A few months ago, Young Ashdod was given as much chance to claim the cricket Division 1 title as England supposedly had to beat Australia in the Ashes series.
Events on and off the field, however, essentially mean that a win in one of its two remaining games would hand the Division 1 title to Young Ashdod, following a narrow win over Ra'anana on Friday.
Chasing 213 to win, Young Ashdod reached its target with just one wicket in hand, but not before a catch that could have won the game for Ra'anana was put down when Ashdod needed two runs to win.
Captain Gal Matz top scored for Ra'anana with 37 not out, and Rafi Zauer contributed 34, as most of the top order failed to build on good starts.
Eitan Benjamin took 3 for 39, before leading the Young Ashdod batting with a typically aggressive 58. After Shmuel Moses scored 34, Raymond Aston steered his team home with an unbeaten 25.
Adrian Vard took 4 for 35 for Ra'anana.
In the weekend's other game, Diamonds boosted their chances of avoiding relegation from Division 2, defeating the Negev Academy by 46 runs in Ashdod. Batting first, the Diamonds recovered from 39 for 3 to post a useful score of 216, with Shailesh Bothra scoring 62. Although always being up with the required run rate, the Academy boys eventually simply ran out of wickets, dismissed for 170.
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