Nearly two years ago − on January 21, 2012 to be exact − the Beit Shemesh Royals last tasted victory. Then it was a slender one-run victory over Gold Insurance BS Lightning. Thus, the excitement among the Royals and their supporters was palpable when on Saturday night, they beat the YMCB’s in a pulsating match. The victory margin was just like their previous victory, the closest of margins.
Batting first, the Beee’s scored a competitive 100, with Chopper Harris and Aryeh Myers top scoring with a partnership of 23. For the Royals, Gadi Barnett picked up two wickets with Alex Lewis, Natan and Chovav Wigman picking up one each. Although Yehuda Bloch went without a wicket, his leg-spin bowling was a revelation, causing panic among the Beee’s batting lineup.
Chasing 101 is never easy, and after 19 runs had been scored in the first six of 18 overs, it looked like this would be yet another defeat for the Royals, but fast-improving Yonah Barnett and Bloch counterattacked to perfection, taking 30 off the following four overs. Eli Shaw and Gadi Barnett followed with a partnership of 27, leaving the last pair of Alex and Arieh Lewis requiring just 25 runs for victory.
A magnificent six from Alex eased the tension as the brothers navigated their way through the first three overs. Arieh had the daunting task of surviving the last four balls,which he did to send his Royals teammates into ecstasy in a fine all-round team victory. For the Beee’s, who slumped to their fifth successive loss, Harris and Simon Bentley picked up two wickets each as they remain rooted to the bottom of the table.
In other games, the Pommeranz Juice Good Old Boys suffered two heavy losses, first to Kiddush Club Jerusalem (39-82). Jerusalem captain Jason Bloom and batting partner Michael Stern top-scored with 43 as Pommeranz’s Tal Becker took a remarkable four wickets, all in the same over. For KCJ, Bloom and Ilan Buchbinder took three wickets apiece with Rael Olwyn collecting two.
In a worrying statement for the rest of the league after such a comfortable victory, Jerusalem captain Bloom said that “it was an average performance, but we are happy to win and will learn from all the errors we made during the game.”
YMCA then went a few runs better, beating Pommeranz 112-42. Yefet Nagavkar and Gershon Massil top scored with 37 for YMCA, as Becker was once again among the wickets with two and Danny Verbov was rewarded for a solid evening's work, taking one wicket. Josh Evans and Charlton Book got Pommeranz off to a solid 25-run opening stand, but Pommeranz was always in trouble as it lost its fourth game of the season.
Captain Brett Hickson said, “We want to finish in the top two and there are so many teams who can qualify that this is an important win over an improved Pommeranz.”
In a shock result, the young Beit Shemesh Braves beat the more experienced Gold Insurance team 92-85 in a thrilling last-over finish. The apirtings of Yitzchak Treister and Ashley Coleman, and Natan Wigman and Leon Joseph scored 27 runs each, while Raphael Klotnick and Yehonatan Khan were among the wickets for the Braves.
Uriel Finkelstein hit two consecutive boundaries to give his a the perfect start. Khan and Dan Barnett then shared a partnership of 19 before Raphael and Ian Klotnick scored a match-winning 36 runs between them. Avraham Yitzchak and Herschel Gutman saw out the remaining four overs, handing their team a very impressive victory over the more fancied Gold.
This Thursday will see Gold facing a doubler header against Modi’in Young Lions and the winless YMCBeee’s while the clash between Ra’anana Raiders and Pearl Dental Cricket Club will put many national team players against each other in what should be a very good match. Both teams will fancy their chances of an automatic semifinal berth. The Royals will be hoping to have back-to-back wins as they come up against KAT Israemploy Tigers, who have had a mixed start to the season.