) last week, and Tel Aviv (by 31 runs) at Hadar Yosef on Friday. However they did come unstuck against Ra'anana 2, whom they had beaten in the league a few weeks earlier, managing just 98 in reply to Ra'anana's 133.