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Youngster's Brilliant All-round Performance Leads Young Lions to Victory

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Haaretz Sports Staff

Pommeranz Juice Good Old Boys split a double header this week in the Night League, falling victim to Israel under-18 player Avial Varsulkar and his Modi’in Young Lions, which won by 30 runs, before rebounding to defeat the Gold Insurance Beit Shemesh Lightning by 18 runs. Elsewhere, the Ra’anana Raiders won their debut against Beit Shemesh Royals in emphatic fashion.

Varsulkar, with five wickets and a top score of 31, was the hero for Modi’in in the opening match. Batting first, Pommeranz found the going tough against some accurate bowling as Varsulkar and 12-year-old Yair Nagavkar helped themselves to nine wickets between them. For the Good Old Boys, only James Franks and Jeremy Bentley with a partnership of 28, and Danny Verbov and Aryeh Rachlin with a partnership of 25 found their stride in a team total of 49. The Young Lions were never in any trouble chasing the below-par total and cruised to 78 to register their first win of the season.

Gold Insurance Beit Shemesh Lightning was next up for Pommeranz, in what turned out to be a much closer contest. Some tight bowling by Beit Shemesh in the first eight overs restricted Pommeranz to 21, but then Verbov and Rachlin, followed by Charlton Book and PJ Sahor, cut loose to attain 76 runs in the last eight overs as the Good Old Boys reached a very respectable total of 97. Although the Lightning put up a brave fight, they were always slightly behind the asking run rate. Yitzchak Treister and Jeff Tibber were Beit Shemesh’s top scorers with 26 out of a total of 80.

Pommeranz captain Davi Pushett said after the matches, “It has been a mixed start to the season. We had trouble with Modi’in’s good bowling and tight fielding.”

Pushett was more upbeat about the second match. “I thought the score of 97 was far more defendable and our tight bowling and fielding meant that we walked away happy with our first win of the season,” he said.

Beit Shemesh captain Alan Wigman was downbeat after the game, saying that “it was a game we felt we should have won, but full credit to Pommeranz for holding on to claim the victory."

Ra’anana Raiders Cricket Club made its debut into the league with an emphatic win over the Beit Shemesh Royals. Winning the toss, Ra’anana captain Gabi Schachat elected to bat and a solid 22 opening stand between Micha Schachat and Rafi Davidson, followed by partnerships of 41 between Ziv Gould and Daniel Bergman and 27 between captain Schachat and Gidi Hilkowitz enabled the Raiders to reach 113. Apart from the extras the Royals gave away, Beit Shemesh looked much improved, producing a very disciplined display with Ari Lewis picking up three wickets and Gadi Barnett and Chovav Wigman sharing four wickets apiece.

The Royals started off well, with the Lewis brothers, Alex and Ari, scoring 19. It would have been more but for a wonderful piece of fielding by Rafi Davidson as he ran out Ari Lewis with a direct hit. Eli Heilbrun, Hilkowitz and Gould claimed two wickets apiece as Royals were restricted to 69, despite a late batting cameo from Eli Shaw and Gadi Barnett that produced 22 runs.

Beit Shemesh stand-in captains Eli Shaw and Alex Lewis thought it was “a good effort, with everyone getting behind each other and giving the opposition a good game.”

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