A six-up squad of Welsh bowlers arrives in Israel this weekend for a series of test matches, as well as matches against combined club sides.
Israel has always been a popular hunting ground for the UK countries, which acknowledge that clashes against Israel's top international players offer a serious test and challenge. Over the years reciprocal visits have seen the keenest of contests, accompanied always by the warmest reception and hospitality by the respective hosting countries.
The Welsh will be aware of the challenge facing them, for they will be up against four of Israel's players from its 2004 World Championship side - Jeff Rabkin, Raymond Sher, Colin Silberstein and Ari Ben-Dor - which is complemented by previous World bowls player George Kaminksy, and the youthful Boaz Marcus, also with previous international experience. Team manager for Israel is Gerald Sacks. In last year's world championships, Wales finished in seventh position, two slots above Israel.
Wales will be participating in the Commonwealth Games in March 2006 and its visit here will offer an opportunity to experiment with potential players and combinations, before deciding on its final lineups.
Part of the series will, in fact, be played according to the newly instituted Commonwealth pattern, where the format is four-bowl singles, two-bowl pairs and trips (no fours), and all played to the best of two sets with tie breaks.
Israeli will also have to be at its best to face up against the strength of the Welsh bowlers, all of whom have international records with meritorious achievements.
The tour starts off with warm-ups against a combined selected side at Kiryat Ono on Sunday, September 4 at 3 P.M. Three test days follow at Netanya on September 5, at Ramat Gan on September 9 and at Ra'anana on September 10, with the morning games running according to the normal pattern and the afternoon rounds to the new Commonwealth format. In between, the Welsh will be up against selected sides at Ramat Hasharon, Haifa, Savyon and Jerusalem in a seven-day program. Jeff Rabkin will be playing the singles, Colin Silberstein and Arie Ben-Dor the pairs, and George Kaminksy, Raymond Sher and Boaz Marcus the triples.
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