Games we Play: England takes first Olim World Cup since ’07

Warriors roll over RiseHi 15-7, sweep season series from rivals; Twilight golf comes to Ga’ash.

Golfers (photo credit: Courtesy)
(photo credit: Courtesy)
SOCCER: England takes first Olim World Cup since ’07
Four years after the last seven-a-side Olim world cup, England joined Ethiopia in becoming the only country to win the trophy twice last week.
The tournament was an annual event from 2003 to 2007, before budget cuts within the Aliya organizations meant that that England’s 2007 win would be the last.
That was until this year, when “Telalivit,” the Tel Aviv-based online social network, decided to re-launch it.
A few hours before the tournament, England’s chances were dashed when key striker, Josh Portnoi missed his connecting flight back to Israel due to the ash cloud over Western Europe, following a work trip in Ireland. With no time to call up a replacement, manager and veteran Jerusalem and former England player Danny Newman was forced to join the squad himself.
England’s chances were further dented in the group stages, when a clash of heads against the USA left Dan Kosky with a swollen eye, reduc ing England to one substitute for potentially seven games.
England qualified for the quarterfinals in second place behind the USA who they lost 2-0 to in the opening game.
The quarter finals provided some intriguing fixtures. The undefeated USA vs Brazil, Italy vs France and two of the other highly-fancied teams, Argentina vs Palestine.
England was pitted against tournament favorite Ivory Coast, which cruised through the group stage scoring a hatful, convincingly winning all four of its group games.
England battled and defended to cancel out everything the Ivory Coast threw at it.
With chances at a premium for both sides, the entertaining game ended 0-0, forcing the dreaded penalty shoot out.
Winning the toss, and with three penalties each before sudden death, England opted to go first. Yeffet Zairi scored, then Simon Davies saved going to his right. Yoni Sidi scored before Ivory Coast’s second penalty smashed against the bar, ensuring England’s progress through to the semifinals for the third tournament in a row, shocking Ivory Coast and all the crowds watching.
England faced the strong Italians in the semis, buoyed on by Kosky from the stands, who had returned from the hospital, with both teams canceling each other out over the first half.
With the game petering out and looking to head to another penalty shoot out, England started turning the screw, with Tal Stern becoming more and more influential in the middle of the park, with a couple of chances falling England’s way.
With a few minutes left, a whipped-in cross found its way into the Italian net, with the final touch coming off an Italian’s head. England held out for the last two minutes, winning 1-0 to reach the final.
The other semifinal between USA and Argentina was a fiery affair. With the score 1-1 at halftime, the game erupted midway through the second half, following a USA goal and an Argentinean red card, and protests which prompted the game to be halted for a few minutes, until order was resumed. After that point, USA added one more to progress 3- 1 to the final.
The final pitted the two teams who started the opening game of the “group of death” against each other. The USA started as overwhelming favorites, having a full squad and still looking very fit.
England, on the other hand, due to being reduced to the bare minimum following injuries and lack of subs, looked tired and jaded.
The fitness showed, as midway through the first half, the USA took the lead. England, despite the fatigue after six grueling games prior to the final, regrouped and tried to get back in the game.
The game headed into the final minutes with the trophy looking like it was heading to the USA. With one last attack, Zairi headed back into the USA area, and Newman (in an unconventional forward position) swung his right boot to volley the ball into the left hand corner, with mere seconds remaining on the clock, sending the final to penalties.
Zairi, Sidi and Newman all hit the target as did the USA: 3-3 and sudden death.
Preston slotted his penalty in, advantage England. Davies kept his cool, keeping out Brad Bernstein’s penalty and sending the England fans wild. England won 4-3 on penalties, becoming the first back-to-back winner, albeit four years after the last cup.
SOFTBALL: Warriors roll over RiseHi 15-7, sweep season series from rivals
The Morningside Translations Warriors beat RiseHi 15-7 on Friday at Gezer to secure their third victory in a week over their longtime rivals.
One season after they were swept in all four games against RiseHi, the Warriors have now returned the favor and likely wrapped up the number one playoff seed in the modified-pitch softball league in the process.
Pitcher Avi Dzik held RiseHi scoreless over the last five innings and helped his own cause with three hits and four RBIs at the plate.
He got plenty of help defensively.
Gershon Jacobovitch made a number of spectacular plays in center, Matt Churchill was solid behind the plate and Yanky Itzkowitz made the play of the game in left, diving into the fence to steal a grand slam home run away from Chaim Jacobson in the fifth inning and keeping a safe lead for the Warriors.
Itzkowitz was also a terror on the basepaths with two steals and three runs scored.
The Warriors featured a balanced lineup in which every player hit and scored.
For RiseHi, Chaim Jacoson had two hits and three RBIs, and Ariel Gilor went 4 for 4.
Earl Harow, pitching in relief of his injured brother Ed, held the MW bats in check but Rise Hi could not sustain any consistent or clutch hitting.
GOLF: Twilight golf comes to Ga’ash
Ga’ash Golf Club and Cigar Magazine held a nine hole twilight tournament at Ga’ash last Thursday.
The format was a nine-hole better ball stableford 75% handicap, with both players’ scores counting on the par 3s.
On 27 stableford points were the two teams of Arik Heanig and Shuki Zuk, and Shalom Menora and Zadik Bino, with Arik and Shuki winning on the count out.
Nearest to the pin prizes went to Avinoam Zehavi and Raphy Harroche.