Ra’anana celebrates fourth local cricket league title

Draw aqainst Lions Lod good enough to earn Dudi Silbowitz Trophy.

Cricket 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Cricket 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Ra’anana won its first Israel Cricket League title in 20 years – and fourth in club history – with a draw against Lions Lod on Friday, which was enough to earn the Dudi Silbowitz Trophy.
The final round of Division 1 matches played over the weekend began with three teams – Ra’anana, Lions and Young Ashdod – all having a chance of finishing top of the table. In the end, it was Ra’anana that secured the necessary bonus points, finishing on 256 points to Lions’ 253, with Young Ashdod finishing back in third place with a narrow one-wicket defeat in its game against fourth-placed Neve Yonatan.
At the bottom end of the standings, Beersheba slumped to an eight-wicket defeat to Ashdod A and Lod Rangers was far too strong for already relegated Kiryat Gat, meaning the Negev team will have to face up to Sri Lanka Jerusalem in a promotion/relegation match later this month.
Two strong and evenly matched teams, each having nine past and present Israeli cricket internationals, with seven current international players who recently returned from a successful European Div. 2 tournament in Guernsey, faced each other in Lod on Friday.
Having elected to bat first, Ra’anana’s Huddy Lieberman removed Shalom Rubin (1) and Yefet Nagavkar (25) early, and Lod would have been in even more trouble had two catches not been dropped within the first three balls of the 10th over bowled by Josh Evans.
A terrific 189-run 5th wicket stand between Isaac Massil and Shailesh Bangerra brought Lod firmly back into the game and set for a big score, before a late order collapse, including the wicket of Massil for a superb 96, left Lod just short of their 250-run target, and gave Ra’anana invaluable bowling bonus points they never seemed like getting.
Set 246 in 36 overs to win, the Ra’anana batters were well aware scoring 175 for the loss of less than seven wickets would be enough to guarantee them the title due to the bonus-point situation. David and Isaac Massil were both superb with the new ball, restricting Ra’anana to just 24 runs in the first 10 overs, with Daniel Hyman (11) falling to Isaac Massil on the stroke of the 10-over drinks break.
At 96 for three after 22 overs, the game was evenly poised, however Matz, joined by Evans, found another gear, and began taking the attack to the tiring Lod bowlers. Both batsmen played superbly, taking the score past the crucial 175-run mark, and then beyond 200 as Lod tried unsuccessfully to break the partnership. Matz finished not out on 97, Evans was undefeated on 45, as they combined for a 107-run stand.
Ra’anana completed its 36 overs on 205 for 3, allowing for the celebrations to commence.
After a break for the holiday period, the domestic season resumes later this month with the popular Twenty20 tournament.
Local cricket fans will also be able to enjoy live cricket on television in the coming weeks, with Eurosport 2 covering the Champions League tournament to be played in South Africa beginning September 10.