Lions Lod begin title defence with narrow win, Lions take Be'er Sheva derby honors

Veteran all-rounder Isaac Massil showed all his experience and class in steering Lions Lod to a nail-biting 1-wicket win over Neve Yonatan on the opening day of the 2013 cricket season. In the day's other game, Lions Be'er Sheva began their season on a winning note with a 47-run victory over city rivals Be'er Sheva.

Chasing 199 to win in Ashdod on Saturday, after Yaniv Razpurker (88) had led Neve Yonatan to a respectable score of 198, Massil, who earlier had taken three for 29 with the ball, top scored with an undefeated 62, remaining steady as Lions tumbled from a comfortable 166 for 6 to 174 for 9, before a 25-run stand for the last wicket saw the visitors claw over the line with five overs in hand. Shailesh Bangerra (42) and Isaac Talkar (38) had earlier given Lions a steady start with 79-run second wicket partnership, but Neve Yonatan got themselves back in contention with regular wickets, with just Massil standing between them and a memorable victory.

Batting first in Dimona on Saturday, Lions Be'er Sheva reached 192 for 7 in their 40 overs, thanks mainly to an excellent innings of 77 by opening batsman Ronen Waskar, who shared in a 60-run second wicket stand with Sunny Ashtamkar (30). Be'er Sheva failed to build any significant partnerships in reply, losing wickets at regular intervals to slump to 115 for 9, before a 30-run last wicket partnership led managed to at least narrow the margin of defeat to 47 runs. Ashtamkar (3 for 27) and Yakov Penkar (3 for 25) were the pick of the Lions' bowlers.